Huron Alumni, Political Science
I got to work at one of the largest art councils in Canada, and it really tied into what I had learned in first and second year, while also enabling me to incorporate my learning into campus programming, so I could better serve my peers in my positions of leadership.
Fourth year is a really exciting time for any university student – especially if you’ve worked hard to get involved in a number of extremely rewarding opportunities. This is certainly true for Sean Yauk, a standout student leader who took his passion for performance and turned it into a career by engaging with a wide variety of research and extracurricular projects.
“One of the best experiences I had at Huron was taking part in the summer internship program,” Sean explains. “I got to work at one of the largest art councils in Canada, and it really tied into what I had learned in first and second year, while also enabling me to incorporate my learning into campus programming, so I could better serve my peers in my positions of leadership.”
Before Sean worked at the London Arts Council, he began exploring his interests in the academic side of the performing arts as a CURL Fellow, under the mentorship of Dr. John Vanderheide. The monetary support Sean won through this remarkable initiative empowered him to share his research at a national theatre conference in Boston. One of the coolest elements of his collaboration with Dr. Vanderheide is that Sean’s academic concentration has been in Political Science, while the former is an English professor.
“One of the biggest benefits of going to Huron is that the study is so interdisciplinary and the community so small, you are able to work with virtually any professor through the CURL program,” Sean explains. “We built this relationship where we could teach each other things; I gained really valuable skills, and most excitingly of all, I got to share my findings with famed researchers in the field I want to study and work in.”
Sean’s interactions with Huron’s impressive alumni network encouraged him to recognize the importance of getting involved to make student life richer. “I remember meeting and then, eventually, working with our alumnus, Adam Fearnell, who encouraged me to pursue my curiosities more intensively through research and engagement with this really special community.”
As VP, Student Affairs, Sean completely redefined programming for students; he also became a strong student advocate; and even eventually, went from performer to Executive Director of the Huron Underground Dramatic Society (HUDS). “Thanks to the mentorship and support I’ve received at Huron, I learned how to be a Leader with Heart,” says Sean. “Which means, you fulfill a role of servitude where you exercise your knowledge and skills to uplift individuals around you.”
The soon-to-be-masters student clearly demonstrated his capacity for leadership when he built Huron’s production of Mamma Mia! from the ground up. Not only did he bring Broadway sensation, Louise Pitre, to the school, but he also managed every other piece of the process – from legalities through to auditions and creative guidance and, not to mention, instrumental support for the entire cast.
So what does this fourth-year student leader have to say to students thinking about university? “Huron has been such an exciting journey that I never could have imagined when I was in high school,” he shares. “You definitely need to understand the world is changing, so go into post-secondary with ambition, an open mind and a willingness to learn: great things will happen.”