Alumni Reflections


Mahsa Athari   
Graduation Year: 2020
Currently employed as a Policy Analyst, Primary Care Division, Ministry of Health

Coming from a BSc in Health Sciences, the MPP program presented quite the learning curve for me in the best way. The rigorous program, including a partnership with First Nations Health Authority for the BC Priorities Project and a co-op term with Indigenous Services Canada, really allowed me to meld my two disciplines and approach health policy in a more comprehensive way. The diverse cohort and supportive faculty added to the familial culture of the program and gave space for students to nurture their own policy interests. My capstone project on the Healthy Immigrant Effect allowed me to delve deep into a topic of interest and was later selected as a finalist of the IRCC National Essay Challenge, providing an opportunity to share my research with policy makers in the field.

I am grateful to the program for giving me the skills and confidence to work in the public service.

Tabrina Clelland
Graduation Year: 2013
Current Position(s): Senior Planner, Policy Development at TransLink & Political Science Instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

My two years as a student in SFU’s MPP program were enhanced by our cohort of students who became close, and in some cases, life-long friends. Now, years later, we’ve expanded into a fantastic network of supportive and well-connected policy professionals eager to see each other succeed.

In MPP, I gained a set of skills that are absolutely foundational to the work I do everyday. I learned how to approach, define, and deconstruct problems and action a rigorous process to make decisions, weigh trade-offs, and communicate recommendations. This skillset is tangible, actionable, and practical—and completely transferrable to a variety of career choices that require strategic thinking and decision making.

Gregg Johnstone
Graduation Year: 2019
Current position: Researcher/Analyst, Strategic Policy Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada

The SFU MPP program presents an incredible opportunity to learn the fundamentals of policy analysis, providing key building-blocks for understanding both the relevant theories and practical aspects of working in public policy. In the first year, the support provided by both your own cohort and the “second-years” makes the program’s rigorous content that much more engaging, enjoyable, and manageable. Outside the classroom, the “doors” than can open through networking and real-world experience during the Co-op term, Capstone, and BCP/major first-year project have the potential to kick-start your career following completion of the program.

Liam Moran
Graduation Year: 2018
Currently employed in federal public service

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) program and its mandatory co-op work term has opened up career path for me that I could never have imagined before I started the program in 2016. I was fortunate enough to land a co-op position at Transport Canada’s Marine Safety & Security branch in Vancouver and have yet to leave the Department, working there part-time throughout my second year and being brought on full-time upon graduation. I then moved on to work as Policy Analyst in the Coordination & Policy branch working closely with senior management in the region to support major departmental initiatives such as the Oceans Protection Plan and National Trade Corridors Fund. I’ve learned a lot in a field I had little to no experience in before my co-op term. MPP not only gave me the technical skills to work in the public sector, but also confidence in pushing myself forward in my career. Liam currently works at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority as a Government Affairs Coordinator. 

Vanessa Ta
Graduation Year: 2019
Currently employed as a Policy Analyst, Public Health Agency of Canada

I credit the Master of Public Policy program for starting my career in government. The co-op aspect of the program played a large role, as it not only gave me an opportunity to see what a career in government would look like, but also helped me build a network that I later used to gain full-time employment. I completed my co-op with the Public Health Agency of Canada in Ottawa and have continued to stay within the Agency. My network in Ottawa was an asset in connecting with those in the PHAC offices in Vancouver, which I was fortunate to later work part-time at during my final year of the program. These connections ultimately helped me gain my current position at PHAC. With the co-op, I was able to confirm where my policy interests lie and now work on files with the skills I learned from the program.