Alumni Testimonials

Pomme Arros, MPP Graduate 2013

Participating in the MPP program has been the best career decision I’ve made so far.

I currently work for Sustainable Prosperity, a green-economy think tank in Ottawa. We conduct research to inform environmental policy in Canada, and promote the use of market-based instruments as a tool to achieve a more competitive and sustainable economy. As a Research Associate, I participate in a wide range of research tasks including framing and scoping relevant environmental policy issues, analysing the effectiveness of environmental policy tools, communicating our research results, and engaging with stakeholders.

I found the MPP program to be particularly helpful to give me the skills for my current job. Policy analysis, policy problem framing, research methods, and writing (briefs, memos, executive summaries, reports, and slide decks) are skills I use on a daily basis. I have always had a strong interest in environmental policy, but the MPP program was the springboard that I needed to launch my career in this area.

James Cousins, MPP Graduate 2013

My first year in the Ontario Public Service has been eventful. It began with a 9-month contract as a Senior Policy Analyst with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, and ended with a permanent position at the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs (having made a brief stop at the Aboriginal Education Office along the way). My work for all three ministries has focused on governance and jurisdiction where First Nation, Métis, Inuit, and urban Aboriginal peoples are concerned. This work has involved developing policy documents and risk analyses; drafting briefing notes and speaking points for decision-makers; and engaging with Aboriginal partners in the interest of relationship-building, improving outcomes, and pursuing shared goals.

I feel very fortunate to have found a permanent home with Aboriginal Affairs doing a job I love, and I am certain that I would not be here without the MPP program, my Supervisor Doug McArthur, and the co-op experience I had with the BC Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.  Because Canada now looks upon BC as a leader in my field, learning Aboriginal policy in a BC context with knowledgeable Professors and supportive classmates has been of immeasurable value for my professional journey. For that reason, I believe that there is no better place to gain experience, build connections, and prepare for a public policy career in this and many other fields, than SFU’s School of Public Policy.

Jessica Davies, MPP Graduate 2012

After five years of working within the federal government at various student and co-op positions, I decided to venture into the private sector upon my graduation from SFU’s Masters of Public Policy.

With a keen interest in Aboriginal rights and title issues relating to land in the province of British Columbia, I found a position with Communica Public Affairs, an innovative, boutique consulting firm headquartered in Calgary, with a satellite office in Vancouver.  See www.communica.ca

Our firm works with a variety of major resource development projects, primarily in the oil and gas industry. We assist our clients in their stakeholder and Aboriginal engagement, corporate communications and stakeholder information management.

As an Intermediate Advisor for Aboriginal and Stakeholder Engagement, I undertake a wide variety of tasks relating to policy analysis, research and scoping, political analysis, providing recommendations, developing engagement plans, drafting public and Aboriginal consultation strategies and working within the various regulatory processes in BC.

The best thing about my job is that every day is different. One day you may be working on a comprehensive research project on local communities in northern BC, while the next day you may be heading to a government press conference. Working in a small consulting firm exposes you to a wide variety of tasks, opportunities and challenges. I would recommend any MPP student to explore opportunities in the private sector, as the skills you learn within the program also transition well to positions outside of traditional government organizations.

Anthony Hamilton, MPP Graduate 2011

Attending the School of Public Policy was a rewarding experience that has opened doors for me with non-profits, as a consultant, and now as a public servant. I have a great deal of respect and fondness for the School’s supportive staff and I am thankful for their emphasis on skills development. The skills and knowledge that I developed while in the program have prepared me to be a contributing team member and allowed me to take on leadership positions within the organizations that I have worked.

I currently work as a policy analyst in the Land Use Secretariat in Alberta’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. I support the Alberta government’s efforts to coordinate land-use decision-making and establish regional land-use objectives.  I also lead the development of land conservation and stewardship tools, such as conservation offsets. The skills that I developed in the program have allowed me to take advantage of opportunities for advancement and enabled me to become a senior policy analyst within two years of joining the Government of Alberta.


Jasmine Willard, MPP Graduate 2008

After graduating from the School of Public Policy in 2008, the number of doors that have opened for me professionally has exceeded my expectations. The MPP program lays down a strong foundation to be able to explore a number of different career avenues. Since successfully defending my capstone, I have enjoyed a range of opportunities working on high profile files as a Senior Economist in Ottawa at Finance Canada and as a Senior Program Analyst at the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada (TBS). In 2013, I returned to Vancouver to accept a position as a Senior Manager within the BC Provincial Government, working on international trade and investment attraction.  



