Class of 2024: Bachelor of Science grads find strength in community

Class of 2024: Bachelor of Science grads find strength in community

Lokman Wong

Lokman is Asian with shoulder length dark hair. She is wearing a grey suit jacket, black shirt and jeans. She stands with her arms crossed outside the windows of the King's Library on a sunny morning.The legacy Lokman Wong is leaving behind at King’s is undoubtedly the communities she fostered and helped create. After coming to Halifax all the way from Campbell River, B.C., Wong started the Dalhousie/King’s Crafting Society, which brought colour and connection to campus, especially during the dark and dreary months. She also helped students in residence bond with one another while working as a Junior Don and Residence Community Engagement Assistant.

The desire to bring people together was only natural after Wong started her King’s journey doing the Foundation Year Program (FYP) online in the 2020/2021 pandemic year.

“It was a bit different,” Wong says. “But it really helped contextualize some of the pieces of knowledge that we were reading—in the context of, ‘Oh other people have read these texts before during difficult times like these.’”

She says FYP set her up for success in the rest of her degree, a Bachelor of Science in psychology. “I realized that I had all these writing skills, but I’d be in a second- or third-year Dalhousie course where you would write essays, and they’re still teaching you how to write essays,” Wong laughs.

Of course, FYP not only taught Wong how to write, but gave her a “holistic approach to thinking,” as she describes it. That came in handy when she worked as a page in the Nova Scotia legislature. During dull moments, standing there with her feet hurting, Wong would come up with counter points to what was being argued on the House of Assembly floor.

She’s also still finding takeaways from her favourite King’s course: Bio-Politics with Assistant Professor Michael Bennett. “Every other week I’ll see a newspaper article, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, that’s very biopolitical, what would Michael Bennett say about this?’”

Next up for Wong is to move to Ottawa and apply to law school. Reflecting on graduation, she says, “four years passes by really quickly!”

As for Wong’s advice to future students, she says to make the most of the close-knit community at King’s and form friendships with professors, staff and fellow learners. “Undergrad is hard, and I think it’s the people that really make it so much better,” she says. “Friendships at King’s is what will carry me beyond.”





Jack Gillies

Jack is light skinned male with buzzed short reddish brown hair. He wears a light blue golf shirt and is standing outside in a park setting with early spring trees in the background.Jack Gillies may not have taken any courses at King’s, but he’s a UKC Blue Devil through and through.

The Saint John, N.B. native was part of the badminton team that rose from underdog to high-calibre champion status in both Atlantic Canada and beyond. “About three years before I came, Atlantic provinces were getting absolutely stomped on by Alberta and Ontario, but King’s was kind of the first one to take a jab at Alberta and Ontario and really show that the Atlantic provinces had people that could compete,” he says.

Over the course of his time at King’s, Gillies helped the Blue Devils take home three Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) championships, represented the school at three national tournaments, and competed for his home province at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Charlottetown. And he did it all while achieving success in the chemistry lab, being named an Academic All-Canadian with the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) three times and winning the top academic student athlete award at King’s for having the highest GPA while playing a varsity sport.

Gillies says the Athletics Department helps student athletes succeed on and off the court by encouraging good study and training habits and respecting the boundaries between the two.

“In university you know, times are going to be tough, you have a million assignments on the go or really quickly approaching deadlines, but you’ve learned from athletics that you need grit to just get through it and put your head down, get things done.”

Gillies will always cherish the friends he made at King’s, and looks back fondly on its warm and friendly environment. He says he loved living in residence and experiencing the small community at King’s while having access to the respected science programs at Dalhousie right across the street. “You get the best of both worlds,” he says.

Gillies currently works as a lab technician in the food science branch of the National Research Council, which he plans to continue after graduating on May 23 with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. He also plans on keeping sports a part of his life.

His advice for future students?

“Be willing to try new things, and don’t be afraid to take the challenge head on and give it your all.”

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