Jordan Hughes

Alumnus - Class of 2016

Current Position: Project Evaluator, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change 
Co-op Position: Assistant Project Officer, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change 
Academic Background: Criminal Justice & Public Policy, University of Guelph

Why did you choose Waterloo’s MPS program?

I chose the MPS program because it offered practical and professional development that would help bridge me into the workforce from my undergraduate degree. The program offered a variety of disciplines and skills that are transferable to a wide range of job opportunities and would be used throughout the life span of my professional career. I chose this program over other public policy programs because it offered the two-term co-op placement that is important for gaining meaningful work experience and achieving your desired career goals. 

Tell us about your current position working at the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

For my co-op position, I was hired by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) as an Assistant Project Officer in the Environmental Assessment Services Branch. My Branch administers the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (EAA), dealing with Individual Environmental Assessments (EA’s) and Streamlined or Class EA’s for a variety of environmental projects including waste management facilities, electricity projects, transportation infrastructure, and projects concerning provincial land. My general responsibilities include reviewing draft and formal EAA related documents to determine if EA requirements have been met, as well as processing public concerns through Part II Order Requests for Class EA’s. I have also gained valuable experience dealing with public comments and inquiries having the circulating role of Duty Officer for the Branch.  

I am very fortunate to have had this opportunity as it not only fulfilled my interests in environmental science, but it also gave me transferable skills in applying legal legislation to public operations and services.  This opportunity has given me an abundance of exposure to a variety of careers within the MOECC and the OPS such as project officers, legal services, engineering services, administrative services, media communications, and issues management.

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

What I have learned about myself is that I can be an efficient multi-tasker! The program had so many opportunities I wanted to take advantage of and I was surprised I was able to handle all the responsibilities I signed myself up for. In a Master’s Degree there is a heavy workload that I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle, but that’s what the program is about. The program will push you so that you realize you CAN handle massive amounts of work and responsibility. In the end it is a very rewarding feeling to know that you CAN DO IT!

What are your favourite MPS moments?

I think the best moments from the MPS program primarily come from the unique space designated for the program. Since the program has its own space and is used for all classes and events, it creates a close cohort experience that is unique and not generally apparent in undergraduate programs. Having the close space to develop strong friendships with other classmates not only creates close cohorts but builds a solid base of colleagues that can help you in the future.

Another favourite moment of mine with the MPS program is the mixers that they host each year allowing you to see the whole MPS community. As you can imagine, each year the mixers get larger and larger and it is a great way to network with other students that have started their careers. Seeing the whole MPS community in its entirety makes you proud to be a part of such a great and unique program!

My final favourite moment in the MPS program was the Dodgeball team that was created. Since the program offers a close community to students, it is easy to organize a range of sports or extra circular activities. Dodgeball was a fun time to exercise and take a break from work with fellow MPS students!

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

First, my advice is that if you’re looking for a program that will help you bridge the gap between post-secondary education and the job force; then the MPS professional program is your best choice. Employment for recent graduates is becoming more and more difficult and the MPS program will give you an advantage in terms of skills related to the public service and professional experience.

My second piece of advice is to utilize the opportunity while it’s available! The MPS program goes by very quickly so always push yourself to be involved and take advantage of all the opportunities the program has to offer, from career seminars to hitting the bar & grill with your fellow students, you will not regret spending the extra time! I also suggest utilizing the MPS program opportunity and taking advantage of the help and supports that are offered to tackle complex research questions or issues that interest you. The professors are excellent and are always there to help so take advantage of this to further your research skills and portfolio.