Concordia grad student works on campus as an ambassador for the Government of Canada
When Michael Morgan (BA 18) began his master’s in public policy and public administration (MPPPA) at Concordia, he never imagined he’d be working as a government ambassador before graduation. But in September 2019, he was hired by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) to do just that.
Based on his three years of experience as a public servant with the Treasury Board, Morgan was offered the role of student ambassador to Concordia. His mission? To equip his peers with the knowledge and skills they need to land a job in Ottawa. As a first step, Michael recommends that students apply to the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP).
Morgan’s role is a unique gig that was facilitated in part by Nadia Bhuiyan, vice-provost of partnerships and experiential learning.
“Establishing stronger connections between Concordia and the Government of Canada is a priority for the university,” she says. “Experiential learning opportunities like this one give our students a huge advantage when they embark on careers beyond academia.”
Bhuiyan helped set things up in collaboration with David McGovern, then associate deputy minister, who was assigned by ISED to champion the benefits of working for the government to Concordia students.
"Michael came to mind right away when we were asked to select an ambassador that would represent our department,” says Elizabeth Bloodgood, chair and professor in the Department of Political Science.
"He did his undergrad in Co-op and is now in the MPPPA internship option. His government work experience is already quite extensive, and we thought that as ambassador he represents the values we want to promote. He is a fantastic department citizen with a give-back attitude!"
Bringing Ottawa within view
Morgan’s role as student ambassador took on many forms.
“I tried to focus my efforts on bridging the physical gap between Concordia and Ottawa,” he says. “It’s something that both my employer and the university agree is important.”
One approach he took was organizing student trips to the national capital to interact directly with public servants. The first bus full of Concordia Co-op students travelled there on January 31 to hear from and meet with employees of Shared Services, Global Affairs and the Treasury Board.
“I plan to develop the contacts made through this trip so that additional events can happen in the future,” Morgan adds.
And his efforts didn’t stop there. In addition to bringing his peers to Ottawa, he also found tangible ways to share relevant skills right on campus.
Morgan organized a series of workshops on using Microsoft Excel as a government analyst — a proficiency for which he developed through his work with the Treasury Board. He began by offering beginner-level training and has since expanded to teaching more advanced workshops as well.
What does it take to work in government?
Once again drawing upon his networks in Ottawa, Morgan also arranged for representatives from the Treasury Board to give a presentation at Concordia on February 10 about their open government instrument known as InfoBase. The interactive tool is meant to transform complex federal data into simple visual stories.
“I have used it countless times for school research, job applications and general curiosity,” Morgan explains, adding that his colleagues will also be present to answer questions at the Government of Canada’s STEM career day and flash intern recruitment in Montreal in the afternoon of the same day.
Beyond organizing workshops and bus trips, Morgan focused his efforts on walking fellow students through the process of applying for government jobs and exploring future experiential learning opportunities in the public sector. He continues to seek out any chance he can to share his experience and provide advice to his peers.
“While my contract ended in December, I am very excited to see these events come to fruition!”
Find out more about experiential learning opportunities at Concordia.