Graduates from our Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Diverse career paths – let the alumni tell you about the value of our program

2010s

Munisha Basiram - Program Coordinator

Munisha Basiram

Present Employer: Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
The Year You Graduated: 2017

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

Currently I am a Program Coordinator with the Sport, Recreation and Community Programs Division at the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS). As a member of the Community Programs Unit , our team is responsible for the grant administration and program delivery of the Ontario After School (ASP) Program and the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund (OSRCF). On a regular basis, I provide analysis of the participation and financial reports of our stakeholders, examine any inconsistencies and flag concerns for management. My written communication skills have been honed through extensive use of the Microsoft Office suite of programs, providing briefing and approval notes, as well as establishing spreadsheets of consolidated funding reports for the various programs our unit is responsible for.

As Program Coordinator, I have been able to work on a variety of projects that span the areas of policy analysis and program evaluation. Some examples of my work include the following:

• The Equity Factor Rubric to assess the unique costs stakeholders in Ontario face in delivering the Ontario After School Program, which would feed into a new funding formula. For this project I conducted research of public and internal reports to extract key information, including increased cost of food and living in northern Ontario. This new rubric was modeled with all existing ASP recipients and I provided my findings into a briefing note indicating the impact it would have on a new funding formula with organizations.
• Development of a Year-End Survey for grant recipients to provide the ministry with feedback on the effectiveness of the Ontario After School Program. A final report was provided, which included findings and recommended improvements to assist in the development and implementation of updated programs, procedures and guidelines.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

I graduated from the Bachelor of Public Administration with a specialization in Management in June 2017. During my undergraduate degree, I applied through the Summer Employment Opportunities (SEO) Program to be a summer student intern with the Ontario Public Service. This landed me in the MTCS, and specifically with Community Programs. At the end of my second term as a summer student, I applied and was successful for the Program Officer position in the Culture Division within the ministry. This opportunity provided me with hands-on experience working with unique stakeholders outside the sport and recreation environment. Since then, I have taken on a contract position as program coordinator with Community Programs again, which began in March, 2018.

The transferrable skills I learned at York were critical to my success: oral, written and communication skills are highly valued throughout the Ontario Public Service, and the ability to convey complex problems succinctly is very important. As well, the ability to work in a team setting helped me understand leadership styles, delegating important tasks and working towards a common goal.

Over the past year, I have been extremely fortunate to have had a number of different positions since graduation. The opportunities I have had would not have been possible without the education I received at York University.

I owe the successes of my professional and personal development to the following factors about the School of Public Policy and Administration:

• Theoretical foundation and interesting courses. Subjects such as Canadian Government, Public Law, Public Administration and Advanced Public Policy Analysis allowed me to develop a foundation for strong writing and research skills. These have proven necessary in my current work environment.
• Tangible work relevant skills taught in courses such as Professional Skills and Communication, Project Management, Statistics and Accounting.
• Experiential learning courses that allow you to gain real life work experience outside the classroom. In my fourth year, I participated in the Practicum, and served one day a week for two semesters at the York Region Rapid Transit office. I was exposed to the implementation of large scale infrastructure projects and witnessed the role public administration plays to ensure negotiations are done in a formal yet respectful way.
• Career management focus. From weekly newsletters that inform you about job postings and upcoming conferences to the annual Summer Jobs and Internships Workshop - all these supports teach students resume and interview tips as well as share information about student employment opportunities. I felt comfortable and prepared enough to apply to the SEO in my 2nd year after an information session I attended hosted by graduates of the program.
• Opportunities to participate in student government. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer with the Public Policy and Administration Student Association (PPASA) for 4 years, in the roles of Director of Recruitment, Vice-President and President. Our events brought students together to network and help each other gain work relevant skills.
• Mentoring opportunities with alumni of the program who share industry insights and support your career development.
• Diversity in perspectives from students of different ages and work experience backgrounds. Throughout my program, I worked with peers who provided thought-provoking new ideas and perspectives. Being exposed to different ways of thinking during class discussions helped me to think more broadly about the particular situation and made my learning more practical.
• Opportunities to attend public events and meet political influencers. Through events like the annual Networking Event and Queen's Park Reception and Breakfast we have had the opportunity to meet influential leaders such as the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell; Ontario’s Secretary of the Cabinet, Steve Orsini and the Former Premier of Ontario, Bob Rae.

I thoroughly enjoy my current role and am excited about whatever opportunities are next. All of this would not have been possible without York University and the School of Public Policy and Administration, and for that I am grateful.

Melissa Calanza - Branch Coordinator

Picture of Melissa Calanza

Present Employer: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
The Year You Graduated: 2016

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

Since August 2016, I have been fortunate enough to work for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in the Digital Health Solutions and Innovation Branch as the Branch Coordinator. I am part of the Project Management Team, but my work expands over the entire Branch providing administrative, technical and HR support. On a daily basis I take care of the following:

1. Purchasing and procuring supplies and resources for the Branch;
2. Tracking and updating Health Services Cluster packages;
3. Coordinating FTE and FFS interviews; creating evaluators' interview binders;
4. Scheduling meetings, booking boardrooms, polycoms and projectors for different levels of management;
5. Onboarding new hires, processing HR paperwork and facilitating a welcoming orientation for new co-op students.

