What is a Strong University Woman?

I asked a group of seven women what a “strong university woman” means to them. I didn’t know what kind of response I would get, but it was interesting to see how similarly, yet diversely this woman appears in their minds. I looked at each one of these women who I personally saw as exemplifying the topic and wondered if they saw themselves fitting into their descriptions, or found themselves to be farther away from her ideals.


“To me a strong university woman is someone who is a master juggler. This lady likely has way too many projects on the go and yet she somehow nails each and every one of them. A strong university woman is someone who faces the struggles of early adulthood face on and does not back down, even when life at school, home, or at work gets incredibly tough. This powerhouse of a girl continues to work her way through numerous essays, assignments, and troubles no matter if she gets into a rough patch” (Madison, UAlberta ‘19)

“Motivated, driven, and eager to learn- both inside the classroom and beyond. Determined and unafraid to make mistakes, as she knows that they are the only way to learn” (Anonymous)

“When I think of a strong university woman, I immediately envision a woman with ambition, motivation and dedication to all that she chooses to involve herself in. She would likely balance several commitments, but would always give anything she does her all. She would have several different interests and many different passions that she is always working on refining” (Rachel, UAlberta ‘20)

“When I think of a strong university woman, I think of someone who puts their own ambitions, goals, and academics above all else. They are strong willed, compassionate, charitable, and motivated. They strive to do their best even in the face of adversity and never give up. They take hardships and turn them into life lessons” (Simi, UAlberta ‘21)

“I’d imagine a character who is both self-aware and balanced in their daily decisions- acting out no given role assigned to them by a majority, but being fluid in their decision making process from a wholly individualistic perspective” (Anonymous)

“Unique; diverse; open-minded; mistake-prone; unsure; adapting; evolving; experimenting; efficient; scared; spontaneous” (Anonymous)

A strong university woman puts herself and her goals first. She speaks out against systematic issues both in her field and in the university culture as a whole to the extent of her abilities. She is independent and ambitious, no one can help her from achieving her goals” (Adrienne, UAlberta '18)


Some focused on how ambitious she is, and how she manages it all without breaking. Some discussed uniqueness and individuality. There are so many ways to describe this “strong university woman”, but really, she is anyone she wants to be. What is she to you?