Convocation ‘22: Bronwyn Bates, BSc, Human Ecology - Clothing, Textiles and Material Culture

A life-long passion for the textile arts leads to exciting career prospects

Donna McKinnon - 22 November 2022

Bronwyn Bates has been passionate about the textile arts and industry her entire life and was thrilled to discover that she could pursue a degree in an area that she loved through the Department of Human Ecology.

A dedicated volunteer and recipient of many awards throughout her undergraduate program, Bronwyn will graduate with distinction and is already pursuing a graduate degree at the U of A. Most recently, she received the 2022 Helen Desilva Buchanan Memorial Graduate Scholarship in Clothing and Textiles and has begun her research on hemp fibre and sustainability within the textile industry. 

Congratulations Bronwyn!

What led you to choose your current area of study, and why the U of A for your studies?

I had grown up with a great love of textile arts, including sewing, knitting, crochet, cross stitch and embroidery. Furthermore, I found the textile industry fascinating and loaded with potential to offer a career in an area that I was passionate about. The U of A allowed me to pursue a degree in Clothing, Textiles and Material Culture that melded my desire for a science-based degree in an area closely associated with the arts. 

What is one of your favourite memories from your time at the U of A?

My favourite memory at the U of A was volunteering with Week of Welcome (WOW) in 2019. Volunteering for WOW was very important for me; the tour leaders I had for my undergrad orientation made a hugely positive impact on my first impression of the U of A. I wanted to ensure that new students had a positive experience just as I had. What I did not expect was developing lasting friendships with other volunteers. Overall, volunteering for WOW led to other great memories with great friends. 

Did you take on any leadership roles while you were a student? 

I spent three and a half years involved with the Human Ecology Students' Association. My final year involved with the group I held the role of co-president. Being involved in a student association made my undergraduate experience spectacular. I firmly believe that it was the most major positive influence in creating friendships, networking and learning more deeply about the profession of human ecology. 

Did you face any significant obstacles or challenges during your program, and if so, how did you respond?

COVID, as is the case for many students, was the most significant obstacle faced during my program. As someone who thrives with social interaction I found COVID remote classes very difficult. 

However, remote classes showed the resilience of friendships. Adapting to meeting remotely with student groups and friends allowed me to stay safe and keep my mental health in a positive state. I believe it was the strength of a collective effort that helped me through that difficult time. 

What advice do you have for current and future students?

The greatest advice I could offer current and future students is to get involved in campus clubs and activities. Student involvement offers immense opportunities for friendship and networking. University can be taxing, having friends with common interests and goals can be wonderful for mental health, academic success and overall university experience. 

How do you plan on celebrating convocation?

I plan on spending the day celebrating with friends and family, taking in the atmosphere of convocation. I hope to spend the day reflecting on the personal and academic growth that I experienced during my undergraduate degree. It can be easy to forget how far you've come when plans for the future crowd your thoughts. 

What's next after graduation?

I am continuing on at the U of A pursuing a MSc in Textiles and Clothing. I am excited to have more time on campus and in Edmonton, a place I've called home for more than four years.