Student - Class of 2019

Professional headshot of class of 2019 student Kirstin Alleyne

Academic background: Joint Honours Bachelor of Social Science in Criminology and Women’s Studies, University of Ottawa
Co-op position: Junior Policy Analyst, Education Branch, Department of Indigenous Services Canada (formerly Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada)

Why did you choose Waterloo’s MPS program?

I had previously worked with a former MPS in the federal public service and saw first-hand the benefits of the program. As someone who had been working for a couple years after university, I was looking for a professional graduate program that would help me develop the specific skills and knowledge I would need in order to continue to advance in my career. In addition, I was looking for a program that could be completed within a reasonable amount of time and offered a decent balance between coursework and co-op experience. From the outside looking in, I could see that MPS was not only an academic program, but also a network and that was something I wanted to be a part of.

Tell us about your current co-op position.

I am currently a Junior Policy Analyst at the Department of Indigenous Services Canada’s Education Branch. In this role, I am working on the implementation phase of First Nations education transformation following a Memorandum to Cabinet co-developed by the department and First Nations partners across Canada. In this role, I contribute to drafting ministerial correspondence to First Nations partners, updating the department’s website about First Nations education transformation, and will also be drafting an info graphic to be published on the website. Lastly, I will contribute to reviewing funding proposals for info-sessions, leadership dialogues, and regional technical discussions regarding the implementation phase of the transformation.

How did the MPS program, including your co-op experiences prepare you for a career?

MPS helped me develop the skills I would need to have a successful public service career. In addition, MPS helped expand my areas of interest. After completing the coursework, I was more confident in my abilities and knowledge and as a result, felt prepared to navigate the public sector.

What are your favourite MPS moments?

My favourite MPS moment was the fall mixer as I found it particularly helpful to meet the MPS alumni and hear their stories about how they navigated the program and how it has helped them in their careers. I also really enjoyed the exposure to former and current public servants who were able to provide guidance and advice. Overall, I felt confident that I had made the right choice to pursue the MPS program.

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

I’ve learned to not doubt myself and to trust that once I put in the effort, things will work out.

What has been your most interesting experience working in the public service?

Given the current government’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, I have had the opportunity to participate on the ground and in the transition from consultation to engagement. This is unchartered territory and it has been extremely interesting and fulfilling to work alongside Indigenous partners and be a part of this transformation.

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

Be prepared to commit yourself; MPS will test you mentally and emotionally however, if you are truly interested in pursuing a career in the public service, MPS is where you will  learn the skills and develop the knowledge to be successful.

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo