Posts By: Barbara Lehtiniemi

Barbara Lehtiniemi

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer and photographer from Ontario. She’s a graduate of Athabasca University, having completed her Bachelor of General Studies degree in 2018.

A regular contributor to The Voice Magazine since 2013, Barbara is an occasional contributor to other publications including Maclean’s and MC2. Barbara writes in several genres, including non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. She’s grateful to The Voice Magazine for providing the opportunity to explore an array of topics and writing styles, and she remains dreadfully sorry for those awful haikus.

Barbara has a fondness for travel, used bookstores, everyday absurdities, and oversized wine glasses. Originally from urban Southwestern Ontario, she now lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario with her indulgent and supportive husband, Leo.

You can follow Barbara on Twitter @theregoesbarb, or contact her at

More than a Mouthful

Men: rejoice!  If you tiptoed intact across the minefield of Valentine’s Day last month, your reward is coming.  March 14 is unofficially “Steak and Blowjob Day”, when you can sit back and relax and let someone else do the work. Or maybe not. Steak and Blowjob Day was conceived—and this should surprise no-one—by a radio… Read more »

Informing Your Vote—Building a Student Community Online

Have you voted in AUSU’s council election yet?  Polls opened on Wednesday and you’ve got until Tuesday to vote. There are 15 candidates vying for 13 council seats.  The successful 13 in this election are the folks who will be representing AU undergrad students’ interests for the next two years.  A strong, committed group around… Read more »

Networking at a Distance

One drawback of studying online is the lack of student interaction.  AU has tens of thousands of students, yet few of us ever meet or speak to another student.  We study in our silos, often struggling along without the peer support system that other university’s students enjoy. There are supports for AU students, but they… Read more »

Many Small Steps on the Path to Truth and Reconciliation

“We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance.  As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.”  — John Archibald Wheeler (1911-2008), American theoretical physicist. Should every university program require mandatory indigenous-content courses?  That’s a question I pondered in 2016 after reading Tamra Ross’s article, “Truth and Reconciliation—Will… Read more »

Pulling Heartstrings on a Shoestring

Valentine’s Day will soon be here.  Finding the right gift for your sweetie can be stressful at the best of times.  For those living on a tight budget, the stress is amplified.  However, marking Valentine’s Day need not be expensive.  With a little imagination, you can express your love without straining your bank account. Here… Read more »

Money for Nothing—Upcoming AU Scholarship Deadlines

Where’s the money for your next AU course coming from?  If you answered “I don’t know,” perhaps you need to explore AU’s scholarship opportunities.  There are eight scholarships or bursaries with application deadlines of February 15.  There is still have time to examine these opportunities and submit your application. AU’s awards application process is now… Read more »

The Home Stretch

The end is approaching quickly.  Too quickly!  I revised my study plan for the next few months and realized that I have just over three months of AU studies left—about a hundred days.  By April 30 I will have completed all the courses for my degree. Suddenly, graduation will be this year. In one sense,… Read more »

The Bank of You

Will 2018 be the year you make a difference in someone’s life?  Could you help someone lift themselves out of poverty, launch a small business, or complete their education? Making a big impact is easier than you think. In 2017 I invested in a Peruvian corn farm.  On the same day, I invested in a… Read more »

Unwrapping a Fresh New Year

A fresh new year is intoxicating.   In the last days of the old year, the new year sits there, like an unwrapped present.   You don’t know what the package holds, but you know it’s full of promise. Last year started full of promise, too, but we’re ready to discard it.   We eagerly await the new… Read more »


In her January executive blog, AUSU president Shawna Wasylyshyn asks, “who are the students of AU?” In her capacity as student union council president, Wasylyshyn interacts with countless people in the post-secondary education community. Some, she feels, view AU students as “disadvantaged”, “marginalized”, or people with “no other choice” but to attend AU. Like Wasylyshyn,… Read more »