The kind of work that I do requires a lot of multi-tasking and strong communication and organizational skills. The work requires professional conduct and maintaining confidentiality, but at the end of the day I do enjoy my job and can say that I have positive working relationships with my co-workers. One thing in government, and I'm sure in a lot of other jobs as well, is that you learn on the go. So, If I were to give one key advice to prospective students, it would be never to be afraid to ask questions!

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration and minored in International Development Studies. I would consider myself a well-versed individual with background knowledge in both the public and not-for-profit sector and this is all thanks to my studies. My major in Public Administration exposed me to a number of different subjects that have helped me gain the experience and transferable skills needed for my current position. I have become almost like a "Jill of all trades" since taking courses in business, economics, HR, policy and public administration to name a few. In my final year of my undergrad I took the Practicum placement which led me to working for the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services in the Customer Care Division of Service Ontario. So all things considered, my studies at York have challenged me, encouraged me to critically think, but most importantly, have paved the path for me to new and greater opportunities.

Farah Shamoun - Graduate Student / Graduate Assistant

Present Employer: Ryerson University
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
Year Graduated: 2016

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

I am currently a Graduate Student at Ryerson University, completing my Master of the Arts in Public Policy and Administration. I am also currently employed by Ryerson University as a Graduate Assistant. My position involves grading the tests, assignments, and exams of students in an upper level undergraduate course that examines the impact of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the criminal justice system in Canada.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

Obtaining my Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) at York University has helped me pursue graduate studies in numerous ways. Firstly, the interesting courses offered by the program and knowledgeable professors at the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) allowed me to feel excited to go to class and learn. This excitement translated into achieving the competitive grades that I needed to be admitted into my graduate program at Ryerson. Secondly, the knowledge that I gained through my undergraduate studies has helped me excel in my graduate studies because the program equipped me with a strong foundation in public administration, and my specialization in the Law, Justice and Public Policy Stream allowed me to also gain extensive knowledge in these relevant areas that impact public administration. Lastly, throughout my undergraduate degree, I was heavily involved in the program’s student club, the Public Policy and Administration Student Association (PPASA). Serving as an executive member of the Association helped me to build connections with my peers and professors, and learn more about a career in the public service. The events hosted by the Association and SPPA seek to connect you with future employers, an opportunity that isn’t often granted by other programs.

Kevin Baksh - Administrative Assistant

Kevin Baksh profile picture
Present Employer: Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
Year Graduated: 2015

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?
I perform a variety of administrative functions in my role with emphasis both on efficiency and accuracy.
Some activities include:
• Drafting and editing various forms of documents including slide decks, agendas, process flow charts, spreadsheets, and correspondences.
• Drafting Grant Fund Agreements for the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund.
• Scheduling appointments and meetings for Branch staff.
• Supporting management in the recruitment process, which includes assisting with the preparation of scoring sheets and assignments for interviews.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

The Specialized Honours Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) program, Management stream, at the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) provided me with an in depth understanding of both the broader context and intricate workings of governance while stressing the importance of accountability and ethics. With this understanding at hand, it was rather seamless for me to transition from school to public service work as I was able to market myself effectively. Further, the practical learning experiences offered through the BPA curriculum exposed me to the 'nomenclature of governance' which has enabled me to be an effective communicator in the workplace from the get go leading to positive outcomes.

Tiago De Oliveira - Payroll Transformation Project Lead

Picture of Tiago De OliveiraPresent Employer: City of Toronto
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
The Year You Graduated: 2014

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

In my current role I am the intermediary between the nine divisions my Unit supports and Corporate Services (Human Resources, Payroll, IT) in payroll, HR, and administrative matters. My main goal is to ensure that the nine divisions we support are successfully and comfortably transitioned through the City's Enterprise Change Management Iniative to transform, modernize and innovate current processes in payroll, HR and administration.

We document all current 'as-is' processes and propose future 'to-be' processes. Once this is completed, we train all staff affected and provide them with necessary information to establish roles and responsibilities. We then perform pilot projects and test the systems to ensure that end users are satisfied with the product while eliminating possible audit risks in areas of payroll, labour relations, employment legislation and HR best practices. Once all of the steps are completed, we evaluate the project to develop "lessons learned" for the next project.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

The Bachelor of Public Administration is a multi-disciplinary program that encourages future public servants to tackle issues from a wide range of disciplines. This program prepares you when entering the workforce by giving you the resources and tools to implement government programs and develop policies. I firmly believe that the training received and skills gained helped me advance my career by 10 years.

This program gives students real-life experiences and forces them to think outside the box when solving some of the most difficult cases in public service history. These skills are crucial as the public service continues to innovate and transform the ways they impact service delivery to the public while maintaining high levels of transparency and accountability.

