"I was drawn to SFU’s Master of Public Policy because I liked the practical components of the program, which aim to equip students with the tools and real-world experience they need to succeed in the policy world."

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Student Profile: Kevin Hemmat

March 18, 2022
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Public Policy master's student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

My name is Kevin Hemmat, and I’m from West Vancouver, British Columbia. I hold a BA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, with a focus in Canadian and comparative politics. My work experience includes positions in government and politics, including as an election field manager and campaign staffer. Since 2019, I've worked as the Director of Communications for the Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country. I also lead our Constituency Youth Council, which aims to give young people a voice in government and better engage youth in Canada's political process. Outside of being a politics and news-junkie, I like to hike and run. There are a lot of great hikes where I live on the North Shore, and even more in the Sea to Sky Corridor that I've had the opportunity to explore.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

Through my job, I've had the opportunity to engage in some areas of policy development, which then prompted an interest in public policy as a career. Therefore, for me the decision to pursue a public policy degree was a logical next step. I was drawn to SFU’s Master of Public Policy because I liked the practical components of the program, which aim to equip students with the tools and real-world experience they need to succeed in the policy world. As I look at my future career goals, I'm very interested in finding policy solutions to improve civic engagement in our political process, especially among young people. As well, I would like to work in government to tackle the threats that misinformation and disinformation pose to our political discourse, governance, and politics more generally. Democracy is only as strong as the people who participate and defend it, and I would like, through public policy, to be part of that defence.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

SFU’s Master of Public Policy provides students with the knowledge, tools, and practical experience to identify policy problems, research and analyze information, and come up with policy solutions. This process involves looking at policy issues from different societal facets so that solutions can be formulated based on the best possible evidence. Public policy deals largely with issues of public concern and in the realm of government but can also address policy development matters within many types of organizations. The MPP program provides foundational courses in politics, economics, and research methods, a co-op placement to put your skills to use in the real-world, and culminates in a capstone project at the end of the program.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I’m really enjoying the practical application of a lot of the material I’m learning. It has also helped me better understand my current work in government. Our cohort has also been awesome, and I’m looking forward to more social and networking opportunities in the future.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

Aside from the graduate fellowships I’ve received from SFU over the last two semesters, I have not been the recipient of previous awards. The fellowship has been a great help to alleviate the financial burden of pursuing a graduate degree. I had previously even considered not applying for grad school due to cost considerations, so this has been a great help.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?

The SFU MPP program is an excellent way to gain the skills and knowledge you need to pursue a job in policy development and the civil service. It can certainly be very challenging at times, but it has been a worthwhile endeavour.

 

Contact : kevin_hemmat@sfu.ca

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