Alumnus - Class of 2018

professional headshot of class of 2018 alumnus Rachel High

Current position: Policy Specialist (Strategic Policy & Government Relations), Halton Region 
Co-op position: Health Promotion Assistant, Region of Peel
Academic background: Honours Double Major in Political Science & Sociology, McMaster University

Why did you choose Waterloo’s MPS program?

When I made the choice to go to grad school, I knew I wanted it to cater to my goal of working for the public service. What I found to be so great about the MPS program is that it not only offered a broad range of courses that would give me a wide range of skills, but that it also had an 8 month co-op portion. The experience of working for the government for 8 months is invaluable and really sets us apart to employers.

Tell us about your current co-op position.

I am currently working as a Health Promotion Assistant at Peel Public Health. When I began the program, I knew I had a keen interest in local level government. I also had a strong interest in health policy, so I am beyond elated to be spending my co-op work terms with the Region. I am part of the Workplace Health Team, and one thing I support is the Region’s Healthy Workplace – Health Promotion for Employee Wellness program which is an internal focus on the health status of employees. I am part of an incredibly supportive team, where I am paired up with a mentor to help guide me along the way. A fun fact is that I am part of the same division as Julia Ali, an MPS alumnus, so I have been able to solidify a great relationship with her.

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

What I enjoy the most about working for the Region of Peel is that they truly lead my example.  They model healthy workplaces and are strong advocates for health and well-being. I have been able to incorporate Walkstation desks, walking meetings, and wellness activities into my daily routine.

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

The MPS program taught me that I am capable of accomplishing so much more than I thought possible. If you were to ask me how confident I was with my economics skills prior to the start of the program, my reply would have been “not very”. This program gave me an opportunity to foster a skill-set I never had the opportunity to use before, and really showed me that you can learn something new – and excel at it. 

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

Remember to enjoy each moment. This program is an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and gain so many new skills and experiences. Each day, good or bad, is a learning lesson to become a better person whether it is socially, academically, or professionally. The MPS program is much like a roller-coaster; it has its ups and downs, as well as twists and turns. Take each of those moments as a time for reflection and self-improvement, no better time to focus on yourself than the present!

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