Katie graduated from Waterloo in 2011, majoring in political science within the Arts and Business program. On the Arts and Business side, Katie also completed a specialization in international trade. She participated in Waterloo’s co-op program, where she was able to gain a total of 24 months of work experience over the course of my degree. Her work terms included doing marketing & communications for Waterloo’s School of Accounting and Finance, communications for a federal government department, and 8 months as a research assistant at the National University of Singapore. She also took a year during her degree to study Mandarin at the Beijing Normal University in China.
Katie is currently an International Initiatives Officer in the Government of Alberta’s ministry of agriculture. In her role in their International Relations and Marketing branch, she works on projects to help Alberta agriculture and food companies expand their exports into East Asia. This includes market development activities – like helping organize groups of companies going to trade shows in the market, or groups of buyers coming from the market to visit Alberta – as well as government relations and advocacy activities.
When Katie finished her degree at Waterloo, she knew grad school was in the future, but wanted to take some time off to work first. She spent a year working at the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, in their Parliamentary Information and Research Service (PIRS). PIRS provides research and analysis to Members of Parliament, Senators, as well as parliamentary committees and associations. The experience was fantastic – “I got to see Canadian politics first hand, and work on a diverse array of projects focused on international trade, international affairs and government finance. One of the highlights, for example, was helping prepare briefing materials for the House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights during a study on the changing human rights situation in Myanmar.”
After Katie’s year in Ottawa, she headed west to do a Masters in political science at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. There, she focused her courses mainly on international relations, including international security and international political economy. As much as possible, she also tailored her courses and papers to focus on Asia, and, in somewhat of a continuation of the interesting things she’d encountered working in parliament, wrote her thesis on Myanmar and Southeast Asian security theories.
“Academically, I think Waterloo’s political science degree helped prepare me for work by really strengthening my writing, research and problem solving skills, in addition to giving me a strong foundation of knowledge in international affairs and government relations. While the international situation, current events and the global economy might change, for example, having the ability to analyze and conduct research related to a wide range of issues has prepared me to succeed in a variety of settings and despite any changes taking place in the world. In addition, the work experience during my co-op terms gave me professional skills that I would not otherwise have gained, and let me try out different career paths without committing to one. Perhaps most importantly to me, at Waterloo I also had access to a range of opportunities for both international work and study – these made my degree extremely enriching, have given me a strong base of knowledge in my current job, and have prepared me for the global and international-focused career that I hope to have.”
Katie obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Arts and Business and Political Science from the University of Waterloo in 2011.