Dean’s Award winner transcends borders

A whirlwind of extracurricular activities meets academic achievement, fifth-year Political Science student Elysa Hogg will be graduating this spring with the Dean’s award for Outstanding Leadership in the UBC Community and Beyond.

Elysa was first drawn to a Political Science degree after volunteering in the Philippines for three weeks with a service team in her Grade 12 year. Within her degree, she is focusing on international issues: civil conflict, post-conflict, and transitional justice.

“I saw some pretty life-changing things [in the Philippines], and became very interested in the politics of what was happening,” said Elysa. “Through that, I became very passionate about international relations and what law could do within that.”

Taking POLI 260 with Dr. Allen Sens gave Elysa a broader view of topics within international relations, and it was there that she connected with the issues of conflict and security. Her interests have since led her to work at the Liu Institute for Global Issues with Dr. Erin Baines on transitional justice, where she will be applying for an internship with the Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP) in Uganda.

Elysa’s extracurricular involvements have been incredibly diverse since her first year at UBC. After leading her team successfully in New York at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference, she came back and became the Secretary-General of UBC Model UN conference. With that, she got to lead her own Student Directed Seminar (SDS), which trained students to be directors at UBC Model UN.

“There was really a practical element to it too. You had to know all the rules, procedures and committees. They do simulations, so it was really interesting because you had to take from these readings and what was going on in the world and try and follow that in committees following UN rules and procedures,” said Elysa.

In her third year, she spoke at the Terrytalks conference, where students speak for twenty minutes presenting their ideas and passions – an experience which she calls a “really great preparation for doing presentations in classrooms…because you are in front of your peers, and it is very nerve-wracking.”

Since then, Elysa has continued to be involved with the Terry Project, planning talks and events for students, including organizing the K’naan and Dambisa Moyo talks at the Chan Centre. She believes that her time at UBC, both academic and extracurricular, has helped prepare her for life after graduation.

“I did a seminar with Dr. Brian Job where I had to create a policy recommendation report, and I took a UN peacekeeping class with Dr. Sens last year and we had to simulate a high-level panel just like the UN. There are just not a lot of universities that offer that. I have taken some really incredible life changing courses and the professors are direct contributors to that. So my degree has been awesome! I have no regrets,” said Elysa.

“My extracurriculars gave me the skills and experience that classes may not offer you, from how you act in an office, to huge event planning, and just really memorable friendships and relationships. I mean, I got to hang out with K’naan for a day – no Political Science class will give you that, right?”

Written by Mary Leong
Article Published March 15, 2011