MPP Alumni Profiles

Here are profiles from some of our alumni sharing details about their backgrounds and interests and how their career paths have developed:

Francisco Gallegos-Lemos

Before starting the MPP program in 2010, Francisco studied a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Communication. Although he'd always been fascinated by politics, during his bachelor degree he felt more interested on the impact that politics has in the daily life of people. For that reason, he started looking for a master degree that would allow him to learn about how policy is made and implemented outside of the books and theory. The MPP program at SFU had all the elements Francisco was looking for in a MA, in particular, the Co-op component. He decided to enroll and, as of now, it has been one of the best decision he made in terms of academic and professional career.

The program allowed the chance to hone skills in research, analysis and implementation of public policy. Although it seemed challenging at the beginning, the faculty members at the School helped us understand our role as future policy makers. One of the best things the program offers is the flexibility to adapt the knowledge you receive to your area of interest. In Francisco's case, he always wanted to work in the areas of education and international development. For that reason, and with the support of the School, he secured an international Co-op term and took courses outside of the MPP courses. These experiences were key in solidifying his academic passion and helped build his career.

Francisco has been able to put into practice what he learned almost every day at work. As a program manager in the natural resources sector, he is responsible to develop and implement projects, in collaboration with government officials and employees, faculty members, researchers, consultants and students. The MPP program prepared him with both the practical and critical skills that are needed in a complex sector where you need to understand the sometimes conflicting needs and requirements of multiple stakeholders.

Amy Morris

After completing an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Concordia University, Amy worked as an auditor, providing feedback to factories on labour and safety standards across Canada. This, coupled with an interest in assisting animals coming from hoarding and breeder mill situations, led her to consider a path in policy. By enrolling in the MPP program, Amy was able to pursue her passion for animal welfare with an academic, solutions-based focus. From animal control services to registration and inspection programs, Amy geared all of her coursework towards this interest in animal issues.

Recognizing that co-op opportunities involving policy for animals would be limited, Amy reached out to the BC SPCA to ask if a co-op might be possible. After several conversations working out the details of the work, Amy was offered a position for the summer. At the end of the co-op term, the BC SPCA offered Amy a full-time position, remaining part-time as she finished her Master’s program.

After graduating in 2013, Amy has continued to grow in her career. Learning that many individuals who work in animal welfare have an animal science background, Amy offers the BC SPCA a unique perspective as to the decision-making considerations that go in to making policy decisions. In her work as the Manager, Policy and Companion Animals, Amy has the opportunity to produce reports for government as a stakeholder on a number of policy issues, include issues faced by wild and farm animals in addition to pets. Amy works on policy issues at the municipal, regional district, provincial and federal level. She regularly uses skills learned in qualitative, quantitative and policy classes to effectively analyse data to make decisions around program design and implementation. Amy is dedicated to working on projects where animal welfare and reconciliation overlap, requiring both an in-depth understanding of policy and culture.

Amy is now the Executive Director, Vancouver Humane Society.

Nathan Murray

Nathan entered the MPP program directly after completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics at SFU.

The MPP program prepared Nathan to land his first co-op position with Natural Resources Canada in Ottawa, where he helped with policy research and economic modeling related to the transportation sector. The highlight of his co-op experience was when he worked with colleagues to develop an econometric model to evaluate an energy efficiency program. This position led directly to another opportunity to continue to work for Natural Resources Canada while completing his capstone and remaining coursework.

After graduating in 2017, Nathan accepted a position in a policy analyst development program at the Government of British Columbia. Nathan started with a position in the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch at the Ministry of Attorney General, where he was involved in policy research on topics like anti-money laundering, responsible gaming, and online gaming. This position required writing briefing notes and research summaries for senior executives in the Ministry, including the Attorney General. He relied on skills developed in the MPP program, (including material from the first semester) for this work.

Nathan moved to Ottawa to begin his current position with the Canadian Forest Service at Natural Resources Canada. He now works on topics like trade, forecasting, commodity markets, economic geography, and other issues that impact the forest sector. Part of his role is to summarize quantitative data analysis to inform decision-makers about the potential socioeconomic impacts of natural resource policy.

Nathan credits the MPP program with providing the foundational skills to be an effective analyst. The structure of the program allows each student to build on their skills and experiences and to engage with policy issues from different perspectives. The emphasis on clear, succinct writing on complex topics has been especially helpful for Nathan’s work.

