Avery Lafortune

avery.jpgGraduated 2017

Double Major in Art History and the School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities

Hometown: Kincardine, ON

Current Activity: MA Art History, Western

What attracted you to this program?

When researching undergraduate programs, SASAH really stood out to me because of its interdisciplinary curriculum and opportunities for international study. I wanted something to pair with my Art History studies to broaden the scope of my university education and SASAH seemed like the perfect addition.

"Knowing people who were passionate about many different causes, areas of research and skill-sets enriched my overall learning and involvement at Western."

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

Because of the small class sizes, SASAH creates a very supportive community. You get to know your classmates very well over the four years of study. I found the supportive environment to be very beneficial, especially during more stressful times in the semester such as the exam period. Other features such as the SASAH room in Weldon Library and the block of residence rooms for first year SASAH students help to cultivate this sense of community.

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

Because every SASAH student has another area of study, my relationships with other SASAH students opened my eyes to other activities happening at the university. My SASAH classmates were often involved in campus organizations, clubs and events that I may not have otherwise known about. Knowing people who were passionate about many different causes, areas of research and skill-sets enriched my overall learning and involvement at Western.

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

The interdisciplinary curriculum and small class sizes provide ample opportunity to forge relationships with professors in many different departments. This can open up opportunities for students during their undergraduate studies and I found it to be very helpful when applying for graduate school. Having SASAH as an undergraduate degree also opens students up to a variety of graduate programs. Because of it's interdisciplinary nature, SASAH can qualify students for many post-grad education programs.

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

I've found clear communication skills and networking to be the main contributors to my success after graduation. Using the connections I formed at university, many of which I formed through SASAH, I felt that I had ample support when I chose to pursue graduate studies.

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

My advice to current SASAH students is to take advantage of international learning opportunities as much as possible. Some of the most unique and worthwhile educational experiences I had during my time at Western were the classes I that took learning outside of the classroom. Travelling with professors who are experts in the culture and history of the places you visit is a unique and invaluable experience. When I look back on my undergraduate education, oftentimes it is the field research and international learning that stands out the most. SASAH students are presented with many opportunities to partake in this type of learning and the program is particularly supportive of students who wish to go on exchange. My advice to current students is to use this to your advantage.