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A love of language

October 2, 2018

Abigail Edwards is heading into her third year of an honors degree in Linguistics. She recently received a Parents’ Fund award in recognition of her academic excellence, extracurricular involvement and community leadership.

As early as grade ten, Abigail (Abbey) Edwards couldn’t wait to go to university.

The Caledonia, Ont., native thoroughly researched potential universities. When she started looking into Western, she knew she had found her place. “Western is a top-tier institution with a really high admission average and a focus on research – that’s why I wanted to come here. And when I toured campus, I loved it; it just felt right,” she said.

She has always loved languages and enrolled in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities. “I love French but since it’s my second language, I didn’t feel confident enough to pursue a French degree,” she said. She quickly decided to focus on linguistics, the scientific study of human language. “I fell in love with linguistics in first-year because of its relation to language as well as the critical analysis and problem solving. I often feel like I am solving a puzzle when working through data sets, so it is not only interesting but quite fun for me,” she said.

In second-year, Edwards received a Parents’ Fund award in recognition of her academic excellence, extracurricular involvement and community leadership.

Edwards felt the impact on many levels. “I pay my tuition myself and obviously that’s a really big burden, so getting the award really helped with the financial aspect.” But it’s more than that. To receive the award, students must have achieved at least a 75 per cent average in the previous academic year.

“Although awards often address financial need, which I think is really important, I appreciate the academic requirement because I feel that getting honors in first-year was a big accomplishment. It felt really good to be recognized for that; it added to my sense of achievement,” said Edwards.

While maintaining a full course load, Edwards finds time to work in the community and develop her skills. Last year she tutored with the Learning Disabilities Association’s Leap to Literacy initiative, an individualized literacy program for children struggling with their literacy skills. She also volunteered with Change for X Western, a group that chooses a different charity to support each year, and she served as vice-president of communications for the Linguistics Society @ UWO, where she managed the club’s social media and marketing duties.

Heading into her third year of an honors specialization in Linguistics, Edwards is enthusiastic. “I love everything about my program. The small class sizes, my dedicated professors and the concepts I’m learning,” she said. “I’m so thankful to the parent donors for helping me succeed.”


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