The place to be for the globally-minded
August 22, 2016
Alumnus (Class of 2016)
Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
BA (in progress)
“The undergraduate experience exposes us to different ideas, gets us used to communicating professionally, and encourages us to become independent.”
THROUGHOUT HIS TIME AT UBC OKANAGAN, Kevin Ilomin worked and volunteered across the campus. He was a work-study student with the Athletics department for five years, a residence advisor and guest service agent for UBC Okanagan Housing and Hospitality Services, a sportswriter for the Phoenix student newspaper, a note-taker for the Disability Resource Centre, and president of the Political Science Student’s Association.
A broad, interdisciplinary approach to learning is what Ilomin believes makes the Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) program at UBC’s Okanagan campus one of the best in Canada.
“So many different faculty members are globally conscious and concerned about very big international social issues,” he says. “UBC Okanagan is definitely the place to be for globally-minded individuals looking for social change.”
Early in his time as an undergraduate, Ilomin travelled to Kenya to volunteer with five other UBC Okanagan students. He says the community-building project—Students 4 Kenya, of which he served as President—changed his life and sparked his interest in non-governmental organizations and international development, which became the basis for his undergraduate thesis. Ilomin believes the combination of subject matter and courses available in the PPE program make it the perfect place to explore interconnected themes and issues.
“The undergraduate experience is not meant to be an experience that dictates what you do for the rest of your life,” says Ilomin. “What the undergraduate experience does is make students well-rounded. It exposes us to different ideas, teaches some technical skills, gets us used to communicating professionally and working in team environments, and encourages us to become independent. Undergraduate studies help us learn how to think.”
Ilomin planned on pursuing a medical degree following his undergraduate studies, but found himself struggling to maintain focus in his math and chemistry courses while jumping enthusiastically into writing projects and public speaking. It took two years for him to realize that his true academic passion was in the social sciences.
“I had to learn the hard way that you won’t ever be motivated to do the work for courses or subjects that don’t keep your interest.” Through discussions with Political Science Professor Carl Hodge, Ilomin transferred to the PPE, where Hodge became his mentor and directed studies supervisor.
“He’s the kind of person I’d want to have in my corner when the going gets tough,” says Ilomin. “He has made a world of difference to my academic path.”
Ilomin points out that the support he found in Dr. Hodge is indicative of the campus as a whole.
“The UBCO community is dynamic and close-knit. I am always blown away by the investment faculty and staff have in developing relationships with the student body. This type of atmosphere I believe is only achievable with the size and intimacy which is unique to our medium-sized campus.”
And during his time with UBC Okanagan’s Varsity Athletics department, one particular staff member stands out to Ilomin.
“Cary Mellon, sports information director, was one of the best supervisors, mentors, and friends I’ve ever had,” he says. “He was there from the start and was really the catalyst to bringing me into the world of media, communications and journalism. He is a testament to the kind of support students can expect to receive in and out of the classroom.”