Carey Doberstein, MPP Graduate 2008

A degree from the School of Public Policy at SFU has exceptional currency to public and private employers and academic institutions alike in Canada, which I have learned first-hand since graduating in 2008. This is a testament to the wide range of skills acquired in the program, the relationships one develops with well-connected faculty, and the professional opportunities embedded within the curriculum.

The reputation of the program is so strong in Ottawa and the provincial capitals that I secured a permanent position in the BC Public Service months before I graduated--this is likewise true for many in my cohort who ended up in Ottawa. I spent a great year and half in Victoria working on local government finance and urban policy in the Ministry of Community Development before deciding to pursue my PhD in Political Science at the University of Toronto. Though I am one of only a few graduates that returned to academia after completing the degree, my entry into a very competitive doctoral program demonstrates the wide-ranging utility of the degree from the School of Public Policy at SFU.

William Kendall, MPP Graduate 2008

After completing the Master’s of Public Policy (MPP) program in May 2008, Will Kendall began his career with the Financial Sector Policy Branch (FSPB) of the Department of Finance Canada just as the global financial crisis began to take shape in the summer of 2008. During his time with FSPB, Will became increasingly active in the development of legislative reforms to the financial sector, including his lead role in the introduction of federal credit union legislation in Budget 2010.

After three years with FSPB, Will was selected to the highly sought-after position of Canada’s Finance Counsellor to the World Trade Organization in September 2011. Working out of the Canadian Mission in Geneva, Switzerland, Will’s current work focuses on multilateral trade issues of interest to both the Departments of Finance and Foreign Affairs and International Trade, including aspects of the ongoing Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations.

Will credits the MPP program with helping him develop many of the skills that have allowed him to achieve a successful and exciting career in the public service. In particular, he credits the MPP with providing the practical knowledge and tools needed to assess and implement complex public policy outcomes, and he strongly encourages potential applicants with an interest in public policy issues to apply to the MPP program at Simon Fraser.

Karen Graham, MPP Graduate 2005

As someone who returned to graduate school partway through my career, I credit the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program at SFU for equipping me with the skills and exposure to take my career to the next level. The breadth of experience of the faculty and their excellent connections to the business, policy and government communities across Canada greatly assisted our first cohort to translate our education into varied and interesting careers.

My MPP degree was instrumental in securing positions in public policy analytical and advisory roles with the Business Council of BC, the United States Consulate (Vancouver), and my present role in energy and environmental policy with Westport Innovations. Throughout, the faculty members have been fantastic mentors, and many of my fellow MPP alumni have proven to be valued advisors, colleagues and great friends. SFU’s MPP program offers a practical, skill-based approach, and provides an excellent foundation for a wide range of careers that touch on public policy.

Tom McCarthy, MPP Graduate 2005

My Masters of Public Policy degree got my career off to a fantastic start, and has kept it moving well beyond my years at SFU.

My co-op position introduced me to Tsawwassen First Nation, a small Treaty First Nation south of Vancouver. It then took me to Ottawa, through a post-graduate internship program – the Accelerated Economist Training Program - where I spent time at Privy Council Office, the Department of Finance, and Treasury Board, learning about the federal government decision-making process. And it ultimately brought me back out to Vancouver and Tsawwassen First Nation.  I’ve been with Tsawwassen First Nation since 2007.  I initially managed a suite of Treaty implementation projects to prepare TFN for the Effective Date of their Treaty, the first modern urban treaty in BC.  Following the Effective Date, I became the Manager of Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs and then Director of Public Services.  Since 2013, I have been the Chief Administrative Officer, responsible for ensuring the implementation of TFN’s strategic priorities.  Since 2012, we have supervised two MPP students for their summer Co-op terms – full circle!

Faculty of the SPP continue to be important mentors to me today, and continue to teach and inspire me. The practical lessons and experience of the instructors was, and continues to be, invaluable. Ultimately, an education is only as valuable as the effort you put into it yourself. But the hallmark of a strong degree program is that it encourages and supports that effort, and challenges you to turn raw effort into learned skills with practical application. If you put the effort into the SPP, the program will make absolutely sure that you thrive, both in school and in your career.