With orientation starting in mid-August, and classes getting into full-swing in September, the Max Bell School recently welcomed thirty-six accomplished individuals from over fourteen countries to our 2020-21 MPP program.
This new cohort brings a rich diversity of academic backgrounds, interests, and experiences. Nearly twenty percent of the students hold advanced or additional degrees in fields that vary from Political Science to Business Administration, while others have undergraduate degrees in disciplines as diverse as English Literature and Chemical Engineering. The class also draws from a broad range of professional experiences encompassing areas such as international relations, marketing, and the environment, to mention a few.
“The calibre of our incoming cohort of students is outstanding,” said Chris Ragan, Director of the Max Bell School. “Over the year ahead, I’m looking forward to watching these students develop their policy analysis and development skills through active participation in our MPP program’s courses, Case Studies, the Policy Lab, and Complexity Seminars.”
While their backgrounds may be highly varied, the students share the goal of solving the policy problems that really matter.
"I believe policy is the most effective way to drive the structural change that addresses social challenges," declared Raphaela Chakravarti, who hails from Boston, Massachusetts, and has a B.A. in Middle East Studies from Brown University. Raphaela has been working in nonprofit development, legal aid, and immigration advocacy for the past few years. Her experiences, which span from working at immigrant-serving organizations to relief operations for refugees, come from “a desire to understand how progress is defined and measured in efforts to effect social change.”
Ricardo Chejfec, a McGill University graduate in Cognitive Science, is interested in contributing to the development of data-driven policy. Originally from Mexico, Ricardo worked as a Business Analyst for Scotiabank after moving to Canada six years ago, and has developed strengths in academic research, computer science, and data analytics. During his year at the School, Ricardo is looking forward to learning about the appropriate and efficient ways to tackle income inequality, as well as taxation and employment policy.
"I want to build the skills needed to drive positive change in areas related to energy, resources, and the environment,” said Danielle Appavoo, who completed her undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto. Drawing from her experience in commodity trading firms and local government, Danielle is also excited to explore the intersection of industry and public policy.
Emily Nickerson is also invested in the ways in which people and governments use natural resources for economic development. After earning her degree in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Guelph, Emily spent several years working to increase transparency in the extractives sector and create more sustainable mining practices. "I hope to gain the knowledge and tools necessary to shape sustainable and inclusive policies that respond to the climate crisis," she stated.
Why did they choose the Max Bell School MPP?
As Ines Atugonza Muganyizi put it, the School offers an opportunity to "open up to different perspectives." Asif Imran Khan found the Canadian context to be attractive saying that "the School's MPP degree will enable me to consolidate my theoretical and practical understanding of policy processes in the contemporary world, from the perspective of an advanced democracy like Canada."
Indeed, through their coursework guided by our stellar faculty and the real-world experience they will gain through the Policy Lab course component, our MPPs will be equipped with both the hard and soft skills crucial for navigating the in and outs of public policy.
Even though the McGill fall and winter terms are being held online, our MPPs will be participating in the exciting events and courses. Check out the students' online profiles to see their public policy experience to date, and follow us on social media to hear more about their objectives for the coming year and beyond.