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MPPPA testimonials

Learn about our graduates experience studying Political Science at Concordia and find out more about their career paths since graduating.

David Dewar, PhD

David Dewar
Principal Advisor - Results and Delivery Unit Privy Council Office

Dave began his public service career in 2001, when he was recruited by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to advise on reforms to the Expenditure Management System.  Since then, Dave has served in a variety of analyst and executive roles in all three of the federal government’s central agencies.  Dave is currently Principal Advisor, Results and Reporting in the Results and Delivery Unit at the Privy Council Office (PCO).

Dave has a PhD in political science from McMaster University, where he was a SSHRC doctoral fellow and wrote his dissertation on results based budgeting.  Dave subsequently taught public administration at the graduate and undergraduate levels at the University of Ottawa, where he was Adjunct Professor in the School of Political Studies.

Dave lives in Ottawa with his wife Julia and their cat Alexei.

Joannie Boire

Joannie Boire
PhD Student, University of Washington

Joannie’s main field of interest is international relations. Specifically, she researchs non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and norms. In her Master’s thesis “INGOs, Inc. - The Effects of INGO Adoption of ‘Best Corporate Practices’ on Funding Received,” she asks to what extent international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) learn when they imitate firms and how this affects their organizational performance. Joannie has had the opportunity to co-author and present papers with Dr. Elizabeth Bloodgood at the ARNOVA (Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action), ISA (International Studies Association), and CPSA (Canadian Political Science Association) conferences, where she also presented her initial thesis work.

Graham Baxter

Graham Baxter
Policy analyst/Consultant, Euroconsult North America

The MPPPA program was an invaluable academic graduate program which in my case, allowed me to complete my degree on a part-time basis while working full-time in Quebec politics and government. My work experience was therefore complimented with an academic experience which conversely, complimented my work.

Concordia’s professors were also able to bring not only a theoretical component to the classroom environment but also, a public and private sector perspective, as many of the faculty had worked outside “the ivory tower” of university and were extremely successful at converting “real world” experiences into “academic” theory and vice-versa.

The internship option was also a very important facet of the program as at the end of the academic experience, you are required to incorporate theory from the entire graduate school experience into practice through the writing of a very rigorous but rewarding public policy internship report.

Although many graduates settle in Ottawa, several of us “Montrealers” were able to use the degree to strengthen our professional careers here in Quebec. In my case, my internship placement was at the Canadian Space Agency which helped me gain significant insight into how Canadian space policy is formulated. My experience at the CSA has led me to my current career position: a private sector consultant with an international based consulting firm specializing in space policy and satellite communications analysis.

Andrew J.R. Arcand

Consumer Product Safety Directorate, Department of Health

Following the completion of my Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University, and on the heels of my internship, I was hired by Environment Canada to work in the exciting and fast-paced world of Ministerial Briefings. In my role as a briefing officer I was regularly exposed to a wide range of issues and departmental experts. I arranged and reviewed ministerial briefing documents and learned a great deal about the decision-making process and departmental governance.

After over two years of this work I moved within the department to the International Affairs Branch where I specialized in Canada-United States relations. There, I was exposed to the numerous issues, people and institutions that make our shared continent one the most prosperous, healthy and peaceful in the world. After three years in the International Affairs Branch I sought new challenges within Environment Canada’s Oil, Gas and Alternative Energy Division. In my present role as a corporate planner I am further building my skills in regulatory development, departmental reporting, and budget and business planning in support of departmental objectives. It is my expectation that these skills will eventually serve me in my ambitions to effectively manage my own division in the service of Canadians.  

Thanks to Concordia’s Master’s in Public Policy and Public Administration Program I have the critical thinking skills and confidence that is valued by my employers and that has given me the flexibility to pursue opportunities within the federal public service that would have otherwise been closed.

Mauricio Suchowlansky

Mauricio Suchowlansky
PhD Student, University of Toronto

Originally from Argentina, Mauricio completed his BA in political science in 2007 at Concordia University. Mauricio then obtained his MA in Public Policy and Public Administration in our department in 2009. As a requirement to his degree, he completed his thesis entitled “Spectacular Tumults: Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories and the Notion of Tumulto,” which analyzes Machiavelli’s use of violent historical exemplars to provide a lesson on Republicanism to his readership, the Medici patrons of Florence. Mauricio entered the PhD program in political science at the University of Toronto, where he will specialize in political theory, with an emphasis on political violence and the Renaissance.

Terri Lambropoulos

Terri Lambropoulos
Analyst, Research & Analysis, Policy and External Relations at the Canadian Space Agency

The MPPPA is a very intensive program from start to end. The reading requirements are heavy and the seminars require active participation. The learning environment is inclusive and professors are engaging in a small-class setting. The greatest asset I acquired was critical thinking, and this trait has proven to be highly valuable in the workplace. The internship is very rewarding because you are placed in a new setting with a valuable skill set. The challenge lies in applying your skills at the right times in the appropriate context. An internship also provides an exclusive sneak-peek at what a career in government entails. The academic paper is a great opportunity to bridge your academic knowledge with a fresh look at the way government really works.

