The Graduate Spotlight features exceptional students who have had unique journeys through Laurentian University. We celebrate these students and their accomplishments!
For Ivan Samoylenko, the student experience at Laurentian University has been all about inclusivity and diversity. “I’m very proud of the many friends I’ve made and the great relationships I’ve fostered with people I know and care about,” he said. “I think our [Laurentian’s] strength are the people. The people who work here. The people who teach here….The people who learn here.”
Samoylenko is soon to graduate from the McEwen School of Architecture with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies. “It [the program] was very personal. It was very much catered to first of all, what you wanted to pursue in the future. So whether you want to be a designer, architect, graphic designer, interior designer or landscape architect, it’s [the curriculum] personal in the sense of keeping in mind your strengths.” Also a highlight for Samoylenko are the excellent working relations he developed with his professors. “They [faculty] have a relationship with you. A great student to professor relationship. I found that every year in my program, I had mentors. I felt consistently supported.”
An aspect about his education that Samoylenko liked best was the University’s tri-cultural mandate that recognizes French, English, and Indigenous cultures of Northern Ontario. “Indigenous content is integrated into the Architecture program really well. It was done with intelligence. Done intelligently and from the heart as well. So, it really combined teachings through spirit and mind in a way that we [the students] were really able to truly appreciate. The traditions. The teachings. The cultures that are Indigenous. So, my eyes were open to all of that.”
Samoylenko spoke fondly about inclusivity for students at the University. “That’s something I really liked. That I always felt accepted. I got to take some of my courses in French during my first couple of years [of study] which I really enjoyed. And I don’t necessarily speak French very well but this was a good challenge for me. The fact that I was accepted really allowed me into this French culture - French groups.”
For Samoylenko, in addition to keeping busy with his studies, he also participated avidly in student life. Not only was he a part of the wrestling team, but he played chess with the University’s chess club. What’s more, he participated in on-stage paint events with other creative peers. “We did fun events such as live painting. So we’d go on stage to paint for an audience, for example, and the audience would shout out things to paint and we’d try to paint them.” Samoylenko is equally passionate about painting murals and hopes for opportunities in the future for his creativity to shine.
Concurrent to his busy academic and extra-curricular engagements, Samoylenko enjoyed being a student ambassador with Liaison Services. This work opportunity found him sharing his passion about the University with prospective students and their families. “I remember having been a young student in high school and thinking, ‘where do I fit into the world? What is the meaning of life?’ Stuff like that. You know? ‘How do I achieve my greatest potential?’ Through his work as a student ambassador, he described finding joy in supporting students with similar questions. “I remember all of the students and their families who I’ve toured across campus. Some of these students who chose Laurentian for post-secondary are now themselves, well on their way to graduation.”
Danielle Yasko-Pellerin, Liaison’s Events and Communications Coordinator spoke fondly about Samoylenko’s commitment: “Ivan represents what Laurentian is about. His passion for the University and Northern Ontario was evident in his record-breaking positive campus tour reviews. Guests who meet Ivan on campus feel not only welcomed but confident in their decision to choose Laurentian.”
While Ivan is eager to graduate on June 2nd, he hopes to return to Laurentian in a year or two to undertake his Masters in Architecture. “Until then, I want to express myself creatively and make positive relationships in our community. Perhaps support the work of community events” he described.
There is no doubt that Samoylenko will continue to make positive connections within his community and beyond. He is one of the many people who create Laurentian’s sense of community. We wish him well in all his future endeavours.