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Student Profiles

Aryana Ashrafi
Program Year
: Two
Hometown
: North Vancouver, BC
Previous Degree
: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Minor in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice Studies from UBC
Previous experience
: As an undergraduate, Aryana’s interest in public policy grew from her lived experiences, political science studies, and volunteer roles with equity-seeking groups. Most recently, she had the opportunity to work with Transport Canada in a Junior Analyst position, working on files to advance marine safety initiatives.
Areas of policy interest
: Environmental and Social Policy — more specifically, how marginalized groups are affected by these policy areas.

Sydney Belford
Program Year:
 Two
Previous Degree: Combined Honours in International Development Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies, Minor in Philosophy, Dalhousie University
Work & Volunteer Experience: In my most recent position I conducted a provincial needs analysis and developed educational materials for staff competency training in 2SLGBTQIA+ senior care within long-term care homes. During my undergraduate I completed a placement with the Nova Scotian chapter of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives; as well as, held positions within the non-profit sector on community issues related to employment equity, service access, food sovereignty, security and justice, and sensible campus drug policy.
Areas of Policy Interest: Social Policy, Housing Policy, Drug Policy, Child and Family Wellbeing, Rural Policy

Kristen Belsher
Program Year: Two
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, University of British Columbia
Work Experience: Since graduating from the University of British Columbia, I have been working for the Canada Border Services Agency in the Enforcement and Intelligence Division. Previously, I worked as a Junior Policy Analyst at the Public Health Agency in Ottawa. While pursuing my undergraduate degree at UBC, I volunteered as an Ambassador and Mentor at Go Global, UBC’s exchange program, and as a Junior Policy Analyst for the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation, where my research focused on Multilateral Affairs within the Climate Change Branch. I continue to volunteer as a Senior Editor for Spheres of Influence, a digital publication dedicated to analyzing issues in international relations.
Areas of Policy Interest: Immigration Policy, Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Environmental and Climate Policy, Social Policy

Lucas Bjorgan
Program Year: Two
Hometown: Regina, Saskatchewan
Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts Honours in International Studies, Concentration in Asian Studies, Minor in History; University of Regina
Work Experience: After convocation in 2019 I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work for two years with the Miyazaki City Board of Education in Miyazaki, Japan as an Assistant Language Teacher, where I gained valuable insight into the inner workings of another society's public service. My role included both teaching English in various classroom settings and contributing to local internationalization efforts in Miyazaki Prefecture. During my undergraduate studies I worked in the University of Regina's Information Technology, Audio-Visual Services, and International departments, worked with international students, and volunteered in various capacities for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
Areas of Policy Interest: Foreign Policy, Trade Policy, Infrastructure Policy, Technology and Innovation Policy

Callie Bouchard
Program Year:
 Two
Hometown:
Winnipeg, MB
Previous Degree:
Advanced BA in Anthropology, minoring in Biology; University of Manitoba
Previous Experience:
I have varied academic, work and volunteer experience. Between these three areas, I have developed valuable skills and perspectives. My pre-pandemic volunteering with the Bear Clan in Winnipeg fueled my interest in public policy, as well as relations between GOs, NGOs, and policies that directly impact low-income communities. Moreover, I recognize that critical comprehension of GO and NGO operations, support of grassroots-level organizing, and direct involvement with communities are essential in gaining a comprehensive view of community lives in the public policy sphere. I believe my varied background and holistic analytical approach towards local and global issues will be valuable in the MPP program.
Areas of Policy Interest:
Environment and Sustainability, Indigenous Governance and Climate Justice, Health and Social policy

Justin Carmichael
Program Year:
Two
Hometown: St. Albert, Alberta
Previous Degree(s): BA Political Science, SFU
Work Experience: Justin completed an internship at the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver, working for both the U.S. Department of State and Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service as the commercial economic statecraft intern, applying his knowledge of Canadian and BC politics to completing projects, research, and cables for the two departments. Justin also previously worked in IT at the SFU Bookstore, before assuming his current role as Government Relations Coordinator in the Office of the Vice-President, External Relations at SFU. In his current role, Justin assists the SFU executive in outreach activities with all levels of government, research on key government and internal SFU initiatives, and assists in government-planned events that take place at any one of the three SFU campuses.

