Graduate in Government: How Kailey Vokes’ Studies Prepared Her For a Career In Politics
Kailey Vokes remembers her first day at Glendon like it was yesterday. She was sitting in Professor Persaud’s Comparative Politics class in the Glendon manor, a place she calls a “truly beautiful building to learn in”.
“There were only 35 or so students in the class,” she recalls. “Professor Persaud had us go around the room and tell everyone our name, where we were from, and something interesting about ourselves.
“It was incredible to me at that time in my life that there could be all of these people from such diverse backgrounds in the same room to discuss, debate, and learn together. There were people from all different countries and backgrounds. I remember many of their faces and stories.”
For Kailey, Glendon’s diversity and sense of community created an amazing learning environment. She credits the small class sizes for encouraging discussions and debates that further supported what she read in her textbooks. She believes these elements enriched her learning experience while giving her valuable insight into the stories and perspectives of others as well.
Today, Kailey is a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Honourable Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Finance. For her, the unique education at Glendon set her up for success when embarking on her post-graduate career, which included a Master of Political Management from Carleton University.
“The small class sizes gave the professors more flexibility to assign interesting projects that developed different skills, such as presentations, team projects, and mock UN exercises,” explains Kailey. “The ability to communicate effectively and collaborate with others is crucial to roles in government and politics.”
Of course, Kailey did not wait until graduation to get involved. Rather, she looked for opportunities to be heard when she felt she had something to say, like the time she wrote to her Member of Provincial Parliament to express her concerns during the 2008-09 strike. She insists that anyone can make an impact if the desire is there, and she points to her own background as proof that it is possible.
“Anyone can get involved. I was raised by a single mother in a coop. I didn’t have any connections to politics before I started volunteering for my MPP. I had something to say so I wrote a letter. Then I took action by volunteering. The more you get involved, the more impact you can have. Governments of all levels in Canada, and other countries around the world, need smart people like Glendon alumni to get involved and contribute to public policy.”
Congratulations to Kailey Vokes who joined the York University Alumni Board in December 2019.
Neya Abdi, BA ’16 International Studies
Published February 2019