January 23rd, 2021

U of L hockey player strikes academic gold

By Jensen, Randy on July 4, 2020.

Lethbridge Herald

Jessica (Lohues) Nelson has spent the past five winters suiting up for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s hockey team.

Those athletic moments are standouts as (Lohues) Nelson completes her combined Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, which also made her the recipient of the Faculty of Education Gold Medal.

She is one of four southern Alberta high school graduates to receive prestigious medals during the recent U of L online Spring 2020 Convocation.

“I was able to spend five years playing for the women’s hockey team at University of Lethbridge,” said (Lohues) Nelson. “There are so many memories from those five years and I know that I will always look back on my university career through the student athlete lense. Beyond that, there are a few others experiences. Attending the men’s basketball playoffs a few years ago with my friends and teammates and going crazy when the team won in the last few seconds of the game. It was so cool to see everyone so united to the team finding success. Next, attending the Academic All-Canadian dinner each year. It is not often that academics and athletics are celebrated in the same space and I’m proud to have been a part of that each year.”

There was another perfect score when (Lohues) Nelson received a handshake from one of her professors when she got 100 per cent on a midterm.

“I was the only non-major in the room, and I was also the only one to have received a 100 per cent, which was pretty cool,” said the graduate of Coaldale Kate Andrews High School.

(Lohues) Nelson completed her combined Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in the fall of 2019.

Excelling academically and in her field-based placements, she had a perfect 4.0 grade point average, a remarkable achievement.

(Lohues) Nelson excelled in the classroom while at the same time contributing significantly as a goaltender for the U of L women’s hockey team.

Her field experience reports speak to a capable teacher that is knowledgeable, caring, fun and engaging.

One student at Wilson Middle School in Lethbridge commented, “She is very good at teaching math” then in the next breath said, “It is easy to feel cared about in this class.”

(Lohues) Nelson credits Sean Fitzpatrick and Richelle Marynowski as important influences in her U of L experience.

“They both pushed me to become the best that I could be, Sean in the math portion of my degree and Richelle in the education portion,” she said. “They also guided me and supported me in finding success in other areas. I am very thankful to call them my mentors.”

(Lohues) Nelson said the most important she learned at the U of L is it’s OK to sit in the professor’s office and ask questions.

“I think I did some of my best learning in that time when I was able to work through difficult concepts with the prof there to guide me. I think I also learned that it’s good to take a break every once in a while. Your work will still be there when you get back, and you’ll probably be in a better state of mind to complete it, which means getting it done faster. Take that break. Get that coffee. It’s good for you.”

(Lohues) Nelson is not set on becoming a junior high math teacher.

“At one point I would’ve said that I wanted to stay and teach in southern Alberta, but I think that’s changing,” she said. “I would love to stay in southern Alberta, but I also want to explore new places. I want to start a family. I think someday I want to take my master’s, but who knows? I want to change lives and help my students find a love, or at least a tolerance instead of a hate, for math.”

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