Julia Campbell

Graduated 2021

Double Major in English Language and Literature and the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities, Ivey HBA with Sustainability Certificate

Hometown: Stratford, ON

After SASAH: JD Law from the University of Toronto

What attracted you to this program?

I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of an interdisciplinary education. Having a humanities background is incredibly helpful in the business world (communication skills, reading comprehension, “big picture” thinking, etc.), and having a business background is likewise useful in a creative field (making your idea profitable, marketing yourself, professionalization, etc.). I didn’t want to limit my education to one area of interest when pursuing both would be so valuable. SASAH allowed me to design my own interdisciplinary degree (one which, at the time, was unique) and advocated on my behalf to get it approved. Instead of encouraging me to abandon areas of interest, SASAH made me feel as if I had a whole world of education at my fingertips. 

 What are your thoughts about life as a SASAH student? What makes it unique?

"In addition to developing lasting friendships, my relationships with other SASAH students positively affected my Western experience because the other students frequently pushed my thinking. I’ve never learned so much so quickly!"

Life as a SASAH student was fantastic! Everyone in the program had such diverse backgrounds and passions that I learned new things every day just by being present. I was taught by professors that were so passionate about their field of study that their lectures moved me to tears on numerous occasions. I was supported by a fantastic administrative team that helped me believe I could pursue anything I put my mind to. Most importantly, I made lifelong friends. All of this is to say that what makes SASAH unique is its culture: it’s a program where passion, empathy, and ambition combine to create a truly excellent learning environment.

How did your relationships with other SASAH students positively affect your experience at Western overall?

SASAH is a program with an incredible diversity of students: not only a diversity in academic interests but also in background and lived experience. In addition to developing lasting friendships, my relationships with other SASAH students positively affected my Western experience because the other students frequently pushed my thinking. I’ve never learned so much so quickly! 

How has SASAH prepared you for the job market and/or graduate school?

SASAH prepared me for law in numerous ways. Firstly, I gained a strong theoretical background. Not only have I become very comfortable engaging with complex ideas in theory, but I have also become well-practiced at translating those theories into accessible language and applying those concepts to real-world problems. SASAH excels at giving students a strong theoretical background without losing sight of the need for practical application. Secondly, SASAH teaches a deep analytical approach. When analyzing a narrative, SASAH taught me to ask how the idea originated, how it connects to the broader social context, why it exists, and – most importantly – normative questions like should this idea be accepted? This approach has taught me to consider not only the current state of the law but also why it is, and whether it should be, that way. Lastly, SASAH’s commitment to experiential learning helped me gain the work experience I needed to enter the job market. From volunteering at Innovation Works as a Welcome Desk Volunteer (and, later, working as their Covid-19 Recovery and $1M Community Bond Project Manager) to working with the City of London on their Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to working as a Research Intern at the Stratford Festival Archives, SASAH helped me find work experiences that honestly changed my life.

What lessons and skills contributed to your success after you graduated?

One of the most important lessons SASAH taught me is the value of community. SASAH makes a real effort to integrate into the broader community, whether it be through experiential learning partnerships, alumni, or the Steering Committee. This program encouraged me to practice genuine networking and make real connections in my areas of interest. The people to whom I was encouraged to reach out ended up being some of the most important mentors in my life. I learned not only to seek opportunities for connection myself but also to help facilitate those connections for others whenever I can. Truly, I can’t think of any skill that has served me better in my professional life.

As an experienced graduate, do you have any advice for current SASAH students?

  1. Get involved in the London community. London is an incredibly dynamic city, and there is so much interesting work going on in the social impact, art, and advocacy spaces. Go speak to the SASAH program office and your professors about the things you are interested in. See if they can put you in touch with someone, and then see if that person can put you in touch with someone. There is so much to learn and so many amazing projects to get involved with - take advantage!
  2. If you are interested in social impact, volunteer at Innovation Works. It was genuinely one of the most valuable and positive experiences of my life.
  3. Reach out to alumni! SASAH is a tight-knit community, and I can confidently say that any SASAH grad would be more than willing to talk to you. If you have questions about law school, the Ivey dual degree, the London social impact space, or anything else, shoot me an email: js.campbell@mail.utoronto.ca. I would be more than happy to chat!