Angela Pati

Angela joined the MPP program in 2014 after completing a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Psychology at Simon Fraser University. Her academic and non-profit endeavours, particularly those related to diverse communities and social cohesion, drew her to public policy.

In her first year of the program, Angela’s British Columbia (BC) Priorities group project examined the challenges temporary foreign workers may have with social cohesion and belonging. This project sparked her interest in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and, consequently, she wrote her capstone on employment standards challenges that temporary foreign workers experience when working in BC.

Following graduation, Angela moved to Ottawa to pursue her career with the federal government. She worked with Transport Canada for two years in the Crown corporation directorate, where she engaged in horizontal policy, developed proposals for new and ongoing initiatives, and participated in the legislative review of the Pilotage Act. In 2019, Angela joined Employment and Social Development Canada, where she currently works on the Integrity Policy team in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program directorate.

The MPP program has played a significant role in supporting Angela’s work and growth as a policy analyst. In addition to building her research, analysis, and writing skills, the program has equipped her with the tools necessary to tackle a broad range policy issues in a dynamic and evolving political, economic, socio-cultural, environmental and technological landscape.

Jackie Pichette

The MPP program gave Jackie the tools to evaluate solutions to complex problems, and its co-op was a chance to put those tools to use. During her co-op with the Canadian International Development Agency, Jackie helped develop frameworks for addressing some of the interconnected issues affecting populations in developing countries. She then focussed her capstone research on informing CIDA’s women’s economic empowerment agenda.

After graduating in 2012, Jackie was part of a small team that launched SFU’s Public Square initiative, designed to foster community dialogue about policy issues – everything from social isolation to provincial economic uncertainty.

Drawing on the skills developed through her MPP and community engagement experience at SFU, in 2013 Jackie took on a role with a small consultancy serving Indigenous clients. While there, she supported strategic planning and evidence-based decision making in First Nations communities across Canada. She worked with several communities to develop and implement employment-focussed plans for adult upskilling and reskilling in remote areas, and in the process gained interest and expertise in the area of education and training.

In 2016, Jackie joined the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. HEQCO is an arms-length agency of the Ontario Government that informs the continued improvement of Ontario’s postsecondary education system through research, evaluation and policy advice. As a Manager and Senior Researcher at HEQCO, Jackie conducts research and manages partnerships (with other agencies, colleges or universities for example) to advance solutions to issues such as inequitable access to higher education and the mismatch between employer expectations and graduates’ skills.

Throughout her career, Jackie has relied on the skills she developed during the MPP program. The program taught her how to evaluate and use evidence to improve decision-making, and provided specific knowledge of, for example, statistics, cost-benefit analysis and research methods – together the transferable skills and knowledge gained during the program have positioned Jackie to contribute and advance in both public and private sectors.

Sukhraj Sihota

Sukhraj enrolled in the MPP program at Simon Fraser University after completing her Bachelor of Arts, also at SFU. After her first year of the program, Sukhraj completed her co-op term at SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team, working on policy issues related to natural capital and the impacts of climate change in the Columbia River Basin. Her co-op experience led her to focus her MPP capstone on how to incorporate ecosystem goods and services into the Canada-U.S. Columbia River Treaty.

After graduation, Sukhraj moved to Ottawa to participate in the federal government’s Policy Analyst Recruitment Development Program (PARDP) at Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Over the course of the two-year program, she completed placements working in various NRCan sectors such as the Strategic Policy and Results Sector, the Canadian Forest Service, and the Deputy Minister’s Canada-U.S. Task Team.

Following PARDP, Sukhraj moved back to Vancouver to join the Policy and Economic Analysis Branch at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)working on international policy, including the successful renegotiation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Sukhraj is currently a Senior Policy Advisor at DFO, providing policy advice and support on the development of domestic and international policy positions.

Sukhraj’s experience in the MPP program provided her with a broad skillset in strategic policy analysis and an understanding of the economic implications involved complex policy decisions. The program also provided Sukhraj with the opportunity to strengthen her communication and leadership skills through its School of Public Policy Case Competitions and various other academic presentations. Together, the MPP program provided a solid foundation that has equipped Sukhraj to work on a diverse range of policy issues.