Anisa Vangjeli - Program Analyst

Anisa VangjeliPresent Employer: Department of National Defence
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
Year Graduated: 2014

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

I started my career in the public service as a Strategy Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Labour, where I developed evidence-based research priorities on strategic and emerging issues related to Ontario occupational health and safety. I also provided research knowledge to senior management for the identification and analysis of issues and trends that affect labour research policies.

After deciding to move to Ottawa, I worked for Health Canada as a Policy Analyst; and now in my current role I am working as a Program Analyst for the Department of National Defence. The division I work for is responsible for the development, coordination, and evolution of business management strategies, programs and policies within the Royal Canadian Navy. I provide support and advice on certain business planning activities, program management and performance management, as well championing the change program within our division.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

The Public Administration program has many dedicated professors who teach a variety of courses tailored towards the success of the students. These courses not only provide insightful conceptual and theoretical material, but also entail real life experiences and practices to ensure students are well prepared when advancing their career in the public/private/non-profit sectors. Some of these courses are: Program Evaluation I & II, Advanced Public Policy Analysis, Practicum in Public Administration, Ethics and The Public Service: Integrity and Democracy, etc.

This unique combination of academic and hands-on experience was essential for furthering my career. Through the Practicum in Public Administration, I was given the opportunity to work with the Ontario Ministry of Labour, first as a student, and then hired as a Strategy Specialist. I continued to advance my academic career by pursuing a Master’s degree at Carleton University, and now working for the federal government. The Public Administration program at York University taught me to challenge myself and aim higher to succeed, while advancing my skills and proficiency in public policy and administration, and providing an enjoyable and valued experience.

Dawid Burzynski - Assistant to Member of Provincial Parliament

Present Employer: Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
Year Graduated: 2013

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

I assist a Member of Provincial Parliament both at the constituency office and the legislature. I assist with legislation, communications, constituent concerns and administrative duties.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

My studies at York helped me further my understanding of both government and politics. The public administration program in unison with a paralegal program I took earlier were great ways to prepare myself for my current job. I found that the courses offered relevant information to my field, furthermore the policy analysis stream courses were extremely useful in dissecting and analyzing current policy proposals that cross my desk.

Judith Oluwatosin Jubril - Graduate Assistant/Graduate Student

Judith Oluwatosin JubrilPresent Job Title: Graduate Assistant/Graduate Student
Present Employer: York University
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
Year Graduated: 2013

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

Currently, I am a graduate student at York University in the Disaster and Emergency Management program. I am working with York University Professor Niru Nirupama as a Graduate Assistant.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

As I strongly believe that helping others is a gratifying experience, not only to those in need but also for myself, and as part of my desire to always make myself accessible towards helping others, I pursued my degree in Public Administration, Specialized Honours in Law, Justice, and Public Policy at York University. With this degree, I believe I became well versed in public policy, administration, and learned how to effectively help members of the community see how they can benefit from various government programs.

This was a great building block for me because I then received a Professional Certificate from York University in Emergency Management. I interned with the City of Brampton's Emergency Management Office, and then went onto work in the Region of Peel's Regional Emergency Management. As I am once again back at York University doing my Masters in Disaster and Emergency Management, I am able to see how the learning, connections, and networking have helped me get where I am today.

Michael Pogorzelski - Briefing Coordinator

Present Employer: Ministry of Health and Long-term Care
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
Year Graduated: 2013

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

My current role at the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care is as a Briefing Coordinator in the Deputy Minister's Office. The position gives me a chance to see the work being done throughout the Ministry, as well as how it relates to the Minister's Office, other Ministries and Cabinet Office. My role involves coordinating briefings for the Deputy and Minister, as well as generally supporting the coordination role the DMO has in policy development.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

The School of Public Policy and Administration not only gave me the foundation I needed to find a job in my field, but gave me the understanding of the public administration system that helped me advance in my career. I was trained in subjects that ended up being relevant to my job by people who understood the industry.

 

Tanya Waugh - Policy and Delivery Advisor

Tanya WaughPresent Employer: Cabinet Office
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
Year Graduated: 2013

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?
I’ve been very fortunate in my career so far to have had opportunities in a variety of areas within the OPS, including stakeholder management, policy analysis and strategic planning. My current position is with the Cabinet Office, Strategy and Results Branch, where I work with internal Cabinet Office partners and ministry partners to ensure decision makers have the most accurate and up to date information on the progress of key government priorities (e.g., Mandate letter commitments, Throne Speech commitments, Budget commitments, etc.).

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

I started working for the OPS weeks before graduating from the Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) program and have had many opportunities that led me to where I am today in no small part because of the theoretical and professional training I received at York University.

My first opportunity in the OPS was as a business analyst for ServiceOntario within the Ministry of Government and Consumers Services, where I worked with federal and provincial partners to discuss and develop ways to make government service delivery in Ontario better. I helped to identify opportunities for collaboration as well as tried to understand and change the status quo.

