Alumni Profile: Laura Wyllie

Laura (left), as head liaison for the UBCSUO Community Outreach Program  with fellow volunteers at a retirement home in Kelowna.

Laura (left), as head liaison for the UBCSUO Community Outreach Program with fellow volunteers at a retirement home passing out goodies.

Laura Wyllie graduated with a B.A. in Art History. In an interview, Laura stated that she was initially drawn to UBC Okanagan because of the size of its campus: “I was actually interested in a Bachelor of Environmental Landscape Design. I wanted to be an architect, but realized that I wasn’t too big a fan of the sciences direction and that I could actually keep my focus on architecture through a major in Art History and Visual Culture.” She noted that “all the professors in the Art History program were easy to get to know and they took the time to get to know me and what my interests were. For each course, they guided me to new research topics on architecture within the curriculum. I was actually one of the first Art History majors at UBCO.”

During her undergraduate degree, Laura also made ample use of the resources available to students of the FCCS: “I had the opportunity to research numerous topics on a global scale because of the global course offerings of the Art History program. I did one directed studies in my 4th year on a German architectural design concept called Passivhaus. This was a really great opportunity to gain experience doing independent research and prepare me for grad school.

Professor Hussein Keshani designed the course to improve my PowerPoint and presenting skills, which came in very

Laura with fellow volunteers at the The Responsible Animal Care Society at a Bunny Sanctuary

Laura with fellow volunteers at the The Responsible Animal Care Society at a Bunny Sanctuary

handy for grad school.” As for the city of Kelowna, Laura said that it “will always be my home away from home now. I spent a total of 6 years at UBCO. I took a 6th year as an unclassified student to participate more within the campus community, work for the Academic Resource Centre, and take fine arts courses I didn’t have the time to take during my degree. This 6th year also gave me more time to work on writing grad school applications.”

Laura is now a graduate student at Carleton University and, to her, the experiences at UBCO have been immensely rewarding: “I never would have thought 8 years ago that I would now be living in Ottawa, just about to finish a Masters in Art History, having recently completed a 6-month practicum with the Educational, Community and Public Programs Department at the Ottawa Art Gallery. This practicum and my past experiences with UBCO’s Art History program are what actually have brought me in a full circle back to UBCO this coming September. I will be starting a second Masters, this time in Education.” She notes that her “dream job would be to work for a major city art gallery’s educational, community and public programming department: places such as Vancouver, Seattle, Toronto… or New York.”

In closing, Laura remarked: “UBCO’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies was an incredibly diverse faculty to be a part of. My experience in FCCS is what ultimately helped me find my true passion in life. I would say it was the Faculty’s great sense of community and the professors that helped me grow and succeed. It’s professors like Carolyn MacHardy, Jennifer Gustar, Lisa Grekul, Paul Milton, and Hussein Keshani that made my experience at UBCO something truly special and I am proud to be a part of UBCO alumni. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them!”

This story was written by Brandon Taylor, English major in FCCS. Brandon is a Research Assistant in FCCS, contacting alumni to find out about their experiences here at UBCO.

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