Meet the Grads: Lauren Cardinal

Ahead of convocation, get to know one of Augustana’s grads: Lauren Cardinal, a bachelor of arts student in physical education (kinesiology and sport studies)

29 May 2023

Lauren Cardinal in a Vikings basketball uniform in a gymnasium, holding a framed photo of herself playing basketball and a bouquet of flowers. She stands in between her father in a Vikings hoodie on the left and Vikings women's basketball head coach, Megan Wickstorm, who is in a Vikings t-shirt.
Lauren Cardinal (centre) with her father, Pernell Cardinal (left), and Vikings women’s basketball head coach, Megan Wickstrom (right) after the team’s last regular conference game at home. Photo: supplied


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

I chose to major in kinesiology because it gives me a broad range of career options that align with my personal interest in health and wellness. I originally began my academic journey at Red Deer College, but since they only offer a two year transfer program that is collaborative with the U of A, I had to make a decision between Augustana and North Campus. I’m grateful for Augustana since it allowed me to finish my degree while also competing on the women’s basketball team.


What is one of your favourite memories from your time at Augustana?

Qualifying and competing at nationals in Hamilton. I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up my final year, and being named to the tournament all-star team was the cherry on top. The whole experience itself and the journey leading up to it will forever be a highlight of my time here at Augustana.


Tell us about your favourite professor and/or class.

Willow White’s Introduction to Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Feminisms classes were by far my favourite. As an Indigenous student I found it so valuable to learn from an Indigenous professor that is so knowledgeable and passionate in her field. It made the learning experience so much more personal and allowed me to reclaim my Indigenous identity.


Did you take on any leadership roles while you were a student, either on campus or in the Camrose community? If so, please share your experiences.

I took the lead with fellow volleyball athlete Hannah Kuhn on a fundraiser called Vikes for Tykes. This fundraiser takes place annually prior to the holidays through Augustana Athletics. It allows spectators to bring in toys instead of paying for admission to a selected weekend of home games for basketball, volleyball and hockey. This year our donations went to the Ronald McDonald house in Edmonton and the Camrose Kinettes.


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

In October 2022, my Auntie Penny passed away right before my regular season began and in the midst of midterms. She was the rock of our family and my biggest supporter growing up. She was also the first one in my family to graduate with an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree. Realistically, I went numb and didn’t allow myself to grieve. I continued my day-to-day activities as a student-athlete, but some days were harder than most to keep myself emotionally intact. Thankfully, my coach and my teammates were always considerate and supportive when I needed to lean on them. By allowing myself to be vulnerable and accepting help from others it really helped me push forward and continue my studies.


What advice do you have for current and future students?

Use all the resources that are available!! Whether it’s a workshop on time management or decorating cookies in the Forum. Augustana is truly unlike any institution and values each individual’s success and well-being. It’s reflected in the time and effort on resources they provide for us.


How do you plan on celebrating convocation?

Being surrounded by my family and loved ones while enjoying a nice Skyway meal! The majority of my family is travelling from High Level and Fort Vermilion, which is about an 8 hour drive, so I’m just more excited for them to be in attendance.


What's next after graduation?

As of right now I’ll be assistant coaching the women’s basketball team here at Augustana!


Help us celebrate Lauren Cardinal and our other graduating students on June 4 by watching the convocation ceremony live stream.