My second opportunity began weeks before finishing the Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law (MPPAL) program. I accepted a position within ServiceOntario’s Strategic Planning and Policy Branch as a business advisor, where I supported the ministry with delivering its strategic and program objectives through sound evidence-based policy. Six months later, I started my new role as policy advisor within the same branch.

The timing between when I started these opportunities and when I completed my respective degrees at York were no coincidence! Both the BPA and MPPAL program helped me to think critically about policy and social issues; how decisions get made and to understand different perspectives. I frequently draw on my theoretical knowledge in policy research, analysis and critical thinking skills to solve current policy problems.

Most importantly, I have benefited from great faculty members, peer networks and strong practical and theoretical teaching in public administration, policy and law. Now, I hope to pay it forward as a proud York alumna!

Laksh Vig - Government Relations Assistant

Laksh Vig profile picture

Present Employer: York University
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
The Year You Graduated: 2012

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

As York University operates in a highly regulated sector, my primary responsibility is to help execute the university's strategic government relations plan.

This includes:

1) Communicating with federal, provincial, and municipal government officials to emphasize university priorities as they relate to infrastructure, research funding, and public policy;

2) Briefing the President and Chief of Staff on legislative and political developments at all levels of government to assess their impact on institutional interests;

3) Publishing a monthly newsletter for government stakeholders highlighting university events and research activity to position York as a credible partner in addressing public policy issues;

4) Promoting the York University community to government by encouraging students and faculty to apply to various government boards and committees;

5) Ensuring all university lobbying activity is reported and up to date.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

My experience at York was instrumental in helping me get to where I am today. I found the coursework and tutorials to be both engaging and interesting. The Professors also had a lasting impact on me. Hearing about their professional experiences was very valuable and helped me understand the plethora of possibilities with the degree.

Courses that provided a practical component were a fantastic complement as they provided an opportunity to network and learn from professionals in the field in addition to helping me differentiate myself on my resume.

Yana Gravets (Olshtynskaya) - Senior Advisor (Office of the Budget)

Yana GravetsPresent Job Title: Senior Advisor (Office of the Budget)
Present Employer: Regional Municipality of York
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
Year Graduated: 2011

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

In my present role, as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Budget, I am supporting the development of the operating annual and multi-year budgets for the Regional Municipality of York. Currently, the Region's gross operating budget is about $1.9 billion and it continues to grow. I work closely with the senior staff of other departments and provide strategic financial advice to them throughout the budget development process. My work involves, but is not limited to: developing budget guidelines and templates; reviewing and analyzing budget submissions to determine Region-wide impacts; coordinating development of policy products and budget reporting processes; writing and reviewing reports; preparing briefing notes that inform decision making; preparing budget presentations for Senior Management (including presentations to Council); undertaking complex analyses and providing policy advice and recommendations to the Commissioner of Finance.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

York University has provided me with both theoretical and practical knowledge of public administration. The two courses that I found extremely helpful in the BPA program were the Practicum (AP/PPAS 4995 6.0) and the Program Evaluation courses (AP/PPAS 4310 3.0 and 4320 3.0). These courses not only provided an opportunity for practical application of the concepts learned through the first three years of the program, but also broadened my network of contacts.

Shaun Kuttiyil - Senior Program Analyst

Shaun Kuttiyil profile picturePresent Job Title: Senior Program Analyst
Present Employer: Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Public Administration
Year You Graduated: 2011

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

Since graduating from the MPPAL program in 2015, I have been at the Fiscal Oversight and Finance branches at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Primarily, my work is to perform in-year fiscal management and budgetary oversight for the Ministry's programs assigned to my portfolio.

Every year, with the ministry going through an annual multi-year planning process (i.e. budgetary process), my branch does a deep dive into all the Ministry programs, analyzes all costs associated with them, and assesses what the multi-year funding requirements will be for the Ministry. This requires my branch to work with all the branches through the Ministry, as well as with the Treasury Board Secretariat.

While it might sound a little tedious, as you might think it's all financials, but with most policies, programs, standards, and regulations having a cost associated with them, it has to go through my branch. In other words, we get to oversee from a very high level what's happening throughout the entire Ministry. This to me is very enlightening, especially since I get to read about every strategy, program and policy that is being developed by the program areas (before it even gets officially approved by the Treasury Board and Cabinet).

Furthermore, with an oversight of $60B and some change (40% of total government spending), and with an atmosphere of fiscal restraint (a mandate of our new government), my work place is very dynamic - there are a lot of people to talk with, a ton of back and forth discussions, and of course there are numerous decisions that will need to get approved, reversed, re-approved, re-reversed and so on. All of this, in all honesty, makes my work a lot more interesting, and more importantly, fun.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

I'm a graduate from both the BPA (2011) and MPPAL (2015) programs. With the BPA program being the quintessential public administration program, it covered all the necessary basics I needed to pursue an excellent career. It provided me with perspectives on policy making, public administration, program evaluation and even accounting (Tip: If you ever want to be a Director in the public service, master the accounting and program evaluation courses). The MPPAL program further deepened and enhanced what I had learnt from the BPA program. It introduced me to a variety of fellow students and professors with different career paths and academic backgrounds.

