Co-op Student Profile: Sukhraaj Shergill

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sukhraaj ShergillSukhraaj ‘Raj’ Shergill is a 5th year Arts and Business Student at the University of Waterloo, and his very first Co-op position in 2014 allowed him to work with the Government of Canada in Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). Fast forward to now and Raj has completed 5 terms at INAC, having a number of different positions including Policy Analyst, Communications Assistant, and as an International Relations Analyst where he was invited to have dinner with the Chilean Ambassador to Canada! Raj’s current Co-op position has him working in Treaties and Aboriginal Government (TAG) as a Negotiations Analyst, a position that works to increase the autonomy of indigenous groups through supporting self-government and solidifying treaties. As Raj is currently wrapping up a Joint Honours in Peace and Conflict Studies and Legal Studies he is more than up to the challenge of these positions. But even with this intense legal work Raj has combined what he has learned through the Peace and Conflict Studies program with what he’s learned in the Legal Studies program.

“Peace and Conflict Studies is so important when it comes to interactions. I can talk to people and pick up on subtle interactions, I’ve learned interpersonal skills, and they really do come through. From what I’ve learned in PACS I know how to work with people and work in a way that ends in a mutually beneficial agreement.”

Sukhraaj ShergillJust one way that Raj puts this learning to practice is through his volunteering. Currently he is in a position that he believes perfectly illustrates the way that Peace and Conflict Studies compliments so many other streams of academics. His main volunteering opportunity is with the Undergraduate Mock Trials (UGMT) that is an opportunity for students to participate in mock trials and develop their skills in preparing a case and acting as a lawyer in mock court. This program bridges the gap of practical legal theory between high school and law school at the University Undergraduate level, and is the first of its kind in Canada. Raj has been a part of the UGMT since it began in 2012 during which time he was a participant, and in the years after was a part of the Executive team. Now Raj acts as President of the Criminal Division that is taking place in 2016. While UGMT definitely appeals to Legal Studies students it is open to students from all programs, and Raj believes that PACS students could especially benefit from it. The skills that are used in UGMT are especially important for students who are looking to go into mediation and conflict resolution, as often those positions will spend time in the legal system.

“The Legal Studies side looks at the debate, but the Peace and Conflict Studies side looks at: here is my goal, now how do I get to it? How do I interact with people in a way that will help me reach it?”

With the deadline for UGMT just around the corner Raj will soon have his hands full as he continues to combine his passions of law and public service. Beyond this, he has the Legal Studies Admissions Test (LSAT) on the brain, with a goal of attending Law School in the future, and hopefully one day working in the public sector of law.

But of course, Raj will not be leaving what he’s gained from Peace and Conflict Studies behind,

“The best part of PACS is that you’re involved in something bigger. And through things like volunteering you can build, not just marketability, but how you can take what you’re learning and actually better things around you. By taking part in things you’re cognizant of the fact that you can make change, and things that society has to change for themselves become things that you can spark.”

Undergraduate Mock Trials LogoApplications to be a part of the Undergraduate Mock Trials are open until September 30th, 2016. More information can be found at their website: or by contacting their email at

Interested students can apply for UGMT’s 2016 Criminal Law Trial Division here: or the Apply to Compete Page on their website!

PACS majors may complete a Co-op program at the University of Waterloo by registering in the Arts and Business Co-op program, or doing a Joint Honours/Double Major with PACS and another discipline that offers Co-op.