Student spotlight: Inside the dome with Class of 2017's Kevin Rubio
History and political science major Kevin Rubio spent his last days as an undergraduate studying and keeping schedules running in the Speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives’ office.
From the classroom to the State House, Kevin Rubio knows about balance.
This history and political science major spent his last days as an undergraduate studying and keeping schedules running in the Speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives’ office during the most hectic time of the legislative session.
Chief page for Speaker Jay Lucas, Rubio makes sure things run smoothly in the office and is training new pages. The graduating senior from Aiken has logged 15 to 26 hours a week at the State House since the second semester of his freshman year.
“In the fall you get used to not getting as many phone calls, but the week before spring break and thereafter, you are asked to run all over,” Rubio says. “It takes a lot of discipline and really understanding the process.”
Rubio, who will start law school at USC in the fall, says his interest in government and dream to go to law school grew from his family’s experience immigrating to the United States. His parents moved to Long Island, New York, from El Salvador before Rubio was born. Rubio and his family moved to Aiken when he was 8. He is the first member of his family to go to college, and he credits his parents and grandparents for making this possible.
“I know I can do so much for myself and my family because of the example they set for me,” Rubio says of his parents and his grandparents. “I am more excited because I know it’s not just my accomplishment. I’m trying to share it with them as much as I can.”
While in high school, Rubio asked his local Rep. Bill Taylor of Aiken about how to get involved in government. The second semester of his freshman year, Rubio started as a legislative page for Taylor and served in that office until moving over to work for the speaker in May 2014.
During his time at the State House, Rubio enjoyed being part of the system that goes into creating laws.
One of his most memorable experiences was helping write a resolution to honor Williston’s retiring mayor. He traveled to the small town near his hometown and interviewed the mayor, who had served for 31 years.
“I learned that even when you’re asked to do simple tasks, it’s appreciated,” he says.
Rubio also served as a translator with Amigos del Buen Samaritano, a student organization that sends volunteers to local Good Samaritan health clinics. He spotted a flyer for this organization early in his college career and was interested because when he was growing up, he sometimes served as in interpreter for his grandparents and parents at doctors’ appointments. He saw volunteering with this group as a way to help others and keep his Spanish skills sharp.
“When you go to places like these clinics, the patients really appreciate someone coming back to help them,” Rubio said.
Rubio also is a resident mentor, a Maximilian LaBorde Scholar and received the history department’s 2016 Charles W. Coolidge Award.
There are plenty of opportunities for students to gather diverse life experiences at Carolina, and that is what has made college memorable for Rubio. He encourages other students to do the same.
“Try not to get too bogged down in only academics because there is so much at our disposal and it’s here for free,” he says. “Just try to get as many experiences outside the classroom as you can.”