Both the BPA and MPPAL programs taught me the machinery of government decision making. They also taught me how to be critical, and how to work in groups and solve problems collaboratively. On top of the exceptional courses educating us on the governance and policy cycle, other courses covering accounting, program evaluation and the public budget process, also equipped me with the capacity to work in the financial industry for about two years. All these skills and experience enabled me to eventually work in the finance branches of the Ministry of Health where I am currently positioned.

As both theses programs prepared me adequately, I was able to showcase to my senior management that I could think critically and take initiative. As such, I was selected (two years in a row) to be one of the main co-leads in my unit to oversee the multi-year planning process, a major deliverable of my branch.

As such, I couldn't ask for a better foundation for a career in the Ontario Public Service. With an excellent array of professors, I'm confident you too will be equipped with an excellent foundation to eventually be able to contribute and improve the public good for us all.

Genadiy Rau - Project Manager

Picture of Genadiy Rau

Present Employer: UNDP Country Office in Kazakhstan
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
The Year You Graduated: 2011

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Office in Kazakhstan implements a Project-Based Management approach. Annually, over 30 projects are implemented by the Country Office in parallel. As a Project Manager, I oversee day-to-day administration of the project planning, monitoring and evaluation vis-à-vis the Kazakhstan (MFA)-Japan (JICA)-UNDP partnership, in accordance with the UNDP rules and procedures. I am in charge of human resources, finances and procurement for projects.

The Promoting Kazakhstan’s Official Development Assistance Cooperation (ODA) with Afghanistan is a pilot project of Kazakhstan’s ODA employing a ‘learning-by-doing’ capacity building approach. The project manager provides overall technical support to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Kazakhstan to promote civil service excellence in the area of ODA; and organizes thematic workshops for Afghan civil servants and NGO representative in Kazakhstan promoting gender equality policies.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

The School of Public Policy and Administration has provided me with theoretical and practical knowledge in the field. In my fourth year of studies I took AP/PPAS 4995 6.0 Practicum in Public Administration course, which expanded my knowledge and expertise of public policy and administration. This experience enabled me to get hired for a summer job with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Hence, I strongly advise students to take part in internships and practicum opportunities as they expand their expertise and network of contacts.

Another memorable aspect of studies at York University is the multicultural and diverse learning environment, which enables students to effectively share knowledge and develop novel solutions to existing problems. While studying, I was an active member of the Kazakh Student Association at York University and took part in many social and cultural events. Participating actively in campus life builds cultural awareness and emotional intelligence - qualities which are indispensable in today’s diverse workplace environment.

Muhammed Adel Afzal - Barrister and Solicitor

A picture of Muhammed Adel Afzal

Present Employer: Sole Proprietor
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
The Year You Graduated: 2010

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

I work as a lawyer. I defend criminal and regulatory offences, work on family law files, and assist clients with small claims matters. I generally spend my time on legal research, business administration, and court appearances.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

I applied for work-study positions through the School of Public Policy and Administration during my undergraduate studies. My government policy courses gave me some context for thinking about decision makers' choices at work. And the student opportunities allowed me to apply what I learned in school - especially program evaluation, introductory statistics, and research skills.

Toward the end of my third year, I applied for a summer job with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The Freedom of Information and Privacy Office hired me that summer. I helped respond to requests for information from political parties, journalists, and members of the public. I applied FIPPA in my work, and learned about statutory interpretation.

When school started again that September I continued with the Ministry part-time. When I wasn't studying, I worked on communications and research assignments for the office.

The SPPA offered placement opportunities as part of certain fourth year courses: I enrolled in the practicum course and the program evaluation courses. I completed my practicum at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure Legal Services Branch, where I helped lawyers with research tasks. I completed a student evaluation at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade together with three classmates.

These experiences – especially my introductions to legal research and statutory interpretation – helped me later as a law student. More generally, these student jobs helped me develop a work ethic, learn to manage my time, and learn how to learn outside of school.