The MPPPA is an indispensable achievement that continuously yields benefits professionally and personally.

Jean-Sébastien Nadon

Jean-Sébastien Nadon
Trade Policy Officer, Technical Barriers and Regulations Division, DFAIT

The MPPPA provides the tools for the development of valuable skills and a path to a potential career in the public service through the Co-op internship program. Beyond exposure to different areas of public policy through coursework, a dedicated internship coordinator seeks placement opportunities throughout the public service and offers useful seminars and one-on-one coaching to prepare candidates for applications and interviews, as well as on-the-job site visits and follow-up with students. I went through a number of applications and interviews before being contacted for an internship at DFAIT under the FSWEP program. I worked hard to convince my managers to extend my internship under the Co-op program until I completed a competition for a permanent position within the same division.

DFAIT is a particularly busy and demanding work environment with high expectations and competing priorities, which makes it challenging to write the internship paper. The paper is a particularly elaborate and demanding exercise in itself. However, the substance of my work was so interesting and inspiring that I enjoyed the experience, even in the evenings and weekends after challenging workdays and weeks. The paper deepened my understanding of trade policy shifts which I lived through during my internship and sought to explain.

I developed a passion for the subject matter of my work to the extent that I now see myself engaged in my most favoured career path: it provides inspiring work on trade negotiations and a wide range of other trade matters, unique opportunities, including travelling and key business connections, and the development of many skills.

Sarah Trottier

Policy Analyst, Northern Region, Health Canada

I was in the MPPPA program from 2004 to 2006. I obtained a placement in Ottawa at Health Canada's Northern Region, then the Northern Secretariat. The NR is responsible for all Health Canada activities in Canada's three territories. 

During my internship, I not only gained skills but also learned a lot about the North, its health issues, and Health Canada's activities. It was difficult at first to find a subject for my paper, considering the breadth of things I was involved in in my work. To narrow it down, I picked the file that was the most challenging (which, to me, made it the most interesting!). In my paper, I used theory to explain why the project was encountering so many problems. My four-month internship was extended, during which I wrote my internship paper. It was hard to work and write the paper, but it is certainly doable.

I was bridged-in shortly after I obtained my degree. My work assignments changed, incorporating more policy and research work. I am still with the NR but I no longer work on program evaluation. By being involved on a number of files, I realized that I was more interested in policy and research, in contrast to what I thought based on my MPPPA classes. Even after being there three years, I still learn everyday.

I am glad that my "foot in the door" placement turned out to be more than that, introducing me not only to a great group of people but also to a part of Canada that few Canadians actually know much about - and that even fewer get to see!

Fadi Otari

Senior Privacy Policy Analyst, Privacy Policy Research and Evaluation
Strategic Policy and Research Branch
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

I worked as an intern at HRSDC Audit and Evaluation Directorate, and graduated from the MPPPA program in 2005.  Four years ago, my work was focused on Privacy Policy, data protection, and the protection of personal information.  I’m currently pursuing a professional certification from the International Association of Privacy Professional.

The MPPPA program has provided me with the necessary knowledge about the Canadian public service in addition to providing me with the opportunity to gain the practical work experience in the federal government.

Protecting the personal information and the privacy of Canadians is a basic right that I’m proudly contributing to in my capacity as a Privacy Policy Analyst with HRSDC.

Cherry Marshall

Research Coordinator, Food Banks Canada

I completed my MA in Public Policy and Public Administration in 2010 and my Honours BA in Political Science at Concordia University in 2006. I completed a Master's Thesis entitled "Gender Equality without Presence and Voice? Gender-Based Analysis in Canada. While in the MPPPA program, had the opportunity to present my research at two conferences, as well as the chance to co-author and present a paper with Dr. Stephanie Paterson. My research interests include gender and public policy, food security, identity politics, and feminist political theory. I am currently employed as Research Coordinator at Food Banks Canada, where I work on numerous qualitative and quantitative research projects.

The MPPPA program and my work as a research assistant provided me with the knowledge and skills that are required to work in a research-based environment.

Suzanne Skinner

Policy Advisor, Immigration Policy Branch
Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

Suzanne Skinner brought to the MPPPA program several years experience in the not-for-profit sector and a keen interest in policy and program development for immigrants and refugees. While studying for the program, Suzanne worked as a Research Assistant for the Canada Research Chair in Public Policy and actively participated in developing some of the research questions for chair’s ongoing projects.

Suzanne won one of five student scholarships to attend the Society for Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. She also co-authored one book chapter and one article in the Canadian Journal for Public Policy. 

Suzanne defended her thesis, entitled: Who has autonomy?: The impact of immigration, gender and welfare state policy on the lives of immigrant women, in 2008. Following graduation, Suzanne was hired by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration as a senior-level policy advisor.

I had some very specific research interests when I began the MPPPA program at Concordia.  The best part about doing the thesis option was being able to pursue those interests and sharpen my research skills with the ongoing guidance and support of my supervisor.


Hussain Shorish

Government Relations Consultant, Bluesky Strategy Group.

Read full interview with Alumni Relations here

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