Christy Chan
Program Year: Two
Hometown: Calgary AB
Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts, major in Sociology and minor in Development Studies
Work Experience: One of the most inspiring experiences is my work with local non-profits, such as the Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA). I worked as a Brand Ambassador with RCA to establish an in-depth understanding of Alberta's renewable resource sector. The role allowed me to critically examine the impacts of human waste on the environment and on certain marginalized demographics. In addition, I volunteered with YWCalgary and Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association as an English Language facilitator.
Area of Policy Interest: The merge of environmental, food security, and social policy.

Rebecca Demyen
Program Year: Two
Hometown: Regina, SK
Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Major in Economics with Minor in Sociology, SFU
Work Experience: I chose the MPP program due to my interest in driving societal change through policy. My interest in economic and social policy developed following my experiences working in pharmaceuticals, banking, and telecommunications. In each of these fields I observed discriminatory and exclusionary policies that alienated marginalized populations, feeding my desire to find opportunities to develop inclusionary policies that strive for equal opportunities for Canadians. Witnessing heat waves and record-breaking fire seasons becoming increasingly perennial events here in BC, I believe environmental policy requires significant improvement to sustain our natural environments.
Areas of Policy Interest: Economic Policy, Environmental Policy, and Social Policy

Joeveen Dhari
Program Year: Two
Hometown: Richmond, BC
Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of British Columbia
Work Experience: Joeveen is joining the MPP Program after two years of working at lululemon. She is currently employed as a member of the digital engagement team where she monitors social trends and inspires user engagement. Joeveen was recently chosen to join lululemon’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action) residency program as part of the Building an Inclusive Brand cohort.  In this role, she gained experience in analyzing stakeholder engagement at a global level and built frameworks to support equity and inclusion internally. She has since brought this knowledge back to her home team, where she leads workshops, panel discussions and regularly acts as an IDEA consultant. Joeveen has also held various internship positions with organizations such as BC Civil Liberties Association and Amnesty International Vancouver.
Areas of Policy Interest: Environmental Racism, Social Corporate Responsibility, and Indigenous Rights

Gabrielle Feldmann
Program Year:
Two
Hometown: Waterloo, ON
Previous Degrees: Joint Honours BSocSc in Public Administration and Political Science, University of Ottawa
Work Experience: Gabrielle has held positions across the policymaking nexus. She is a recent alumnus of the Parliamentary Internship Programme, where she experienced policy-making at the political level. Previously, she has held policy and research roles in the federal government at Women and Gender Equality Canada, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, and Public Services and Procurement Canada. In the non-government sector, she has held research roles at the Public Policy Forum and as a volunteer at Samara Canada.
Areas of Interest: social policy; financial policy; health policy.

Ella Haslhofer
Program Year:
 Two    
Hometown:
Calgary, AB
Previous Degree:
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Studies and Certificate in Law, Queen’s University
Work and Volunteer Experience
During my undergraduate studies I volunteered in various roles that allowed me to reflect on the existing gaps between policy aspiration and implementation. A few examples include my time serving as the volunteer coordinator for a student-run mental health charity, as an athletic trainer for individuals with mobility impairments and developmental disabilities, and as the co-chair of the Queen’s West Africa AIDS Foundation.
I completed three summer internships as an analyst at a global accounting and consulting firm and spent one summer as the executive assistant for Passive House Alberta. While the former experience allowed me to strengthen my analytical research skills and aptitude for problem solving, the latter provided me with the opportunity to learn more about urban environmental issues and the important relationship between the public and private sectors.
Areas of Policy Interest:
Child and Family Policy; Social Policy and Inequality; Politics and Policymaking; Education Policy
My primary area of interest is child and family policy. Specifically, I hope to address the issues of child exploitation and abuse as I continue my education and start to build my career. 