Joshua D'Cunha - Contracts Manager

Joshua D'CunhaPresent Job Title:  Contracts Manager
Present Employer: The Walsh Group
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration & Justice Studies
The Year You Graduated: 2010

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

After completing my degree in Public Administration at York University, I attended the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law where I received my JD. Upon graduating from law school, I completed the Law Practice Program at Ryerson University, was called to the Bar of Ontario and began working at Infrastructure Ontario as Legal Counsel. While at Infrastructure Ontario, I practiced law in the Litigation, Construction and Contract Management group, where I worked on a number of major infrastructure projects in the Province. I left the government to join a renewable energy asset management tech-company, working on large scale renewable energy infrastructure projects in California and Ontario. This position involved developing contract management processes for solar field and wind farm projects, and I was also required to research and write internal policy papers on legislative and regulatory developments in the renewable energy industry, so that Power Hub could develop software tools to better serve its domestic and foreign clients.  Presently, I am working as a Contracts Manager at The Walsh Group and I am a practicing attorney for this Chicago based infrastructure firm.  I work predominantly on P3 projects and my current portfolio includes: I) The development of a military base for Defense Construction Canada; II) Waste-Water treatment upgrades for  the City of Toronto; III) The re-development of various hospitals with infrastructure Ontario; and IV) Completing the Subway Extension on the York University campus.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

During my time at York, I studied along side students from around the world and under the tutelage of Professors who were engaging and truly passionate about their work. My studies at the School of Public Policy and Administration equipped me to be successful in law school, the government and in the private sector. I received a strong theoretical and practical education, which was truly multi-disciplinary. As a student at the School of Public Policy and Administration, you can take courses ranging from economics, accounting and human resource management to public law, multilevel governance, policy and program delivery. These courses are designed to help you develop the ability to analyze issues from a variety of different perspectives. Upon graduating, whether you find yourself in government, academia, or the private sector, you will be able to leverage the knowledge you have gained to make a meaningful impact in the world around you.

2000s

Marco Giancarlo - Intergovernmental Relations Officer

Marco GiancarloPresent Job Title: Intergovernmental Relations Officer
Present Employer: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Degrees Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Management and Master of Public Policy, Administration & Law
Year Graduated: 2009 and 2015 respectively

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

In my previous role (2013-2016), I managed major capital projects for a portfolio of First Nation communities in Ontario. The primary focus of my particular Directorate was infrastructure improvements on reserve. Some of the projects I worked on included water treatment plants, bridges, roads and wastewater treatment systems. It was a very challenging and high-profile position, but also very rewarding.

In my current role (2017-present), I work with the Indigenous Representative Organizations (IRO) of Ontario in advancing their membership needs. A few areas of influence include self-governance, education and capacity negotiations, and treaty rights. I also work as a liaison with other levels of government on files of mutual concern. It is a stark change from my previous role working on infrastructure projects, however this new role allows me to tap into other skill sets afforded me through the MPPAL program.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

I also graduated from York University's Public Policy and Management BA program in 2009 which launched my career in the public service. The professional contacts and friends I made during the program allowed me to secure a student position at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) during the summer of 2008, and I have continued to grow and advance my career ever since.

With the recent addition of the MPPAL program I am excited to see what new avenues will become open to me. I am actively engaging in policy discussion in my current environment and have applied the skills I learned through MPPAL in my daily activities.

I have recently been promoted to a new role working with the Indigenous Representative Organizations (IRO) of Ontario in advancing their membership needs. A few areas of influence include self-governance, education and capacity negotiations, and treaty rights. I attribute this recent shift in responsibilities to the skills and abilities honed through the MPPAL program.

Alice Melcov - Legal and Policy Advisor

Present Job Title: Legal and Policy Advisor
Present Employer: Ontario Hospital Association
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
Year Graduated: 2009

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

After completing my degree in public administration at York University (2009), I went on to finish law school at McGill University. Following my graduation, I articled with a national law firm, and was called to the Bar of Ontario. Since then, I have been working as a Legal and Policy Advisor with the Ontario Hospital Association. In my current position, I apply both policy and legal expertise to address ongoing and emerging issues in Ontario's hospital sector. My role requires me to draw on my skill set in policy research, analysis and development, with an overall view on the larger legal context.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

As a student at York, I was actively involved in a number of student groups, and served as the President of the Public Policy and Administration Students' Association (PPASA) for two years. In addition to gaining the necessary technical and soft skills in policy work through my studies, I also made many helpful connections through the PPASA that allowed me to advance my career in the public sector. Finding a smaller community through the SPPA was also helpful for academic and career related mentorship and guidance.

Mike Chiappetta - Advisor, Regulated Assessment and Property Tax Policy

Present Job Title: Advisor, Regulated Assessment and Property Tax Policy
Present Employer: Government of Alberta
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
Year Graduated: 2008

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

I help establish the regulatory environment for regulated property mainly related to the energy sector for property assessment purposes through the annual establishment of assessment rates, which in turn create property taxation revenue for Alberta's municipalities, as well other regulatory issues related to major industrial properties as they arise.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

My education was an important foot in the door and helped develop the discipline necessary to succeed in my public sector career. Understanding the theoretical nature behind public sector administration and management provided me with a solid footing to begin my career with the Government of Alberta.

Jackie Mak - Investment Management Analyst

Present Job Title: Investment Management Analyst
Present Employer: Morgan Stanley
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Management
Year Graduated: 2007

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

I deal with institutional clients and advise product recommendations based on their needs and their defined set of investment parameters.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

There were many core courses that have helped me through various stages after graduation and have motivated me to continue career development through exploration of other designations.

