My first position following graduation (Professional Skills Communications and Events Specialist) and my current role (Graduate Student Experience Specialist) may seem an unconventional career trajectory following a Master of Arts in Political Science; however, the skills and experiences provided to me during my MA were crucial in both securing and succeeding in these rewarding and intellectually engaging positions.
Part way through my first term, my MA cohort was informed of our responsibility to organize the annual Political Science Graduate Student Conference and publish the next copy of the graduate student journal, Inquiry & Insight. A conference committee was formed, and together we were responsible for all aspects of the conference – from selecting presenters and finding a keynote speaker to booking rooms and ordering catering! While I did not think much of this opportunity at the time, my current manager indicated that my involvement on this conference committee – and having experience organizing this event – played a significant role in selecting me for an interview, and the job!
My TA roles were also significant in preparing me for my current position. As a TA, I learned how to facilitate engaging conversations (with help from workshops offered to graduate students from the Centre for Teaching Excellence!), gained skills in giving feedback and had opportunities to provide advice and mentorship to undergraduate students. These opportunities prepared me to supervisor and mentor a co-op student, deliver workshops, and provide constructive feedback to co-workers on collaborative projects.
Finally, while the topic of my research has no direct links to the work I am now doing, I still conduct literature reviews, review data, and perform qualitative analysis of survey responses to ensure that the work that I am doing reflects best practices from the research. The experience conducting a Master’s Research Project set me up to be successful in these projects.
I am thrilled with where my MA in Political Science has taken me so far and am excited to see what other career opportunities unfold as a result of the skills and experiences obtained throughout my degree!
Sarah obtained a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Waterloo in 2017.