Richard Howard
Program Year: Two
Hometown: Mississauga, ON
Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication, Minors in Philosophy and Public Relations; Ryerson University
Work Experience: Since the completion of my undergraduate degree, I have worked for both Privacy Horizon Inc. and Letko Brosseau & Associates as a communications intern. While working for Privacy Horizon I developed a resource library that provides clients with access to streamlined technical and policy information relating to various privacy and security topics. At Letko Brosseau I worked with the organization’s ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) team to develop their ESG report and the advertising committee to develop a wide variety of advertisement concepts which have been featured in publications such as The Economist.
Areas of Policy Interest: Environmental and Climate Policy, Indigenous Policy, Social Policy, and Labour Policy

Melissa Lappage
Program Year:
 Two
Hometown: Perth Andover, New Brunswick
Previous degree: Bachelor of Arts, Honours Major in Political Science and a Minor in Psychology; University of New Brunswick-Fredericton
Work experience: I have pervious academic experience/research in renewable energy in Canada, clean water policy in the Atlantic provinces, climate and environmental politics, and bottom-up climate politics. I have volunteered for the Women+ in Politics organization in Fredericton, NB and was able to gain valuable experience in campaign canvassing and promoting women in politics. I was also a member of the Fredericton, NB Green Party-MP youth council and was able to gain experience in discussing how to manage and find solutions for community based issues.
Areas of policy interest: Environment and climate change, Indigenous rights/justice, and social policy

Rachel Ling
Program Year:  Two
Hometown: Richmond, BC
Previous degree: Bachelor of Science, major in Microbiology and Immunology; McGill University
Work Experience: After graduating from McGill University, I have been working in the healthcare field as a health practitioner, instructor, and regulator. I am currently involved in three health regulatory bodies in BC (College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners & Acupuncturists of BC, College of Dental Technicians of BC, and College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC) as a board and/or committee member. I feel very honored to be involved in many important regulatory decisions and I find regulatory work very rewarding and fulfilling.
Areas of Policy Interest: Health Policy; Regulation; Social Policy; Economic Policy.

Emily Saint
Program Year: Two
Hometown: Port Coquitlam, BC
Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of British Columbia
Work Experience: Emily has experience working in both the private and public sector; she worked for MNP Consulting and Paragon Testing as well as the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada where she analyzed banking satisfaction and researched emerging technology. Since graduating from UBC she has worked as a Trainer for the 2020 BC Election training all election officials in her district. 
Areas of Interest: Environmental Sustainability, Social Policy, Indigenous Governance

Torrey Siggelkow
Program Year: Two
Hometown: Vegreville, Alberta
Previous degree: Bachelor of Arts Honours in Political Science, University of Alberta 
Work Experience: I have work experience with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. I have completed an internship with APARDAAP and not for profit working with asylum seekers in France. I moved to Vancouver for an internship working to create community spaces for undergraduate students on campus at UBC. Most recently I have been working for a small business focused on fair and direct trade with international communities to expand their success and globalize their market.
Areas of Policy Interest: Foreign Policy, International Development, and Social Policy 

Yashar Tasouji (Yash)
Program Year:
 Two
Hometown:
Coquitlam, BC
Previous Degree:
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, SFU
Work Experience:
As a political science undergraduate, I had the opportunity of working as a Research Intern at the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association (DSBIA) through the SFU co-op program during the summer of 2020. At the DSBIA, I was responsible for gathering data from over 100 businesses on their perceptions of safety, crime, and COVID-19. I created two surveys (safety & crime, COVID-19) and conducted interviews to gather the data. I used this data in my final report, which included a quantitative and qualitative analysis, followed by policy recommendations for the DSBIA and the City of Surrey. This taught me the importance of data and analysis in any policy debate, exposed me to social issues such as poverty and the difficulties associated with formulating reasonable policy actions, while giving me direct field research experience. In the summer of 2021, I worked with the Canadian federal government at Statistics Canada as an enumerator for the 2021 Census of Population.
Areas of Policy Interest:
the intersection between social media and political information/communication, frameworks of decision making and policy analysis, socio-economic policy including poverty mitigation and environmentally sustainable economic practices, the legal operationalization and practical realization of human rights, and contemporary political theory with a focus on democratic (and non-democratic) governance systems.

Sasheeka Udawatte
Program Year:  Two
Hometown: Surrey, BC
Previous degree: Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a minor in History, SFU
Work Experience:  Worked at Indigenous Services Canada. Started as a co-op student during my undergrad, and was bridged in after graduation. Also volunteered with Amnesty International's Vancouver branch.
Areas of Policy Interest: Foreign Policy and its intersection with human rights; Immigration Policy, Social Policy.