David Rudoler - Assistant Professor

David Rudoler profile picturePresent Employer: University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration and Master of Public Policy, Administration & Law
Year You Graduated: 2007 and 2009 respectively

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

Health economics and health policy research.
Teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in health policy, health economics, and statistics.

Prior to my academic career, I spent six years in the Ontario Public Service as a policy advisor in the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

The training in public policy and administration, as well as the relationships I built with professors and alumni helped me secure a position in the Ontario Public Service. My interest in public policy, fostered during my time at York, also led me to pursue a career in academia.

Minh On - Policy Analyst

Minh OnPresent Job Title: Policy Analyst
Present Employer: Natural Resources Canada, Science and Policy Integration
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
Year You Graduated: 2003

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

As a policy generalist, I've had the chance to work on various Cabinet documents, such as Memorandum to Cabinet, Treasury Board Submissions and Orders in Council. Some of the highlights from my past 8 years working in Ottawa include: working at the Privy Council Office where we supported the Prime Minister's Cabinet Committee on Plans and Priorities; drafting scenario notes for the weekly Deputy Minister's Breakfast Meeting; and, developing Canada's Space Policy Framework announced in February 2014. As a policy analyst, my work consists of analyzing complex issues, communicating the key points and providing advice and recommendations to the Government.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

The Public Policy & Administration program at York University provided me with a strong foundation in Policy, Law and Economics, which also gave me a great framework to tackle complex policy issues faced by the Government. In addition, the Professors at York exposed me to a variety of policy issues from social policy, international affairs and a broad understanding of how Government works. They also challenged me to be a better writter and gave me all the tools to succeed in my career.

Rocco Fasano - Senior Business Advisor

Rocco Fasano LinkedIn PicturePresent Employer: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
Year Graduated: 2002

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

At Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's eHealth Strategy and Investment Branch, I lead work in the following facets:

- Corporate/Business: review, analysis, and input on Transfer Payment Agreements, business and financial aspects of partner/agency/stakeholder Business Plans;
- Accountability: review of and provide advice on the accountability instruments (e.g. agreements) with stakeholders;
- Fiscal/Financial: prepare financial reports and analysis to support government-wide business planning (a.k.a. Program Review, Renewal and Transformation plan, formerly Results-based Plan);
- Communications: review and provide input on communication products in support of announcements, and of the Minister of Health's Housebook Note used in the Ontario Legislature;
- Relationship Management: Develop, maintain and manage relationships with major partners within the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Government of Ontario, Government of Canada, and external stakeholders in the health industry on key issues, initiatives and activities impacting the business of my branch.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

I started my major in Political Science, later specialized in Public Policy and Administration (PPA) Honours and that was a key factor in my success in the public service.

Personal attributes aside, my PPA degree allowed me after my third year of undergrad to gain a placement as a Summer Intern in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's Alternative Payments Program Branch in 2001. I maintained my relationship with the hiring manager who, years later, invited me to compete for a Senior Consultant position in a (then) new and exciting program, Family Health Teams.

The rest is history.

Adriano Mena - Executive Assistant to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Negotiations and Reconciliation

Adriano MenaPresent Job Title: Executive Assistant to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Negotiations and Reconciliation
Present Employer: Ministry of Indigenous Affairs
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
Year Graduated: 2001

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

As an Executive Assistant, I have to leverage my capacity to master content and understanding of process to manage and lead staff as well as effectively communicate to senior management. With my experience of over 15 years with numerous Ontario ministries and arm's length organizations, I have accumulated extensive strategic leadership and policy development expertise as well as stakeholder liaison, communication, research and analytical skills. These skills have been put to good use in the work I have done including, for example: overseeing transfer payment agreements; leading large, multi-ministry research projects or engaging stakeholders to develop new programs or processes.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

The value of this degree is how it develops your capacity to see issues from many different perspectives. This is critical in the policy and program development process as well as their administration. The Public Policy and Administration program provided me with the foundation and confidence to work in many different environments within and outside of government.

Prior to 2000

Derek Lett - Executive Director

Derek LettPresent Job Title: Executive Director
Present Employer: Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
Year Graduated: 1991

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

I have worked for the Ontario Government since 1992 in various policy analysis, program delivery and leadership roles including transportation planning, justice sector services and major infrastructure initiatives such as the redevelopment of Toronto's waterfront. In my current role, I am the chief operations officer for the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner for Ontario. I oversee all aspects of the office's operations (HR, finance, IT, communications, etc.) and, along with legal cousel, assist the Commissioner in his role of advising, educating and making determinations on the activities of senior public servants to ensure that the government's activities are conducted in a non-partisan, professional and ethical manner.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

York's PPA program provided me with an excellent foundation for my public service career. Courses in policy analysis, program evaluation, public law, economics and public finance were particularly helpful. The critical thinking skills that I developed and had to apply in the program, along with the program's constant requirement for students to think about the public interest, prepared me to enter and perform in the public service at a level that was well above my peers at the time. It was also those foundational skills and perspectives that have allowed me to advance my career many years later.

