But first, there is one final year of eligibility to complete in the Epoch era, as the Huskie women’s basketball team patiently waits and prepares—in limited COVID-19 precaution training sessions—for the opportunity to defend its national championship title, post-pandemic.
“Since the basketball season got cancelled, that has been the goal, to come back and play in 2021/2022 and defend our title,” said Epoch, a 22-year-old former Canadian junior national team member from Moose Jaw. “During the start of the school year, we realized how much we lean on teammates as our second family, and we know that we can have this year to build our rookies into great players and come back as a solid team. So we have already set our minds on next season.”
In the meantime, Epoch continues to work towards completing her Bachelor of Science in Engineering (majoring in civil engineering) and earning a Certificate in Professional Communication from the Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development.
Epoch is one of a growing number of young women entering the field of engineering, balancing a challenging full-time academic load with the demands of being an elite student-athlete.
“Being a professional engineer has been a dream of mine for a long time, since high school and coming into university,” said Epoch, who began studying in the College of Arts and Science before transferring into engineering. “It’s definitely a male-dominated field, but there are a lot of women and men working to change that. I am sure that the professors in the college see a lot more women in courses than they used to.
“For me, I just see engineering as teamwork and leadership. And if I can be a female role model to any athlete or other student who wants to go into engineering, I am happy to fill that role.”
Not only is Epoch one of the top players in the country—named to the U Sports All-Rookie Team in 2017—but also a top student, earning Academic All-Canadian honours (for an average of better than 80 per cent while completing a full course load) for four straight years.
“I’m very proud of myself and I am proud of every student-athlete who puts in the work in the classroom and in their sport,” she said. “When you have the privilege to be able to represent the school and be blessed to receive an athletic scholarship, you want to do everything you can to fulfil your career hopes one day.”
Epoch also makes a point of volunteering to support the community, serving as president of the Huskie Athletic Council.
“We are a group of student-athletes, with representation from each of the sport teams, male and female, and do a lot of fundraisers and we work on initiatives like Huskie Home Room, going out to community schools and working with children,” said Epoch. “This year was a little different with the pandemic, but we were still able to raise just over $2,600 in the Secret Santa program. We also did a clothing drive for underprivileged children and we collected over 400 articles of winter clothing, mitts, toques, and boots and distributed them to five different schools.”
Huskies head coach Lisa Thomaidis said she couldn’t be more proud of Epoch’s efforts on the court, in class and in the community.
“If there is one word to describe Libby, it would be that she’s a winner—in everything,” said Thomaidis. “Pursuing an engineering degree while competing as a student-athlete in any sport is an unbelievably difficult task, but to do it as a captain and point guard on a national championship team, achieving Academic All-Canadian recognition all four years, plus serving as HAC president, I don’t even know how it is humanly possible. We talk about excellence as a value on our team—choosing to be excellent in all that you do—and Libby is an outstanding example of that in real life.”
With one more year of Huskie eligibility and two years of engineering courses remaining, Epoch is focused on the future, determined to defend USask’s national championship and to begin her career as an engineer. And she could not be prouder to represent USask as a student-athlete.
“It’s been more than what I could have dreamed of,” said Epoch, who has earned a number of scholarships at USask, including the four-year Bonnie & Art Dumont Scholarship for academic achievement. “To meet amazing women and amazing coaches and make some life-long friends, win a national championship, and tack on an amazing education on top of it, has made me beyond grateful.”