Patricia Kulaga

Alumnus - Class of 2019

professional headshot of class of 2019 student Patricia Kulaga
Current position: Policy Analyst, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Co-op position: Policy and Programs Assistant/Research Marketing Associate, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Academic background: Honours Specialization International Relations, Minor in French Language and Translation, Western University

Why did you choose Waterloo’s MPS Program?

I choose Waterloo’s MPS program because of the skills I knew I would gain and the co-op experience. MPS teaches valuable skills such as writing briefing notes, presentation skills, and excel training. These are all valuable skills that I was able to apply to my current co-op position.

Tell us about your current co-op position. 

I am currently working as a Policy and Programs Assistant with the Economic Development Policy Branch. Here I have worked heavily on the cannabis file. I’ve examined the new Cannabis Act and looked at how cannabis edibles and beverages will be an economic growth opportunity for the food processing sector. Out of this I have written a report, issues notes, and prepared a slide deck to brief my manager and director on the file. I have also done jurisdictional scans in relation to organics, horticulture, and greenhouse legislation in Canada and abroad.

How did the MPS program, along with your co-op, prepare you for a career in the Public Service?

MPS provided me with the theoretical and technical skills and my co-op gave me real work experience. I find that with any job, they are looking for you to have education and work experience. With my two co-op terms, I was able to gain valuable work experience and transferable skills that I can then take to my next position.

What are you favourite MPS moments?

I think my favourite MPS moment was the Christmas get together. It allowed us all to relax and spend some time together before exams. It also reminds us that we are all an MPS family and we are all working towards the same goals.

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

Something that I learned about myself is that no matter how stressful school can get, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are people surrounding you who have the experience or have the answers to your questions. People in the program are very helpful and encourage you to ask questions if you don’t understand a concept.

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

One of the most interesting experiences I had working in the public service were policy co-op chat series that different managers would put on for us each week. We were able to meet managers from different branches, learn about how they started in the OPS and network. It was very helpful as we got to hear about what different branches do within the ministry and what types of positions are available within those branches.

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

The advice that I would have for someone interested in taking the MPS Program is to prepare for an intense 8 months of course work. It will challenge you and for most part it will be material that is unfamiliar. But know that the professors are there to help you when you don’t understand. Also network with alumni as they have been through this process and can offer substantial advice with regards to courses or the co-op search.