Living Brave and Bold
International studies student finds inspiration in Vandal fight song to graduate early and be involved
Most University of Idaho alumni know the words to the Vandal fight song, but few identify as closely with its “brave and bold” lyrics as Anslee Lechner.
After being diagnosed with two types of thyroid cancer in high school, the senior from Meridian knows the importance of living each day to its fullest – something that has led her to graduate in three and a half years from U of I’s College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences while also taking part in a variety of clubs and activities.
“I have a different world outlook than most,” Lechner said. “I have learned to appreciate everything in life – friends, family and school. Being brave and bold – I try to live that way every day, whether in a little or big way.”
A Liberal Arts Education – In Idaho and Around the World
Lechner graduates in December with a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and minors in French and political science.
“In 2016, I participated in Model U.N. and traveled to New York for the competition, and I fell in love. That was when I knew that my job was going to be in politics.”
Lechner combined her academic interests in 2017 and completed a study abroad program in France through the University Studies Abroad Consortium.
“It’s such an interesting way to fully immerse yourself and meet some neat people,” Lechner said. “I would recommend it to anyone – 100 percent.”
After graduation, Lechner hopes to work in Boise during the 2019 legislative session and then spend the upcoming year as a teaching assistant in France. She eventually plans to pursue her master’s degree with the dream of working for the United Nations as a foreign service officer or U.S. diplomat.
“I am interested in policy,” she said. “When I was part of Model U.N., I loved doing the research, representing a country and fighting for their position.”
Connecting with Campus and the Community
Lechner is not only graduating early – she also made the most of her short time on the Moscow campus.
“In high school – because of my treatment – I retreated into myself because I didn’t feel like myself,” she said. “When I got to college, I forced myself out of my comfort zone and tried to be Anslee again. The best decision I’ve ever made is to be involved.”
And involved she was.
During her time at U of I, Lechner has been involved with programming for her residence hall and the Residence Hall Association, served as fundraising chair for the Homecoming Committee, has drawn political cartoons for The Argonaut, and has been both a member and vice president of membership for the Student Alumni Relations Board.
In fact, being involved with so many extracurricular activities helped her in the classroom as well.
“Being involved and having all those credits helped me learn time management skills,” Lechner said. “In everything that I’ve done, I’ve had to push myself to be better. If I wasn’t involved with all of these things, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
As she walks across the stage, Lechner is taking more than just her diploma with her.
“Whether it’s asking a guy for a number, making new friends or applying for jobs – I’ve always tried to be brave and bold in everything that I do,” she said. “That’s what being a Vandal is all about. It’s what connects us as a Vandal Family. Every alum that I’ve ever spoken to is courageous, pushing to be the better version of themselves. That’s what it’s all about.”
Article by Kathy Foss, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
Published in December 2018.