Peter Constantinou - Sessional Assistant Professor

Peter ConstantinouPresent Job Title: Sessional Assistant Professor
Present Employer: School of Public Policy and Administration, York University
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
Year Graduated: 1989

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

After spending two decades working for the federal and provincial governments, and in the broader public sector, I am now teaching in the Public Policy and Administration Program at York University. I have the great pleasure of connecting practice and theory by working with students and their prospective employers to develop course content, and experiential education components. Beyond the great classroom experiences our students receive, they are able to get real experiences by participating in our practicum program as well as other opportunities to engage with real public servants. It is really rewarding to build these bridges between our students and the government and the broader public sector.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

The PPA degree from York was like getting a passport that allowed me to experience many different places within the public and broader public sector. These insights and skills are immensely valuable and transferable, and I quickly realized it opened many doors for me to have a varied and rewarding career. I have been able to serve on a Royal Commission, represent the Province of Ontario in international business, work as a Chief of Staff to an Ontario Cabinet Minister, as well as work as a government relations professional for a number of colleges and universities. All this because of the foundational education opportunities I received in the PPA Program at York.

Jim Cassimatis - Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Administrative Officer

Jim CassimatisPresent Job Title: Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Administrative Officer
Present Employer: Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
Year Graduated: 1988

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

I am responsible for assuring a sound and tested controllership framework for all resources at the ministry: financial, staffing, technology, etc. As well, I work with my staff to ensure we are in compliance with all directives and requirements expected of ministries.

My division is also responsible for a call centre that handles 25,000 calls per year, working with landlords and tenants in voluntarily complying with the Residential Tenancies Act, and resolving disputes between parties before they escalate.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

York's PPA degree was the foundation for both my graduate studies as well as my career in the Ontario Public Service. The courses, texts and professors were all instrumental in this foundation. Staying in touch with classmates has also been helpful as a valued network and it's been wonderful watching PPA alumni progress in their careers.

Fausto Natarelli - Director, Yonge Subway Extension

Fausto NatarelliPresent Job Title: Director, Yonge Subway Extension
Present Employer: York Region Rapid Transit Corporation
Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
Year Graduated: 1984

Tell prospective students a bit about the work you do?

I joined the York Region Rapid Transit Corporation in the summer of 2016 where I’m supporting the further planning and development of a possible extension of the Yonge Subway line to Richmond Hill.  In addition, I’m collaborating with a small team to procure technical and other consultant services the Corporation relies upon to further develop and deliver the vivaNext rapid transit capital program.

Prior to joining the York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, I was the Director of the Hurontario LRT project for Metrolinx.  In collaboration with municipal and regional government and other provincial agencies I was responsible for the development and delivery of a 20 km, 22 stop light right transit (LRT) project along Hurontario Street in the cities of Mississauga and Brampton. The proposed $1.4 B LRT project would connect GO Rail stations, GO Bus, bus rapid transit, as well several Mississauga and Brampton bus routes offering travellers a more integrated, predictable and pleasant transit experience. In addition, the LRT, with its pedestrian friendly features, would help transform the corridor into a more sustainable, walkable and vibrant urban form in keeping with broader provincial initiatives.

I spent the bulk of my public service career with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation in a number of capacities culminating in my role as Director of the Windsor Border Initiatives Implementation Group. In that capacity, I led a multi-disciplinary team of professionals contributing to the development of a new international border system between Canada and the United States in the Windsor-Detroit region including the development and construction of the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway – the province’s extension of Highway 401 leading to the border. In addition to collaborating with many agencies in Ontario, we worked closely with members of the Bi-National Transportation Partnership, involving Transport Canada, the US Federal Highway Administration, and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

My past teams and I have been honoured by many organizations for our outstanding accomplishments. My proudest acknowledgements include: The Ontario Public Service Amethyst Award in 2014; the Institute of Public Administration of Canada/Deloitte 2010 Public Sector Leadership Award; and I am the inaugural recipient of the Alumnus of the Year from York University’s School of Public Policy and Administration in recognition of my contributions to public administration, mentoring students and young professionals.

Tell prospective students a bit about how your studies at York helped you to get where you are today.

York's program was one of the first, if the not the first, public policy and administration programs to be offered at the undergraduate level. Combined with other political science courses and a minor in economics, my education at York exposed me to key concepts that would prove valuable at the entry level and further in my public service career. I was able to leverage my understanding of governance, structures of administration, policy processes as well as my understanding of the fundamentals of economic systems in my workplace assignments. Critical to my start in the Ontario Public Service was the School of Public Policy and Administration's summer internship program. I was fortunate to work at the Ministry of Transportation in the summer of 1983 where I gained very valuable experience and came to the realization I could enjoy working in the public service and make a contribution to improving the quality of life for Ontario citizens. My public service career began with the Ministry of Transportation in 1984 and concluded with my retirement from the Ontario Public Service in 2016.

May 2017