Master of Public Service student Stephanie Davis named Arts Co-op Student of the Year

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Arts is thrilled to share that Master of Public Service student Stephanie Davis received this year's Co-op Student of the Year Award.

Stephanie Davis believes that change, advocacy and representation are important words to live by in the world of public service. She completed consecutive co-op terms, in spring and fall 2023, as a Master-level policy co-op Student for the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs Ontario (IAO). 

“I wanted to bring my perspectives and my lived experiences to the table,” Stephanie said. “As a student with a disability, it's important that there are people like me in public service making decisions because it reflects different populations.” 

In her first month as part of a small team at IAO, Davis worked on various major files. She learned about the impact Indigenous Provincial Territorial Organizations make every day.  

“As someone who took Indigenous studies courses in my undergrad, including theoretical courses on Indigenous law, it was wonderful to bridge that into a professional environment and work in a job where my academic knowledge matched up exactly to the job requirements and what I needed to do,” Stephanie said.  

During her co-op work term, she worked with other ministries ─ including the Strategic Planning and Economic Policy Branch ─ to collaborate on a new food security program. Her work helped to address the staggering funding concerns in Indigenous food programing.  

“Walking the path of Truth and Reconciliation is important to me, it's something I try to do in my everyday life,” Stephanie said. “Being able to take that into a professional environment was a big personal goal and it felt like a great responsibility that I was privileged to be able to take on.” 

The care Stephanie put into creating an inclusive environment also allowed her to impact IAO from an internal standpoint. For example, she had the opportunity to instill workplace practices that promote inclusivity and access for persons with disabilities. She also provided insight to first-year students about the co-op process and supported her manager in hiring a new co-op student. 

Learn more about Davis’s story

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