Erin Dessau

Alumnus - Class of 2016

professional headshot of alumnus Erin Dessau
Current position: Senior Research Advisor for Safety Policy and Education Branch, Ministry of Transportation
Co-op position: Research Assistant, Ontario Health Study
Academic Background: Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University

Why did you choose Waterloo’s Master of Public Service program?

After completing my degree in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour I knew two things for certain.  I loved psychology and I did not enjoy working in a lab.  This led me to pursue a career where I could take my passion for child development and mental health, and make a difference.  I knew the MPS program would give me the tools I needed to find a career that allowed me to fulfill this passion.

What have you learned about yourself as a result of the program and your career?

I think the most substantial thing I learned about myself is “you never know until you try”.  Often throughout my academic career I have stayed away from courses and fields of study that I thought I couldn’t do.  MPS forced me to overcome these preconceived notions and challenged me to open myself to new experiences.  Because of the diverse mandatory courses, I was pushed outside my comfort zone and succeeded in areas I could never have imagined.

What are your favourite MPS moments?

My favourite MPS moments were all of our awesome late-night study sessions. Something about eating dinner and studying together really bonded our cohort.  Also, there was nothing like last-minute stress to bring out the light-hearted size of our class!

What advice do you have for someone interested in taking the MPS program?

My advice would be to come in with an open mind, take advantage of all the opportunities available to you, and rely on your cohort and previous cohorts for advice and support!