Ross Huyskamp


Ross Huyskamp



Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences

Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)

PhD Candidate, History, University of Toronto (in progress)

MA History, McMaster University (2012)

BA History Honours, UBC Okanagan (2011)

Kelowna, BC

“I’m grateful for the interest and investment my professors made in my learning.”

Ross’ Story

Professors at UBC Okanagan instilled a passion for history that carried alum Ross Huyskamp to PhD studies

THE GOOD KIND OF HISTORY is repeating itself in the form of UBC Okanagan graduate Ross Huyskamp and his relationship to campus mentors. Why History?

“History professor James Hull inspired a love and enthusiasm for history like no one else could have,” he says. “He loves history, knows so much about it, and is brilliant in sharing that enthusiasm with his students.”

Huyskamp, who is now completing his PhD in History at the University of Toronto, cites the History faculty members and community as the best part of his UBC Okanagan experience. Years after graduating, he’s still in touch with many of the profs who made his experience so memorable.

“Because of the smaller campus, most of the faculty know their students by name. It makes for an amazing, personalized experience. These tight relationships were crucial in helping me navigate the process of applying to grad schools.”


During the third year of his undergraduate degree, Huyskamp worked with the City of Kelowna in researching the historical significance of his hometown’s former Chinatown. Hull’s background in public and urban history helped facilitate the collaboration.

During the project, Huyskamp assessed the physical site, performed online research, examined archival and photographic evidence, and conducted personal interviews.

“The findings of my research were presented at Kelowna’s City Hall, and at the 2010 BC Studies Conference—definitely a highlight of my UBCO experience.”


Huyskamp says History professors Hull and Maurice Williams were crucial in helping him develop skills as a researcher and writer. He also notes that writing is the backbone of the History program, as it’s the main tool historians use to pass on knowledge and information to the next generation.

As an undergraduate in 2009, he received the Peter and Clair Harnetty Prize given on the recommendation of History faculty to recognize his outstanding essay in a History course. Huyskamp has since won multiple travel awards to support his research.

“Many of the history courses at UBCO are especially writing-intensive, and from my experience the professors really care about your writing,” he says.

“I’m grateful for the interest and investment my professors made in my learning.”

 —by Deanna Roberts