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Student Profile: Ashley Muchka
School of Public Policy Master's student in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
I graduated from SFU in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a minor in Political Science. During my undergrad, I participated in the Co-op program and began working in the federal government upon graduating. I returned to SFU in 2019 to pursue my Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) and am currently working in a policy position based out of Ottawa. I am primarily interested in foreign affairs, immigration policy, and transitional justice. Since joining the MPP program, I have become more interested in policies that advocate for human rights for marginalized groups, as well as policies that serve to empower women in the labour force.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
The School of Public Policy is reputable, measuring up to other top policy schools in Canada. I heard outstanding reviews from friends who graduated from the program and consequently acquired a wealth of knowledge in policy development. I was looking for both a challenging and rewarding graduate experience, and I was confident SFU would deliver. I also love living in Vancouver and everything it has to offer – the outdoors, the vibrant city life, the food – so it’s definitely an added benefit.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.
My research is based on labour trafficking of migrant workers who enter the country legally but are later coerced into exploitative conditions. The scope of my research explores the effectiveness of provisions in legislation that provide protection to those with precarious status in Canada. I’m passionate about this policy problem as it is lacking significant attention in research and policy development. My ultimate goal is to shed light on a problem that is often left out of the human trafficking narrative. The objective of my research is to empower those who are not involved in decision-making and therefore work towards the eradication of the utmost of heinous crimes.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I appreciate how applicable the MPP program has been for my career. It is fulfilling to know my research and knowledge of a complex issue can be transferred to my area of work, and something that I can continuously apply later in my career. Ideally, my long-term goal would be to specialize on the topic of human trafficking and continue to work towards change and progress. SFU has provided a great platform for me to initiate that.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?
I was awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) award. This has provided me an opportunity to fully immerse myself in my research and direct all my energy into my studies.
DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM FOR THOSE SEARCHING.
I had a lot of reservations about returning to school as I knew that it wasn’t without its risks. Now that I am nearing the end of my program, I am confident it was the right decision for me. Prior to returning to school, I was feeling stagnant in my career, and I think a lot of people can relate to this feeling. The School of Public Policy has both enabled me to leverage my career development and guide me down a path that I am excited and passionate about.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?
I am very thankful to the School of Public Policy for their support and guidance, and for showing me it is never too late to take control of your future.