Lakehead University Alumni Magazine

Student Profiles

Published April 30, 2010


Miranda Niittynen

HBA (Philosophy and History) with a Minor in Women's Studies
Academic Average: 80%

Miranda Niittynen, 21, is one of those fortunate Lakehead students who has managed to complete an undergraduate degree, maintain an average of 80%, and remain debt-free. She has done this by living at home in Thunder Bay and working part-time and during the summer. This September she hopes to enroll in a Master's program with the ultimate goal of completing a PhD. "I want to be a professional student," she says with a chuckle.

Fascinated by feminist philosophy and critical theory, Miranda is hoping to write a Master's thesis on the work of Judith Butler, an American post-structuralist philosopher who examines issues surrounding gender. "I love doing the research, writing essays, and even writing exams," she says. She lists Clara Sacchetti-Dufresne and Lori Chambers as being two Lakehead professors who have influenced her most. Her interest in feminist philosophy began with the study of work by Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre and from there she moved into the study of continental philosophy, which led her to postmodern philosophy and post-structuralism.

Miranda, a graduate of Hillcrest High School, was on the Lakehead U Dean's List in 2008-09 and will be the second university graduate in her immediate family. Her older sister Meghan completed a degree in Visual Arts at Lakehead in 2006. "My parents have been a great help. They have supported everything I do," she adds.


Natasha Schonberger

HBA/BEd Concurrent Education Program (French and Sociology)
Academic Average: 91.5%

Natasha Schonberger has always loved languages and culture. But that's not surprising. Her father Vincent is a Professor of Languages at Lakehead University and her mother Hendrika (a Lakehead alumna) taught her French in high school. Natasha graduated from the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at Churchill High School with a 98% average. She entered Lakehead University with an Entrance Scholarship and the Alumni Award, and has since added several more scholarships to her resumé.

This fluently bilingual 22-year-old who worked as a guide on Parliament Hill in Ottawa last summer has already met her soul mate, Paul Chenowith, and is engaged to be married in the summer of 2011. She plans to enroll in a graduate program in either education or linguistics and hopes that her future career will involve working abroad. Natasha's fiancé is studying French and Molecular Biology at a university in Pennsylvania. They met in 2008 while training for a volunteer program to teach English overseas with Christian Reformed World Missions – Paul in Mali and Natasha in China. "China will always be in my heart," she says. "I loved trying to speak Mandarin with the people I met in Beijing and in the city of Wei Hai, on the coast of the Yellow Sea. My Mandarin teacher in China gave me a Chinese name, Mei Shan, which is a direct translation of my German surname meaning "beautiful mountain" in English.

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