A second year transfer from Grand Prairie Regional College, Seannah Rose fell in love with sociology and then fell in love with Augustana. Now in her fourth year, Seannah is active in the Aboriginal Students Office and is also a Peter Lougheed Leadership College student, which has allowed her to pursue a research project on Metis Identity informed by her own heritage. Take some time to get to know Seannah.
You’re a student on the Aboriginal Engagement Committee (AEC) as well as an Aboriginal Peer Mentor. What is the AEC, how have you been involved, and how do you like peer mentoring?
The AEC works to advise the Dean on engagement with Aboriginal students, the communities in the Camrose area (Indigenous and non-Indigenous), as well as the broader Augustana community including students, staff, and faculty. In my time on the committee, I have been part of the creation of the Workshops in Reconciliation and Decolonization as a response to the TRC calls to action, in the move to include Aboriginal flags in the Faith and Life lounge, and I am currently taking part as a student voice for the Indigenous hires, to name a few.
It’s my first year as an aboriginal peer mentor/educator and it’s been a good experience so far; the students and other mentors are wonderful. It’s been great getting to know new students coming in and those who have been here already.
The most influential experience was the Summer Stretch, which requires students over the summer between years 1 and 2 to commit to at least 100 hours of leadership within a broad range of opportunities from the scholars’ own choice and imagination. For my Stretch experience this summer, I was able to work on a research project called “Métis Theories of the Self,” which involved a literature review, interviewing several participants, creating my thesis and corresponding academic paper, and presenting my findings to an academic audience. I hope to continue my work in Métis identity to broaden my range of perspectives of indigenous experiences.
What made you chose your degree program? Augustana?
I began in open studies and decided, on a whim, to take a sociology course. I fell in love with it when I took my first class, so part of the reason I came here was to have access to more sociology courses and sociology as a major. I’m from a rural community, so the smaller town and campus was also a part of it because I like to interact with other students and professors in discussions. Camrose also brings a lot of nature and land into the city along with having all of the amenities.
I also really like the community feel; it’s a lot different from other campuses I’ve visited and been to. It’s not necessarily that everyone has to be closer; it’s just that there is more opportunity for connection between students, faculty, and staff.
What would you like to do after your degree?
I want to go on to do my masters and doctorate. After that, I hope to work with indigenous communities to bring together more closely their values and lifestyles, although I’m not sure through which programs or initiatives yet.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I have a black belt in karate and I used to teach. I don’t currently practice but I hope to teach again once I move to start my masters. I was asked by my sensei to start teaching here, but I didn’t think it would be fair to be here for a few years and then leave my students.
What’s one thing you wish you had more time for?
Reading for fun. After a long day of doing readings and writing, I don’t have the energy to do more reading although I love to read; I miss it so much!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Get out of your head” from Sparky [Augustana drama professor Paul (Sparky) Johnson]. It’s great advice.