Family roots support grad success

Social Sciences

- Anne MacLaurin

Hibbert with her family

For graduating student Kailee Hibbert, a curiosity about identity, feminism and race led her to study sociology and gender studies at UVic.

“I am white-passing with Jamaican heritage; growing up, I have struggled with how racism directly affects my family—yet I hold the privilege of light skin. This is a big part of what led me to sociology,” says Hibbert.

Hibbert’s grandfather immigrated to Canada from Jamaica in the 1960s, after playing soccer at a university in Puerto Rico, and continued his master's in history at a school in Saskatchewan. Her grandmother was a music teacher, working at an inner-city school in Surrey.

“I think living with my grandparents deeply shaped my values and worldview. I am lucky to come from such a supportive family—it definitely influenced and privileged me in ways that led me to UVic,” adds Hibbert.

“Most weeknights are spent playing card games with my grandparents, dad and aunties,” says Hibbert, “I have two little sisters on my mom’s side that I spend a lot of time with as well.”

For Hibbert, attending UVic meant she could still go home to Surrey, BC on long weekends and holidays—but it was far enough to test her independence.

“Once I got familiar with some of my classmates and began engaging in more conversations with them, I found a great group of people in my field that made my university experience richer and more meaningful, “explains Hibbert.

The experience at UVic that stood out the most for Hibbert is the working in communities course with sociology professor Bruce Ravelli.

“I had never experienced community, nor had I made lasting connections with my peers, until that class with Professor Ravelli,” says Hibbert.

“One of our assignments asked for a lot of vulnerability, and we each shared intimate examples of sociology in our own lives; sharing and hearing such raw experiences led to an overwhelming feeling of community,” adds Hibbert.

“Other UVic faculty who provided learning spaces that felt more intimate than regular classes were professors Dr. Sitara and Dr. Sy,” says Hibbert. “Each of these professors made an effort to share stories about themselves, and get to know their students, which I think made the learning experience so much more meaningful.”

Learning from Indigenous and trans scholars and peers was very enriching and memorable, explains Hibbert. Gaining new perspectives is something she hopes to continue in her equity and justice work.

“Sociology has taught me rich perspectives that I look forward to applying in my future endeavors; I am passionate about my studies and I plan to contribute to the field through a master’s degree,” says Hibbert.


In this story

Keywords: convocation, student life, racism, sociology, community

People: Kailee Hibbert, Bruce Ravelli, Georgia Sitara

Publication: The Ring

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