Whitney Philippi

Alumnus - Class of 2015

Current position: Policy and Issues Analyst, Capital Policy and Programs Branch, Ministry of Education
Co-op experience: Junior Policy Analyst, ON Ministry of Education
Academic background: English, Trent University

Why did you choose Waterloo's Master of Public Service Program?

I chose the MPS program because it was the only of its kind.  The unique focus of the MPS program on the public service provides students with knowledge of the policy and political side of government. I was also attracted to the program because of the exceptional opportunities provided through the 8-month co-op term gives student in the program experience unlike any other.   

Why do you want to work in the public service?

My desire to work in the public service stems from a commitment to serving citizens. I see the public service as a noble profession that seeks to improve our society. I want to be a part of the profession so that I can work to improve the everyday lives of Canadians.

What is your dream public service career?

I hope one day to use my experience as public servant and knowledge of public policy to run for election. I believe having a sound foundation in public policy will help me to be a more effective representative in elected office.

What was it like to be a Waterloo MPS student?

The MPS program gives students the opportunity to learn in small classes where you’re encouraged to join in discussions and engaged with both your classmates and professors. The small cohort allows students to get to know each other well and we benefit from having access to a dedicated space just for the MPS program.

What are your favourite MPS moments?

The MPS fall mixer was a fun event where all of the cohorts of the program were able to meet and mingle. It was a great opportunity to network over a glass of wine and interact with other students who have gone through the program and co-op. The 2015 cohort also took to the streets of Toronto after to laugh and enjoy a night on the town.

What did you learn about yourself?

For me, I wasn’t sure how well I’d adjust to the classroom after being out of school for five years. It was a huge learning experience for me but one that has been so worth it. The program has been fun, informative and has set us up well to head into our co-op placements. I’ve been challenged in coursework through the finance courses and taking the French option, teaching me that I can do things that I thought were beyond my skill set. I’ve also learned that facing challenges with positivity and staying dedicated can lead to great results. 

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in the program?

The best piece of advice I can give is for prospective students to come check out the program space and talk to the students who are in the program. It’s a friendly environment and you are able to get a much clearer idea of what the program is about when you see it. The program is quite different from many others and getting to talk directly with Sheila (the program coordinator) and the students is the best way to understand what it’s all about. 

What other wisdom do you wish to impart onto others?

The program is multidisciplinary so it can be daunting to students who didn’t study a wide variety of subjects in their undergraduate degree but try not to worry about that. The professors structure the courses so they are accessible for students from diverse backgrounds. The environment encourages students to ask questions and engage in discussions in a way which encourages success for every student in the class. Finally, try to maximize on the time spent in class by networking with your peers and learning from their experiences, it’s a great tight knit community to belong to.  

Whitney headshot