Lifestyle

For Kovich, activism unites several causes

Michael Kovich, a pre-med student, wants to raise awareness in the community in arenas such as gay rights and foreign conflicts. 

Michael Kovich, a sociology and biology major, is on the pre-med track, but his priority is education. 

“I want to be a doctor, but I also want to be an educator,” Kovich said. “I want to be able to teach you about health and about wellness.”

Activism is high on the list of Kovich’s priorities, shown by his involvement in organizations like Temple College Democrats, suicide prevention projects and Diamond Leaders, as well his former position as president of Temple’s Queer Student Union. Kovich said bringing attention to the issue of LGBTQ homelessness in Philadelphia is of great importance to him.

Kovich’s involvement in each of those organizations feeds into his passion for addressing  social issues, he said.

“We need to open up and realize that everybody’s problems are our problems and if we don’t do anything about them, nobody will,” Kovich said.

Kovich recently returned from Israel, a trip sponsored by The David Project, an Israeli advocacy organization. He spent the trip sightseeing at places like  the Holocaust History Museum, but also confronting issues including foreign tensions and refugee dilemmas. The David Project encourages leadership in young people in an effort to promote social activism in today’s generation – something Kovich said appeals to him.

Along with his activist endeavors, Kovich is the creator of the Kovich Network. The self-titled online business specializes in Internet marketing, search engine optimization and web design as well as development. His business “lends a hand to other business,” he said, and donates 80 percent of the profits to “the global south,” including  underdeveloped countries that need financial assistance.

Kovich is a transfer student who came to Temple after completing his freshman year of college at Wilkes University, a school in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., close to his home in the Poconos.

“I loved it, but I had to think about my career and decided that I needed to be in a city,” Kovich said.

The networking in Philadelphia appealed to his social outreach agenda. Kovich applied and was accepted to the University of Pennsylvania’s pre-med program, but turned it down to attend Drexel. The day before classes started, however, Kovich changed his mind again – it was then that he found himself at Temple.

Starting his sophomore year here, Kovich attended an Inclusive Leadership Conference, an organization he is still involved in, and felt inspired.

“I found a lot of really amazing and passionate people here, and that really confirmed that this was the right place for me,” Kovich said. “Everybody has something that they really want to run towards and be engaged in.”

Kovich said he believes there is a common thread running through the issues he studies, from gay rights to resolving conflicts in the Middle East.

“It’s like a toolbox,” Kovich said. “The more fields you get involved in, the more tools you have, the deeper into issues you can dig.”

His pursuit of medical school is the way he wants to change the world.

“Doctors have high social capital, they have authority, education and they’re in a good position to do these things,” Kovich said. “My mission is for me to always be better than before, to improve myself, to grow as a person. But I also want to leave the world better than it was before. I want to make a difference and leave the world better than it was when I found it.”

Kovich said Peiwen Tan, professor of math and organic chemistry, has been of particular influence during his academic career at Temple.

“She is probably the most passionate professor I’ve ever met, and I think she just really deserves some recognition,” he said. “She really made my time at Temple great by going radically above and beyond.”

His time as an undergraduate student has left him hungry for more, Kovich said.

“I want to be everything – I want to be a doctor, and a scientist, an advocate and a teacher,” Kovich said. “It may be a bit crazy, but nobody looks back and thinks, ‘Wow, I really wish I got more sleep.’”

Paige Gross can be reached at paige.gross1@temple.edu. 

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