Max Bell School MPPs awarded prestigious fellowships at leading Canadian think tanks

The Max Bell School is proud to present its second cohort of Policy Scholars

The Max Bell School of Public Policy is thrilled to introduce three recent Master of Public Policy graduates who were selected for this year’s Policy Scholars program, a prestigious opportunity for our students to spend six months working at a prominent Canadian think tank. 

“Providing meaningful career opportunities is essential for both the success of our MPP program and the career trajectory of our students," said Chris Ragan, director of the Max Bell School. “That’s why we’re so pleased to have three outstanding recent graduates join our partner think tanks for the second year of the Policy Scholars initiative.” 

The program plays a vital role in providing students with real-life, policy-centric opportunities. As Catherine Stace, the Max Bell School Career Services Manager, and a lead organizer of the program, said, 

"Members of our latest class of MPP candidates are coming out of an intensive degree that is reflective of the real world. Having the opportunity to work on issues of vital importance at a prominent organization recognizes their academic achievements while also providing them a career launch pad." 

The Policy Scholars program is funded through a significant philanthropic grant from the Max Bell Foundation. "Thanks to the support of the Max Bell Foundation,” Catherine continued, “The Policy Scholars program allows our students to work within leading policy organizations and apply their newly acquired skills directly. Our partners this year are all high-calibre organizations working on important issues. I am confident the three students selected will deliver excellent work during their term and the experience will prove valuable for their policy careers.”  

Meet this year's cohort of Policy Scholars: 

Nayantara SudhakarNayantara Sudhakar

The Calgary-based Canada West Foundation welcomed Nayantara Sudhakar to conduct research on the clean energy innovation ecosystem. 

Marla Orenstein, Director of the Natural Resource Centre at the Foundation, praised the qualities Sudhakar brings to the team and detailed the project she’s been working on over the past few months: 

“Nayantara’s interests are diverse, and so is her experience. This is an attribute we really value about her – and something we are putting to good use by giving her projects that span a lot of different areas. She is helping us frame our response to the need for a Just Transition of energy workers as Canada moves to a low-carbon economy – a project that crosses over between CWF’s Natural Resources and Human Capital Centres. She is writing stories for the Energy Innovation Brief about advances in both new and traditional energy systems. And she has been tasked with helping us figure out a system for how to keep up with the rapid developments in energy and environment that are coming out of the U.S. Finally, she is helping design a youth-oriented event to bring the voices and values of younger people into the discussions around energy and environment.” 

Sudhakar commented on why joining the foundation was so significant to her. 

“Currently, our society is challenged with finding sustainable methods of using Canada's natural resources while limiting the negative impacts on the workers and communities that are dependent on natural resource extraction. Working with Canada West Foundation to uncover the elements of a 'Just Transition' provides me with an opportunity to indulge in my interest in people-centered policymaking while learning about responsible energy development. I feel honoured to be placed at an institution that works hard and fast to put critically emerging matters on the policy agenda.” 

Ricardo ChejfecRicardo Chejfec

Ricardo Chejfec was selected to join the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP). In an interview with us, he shared: 

“It’s a fantastic first step in. There's still a lot I need to discover about this field about the world, about my role and my ability to contribute.” He is confident that his time at the IRPP can help on all fronts. “Since I left home, I’ve never stayed in one place for too long, but policy really seems like something that I'm going to enjoy doing for a long time.” 

IRPP President and CEO Jennifer Ditchburn highlighted the importance of the Policy Scholars program—for both the Scholars and the institutional partners. 

“We are very pleased to be able to continue to work with the Max Bell School’s Policy Scholars. It’s an opportunity to help support some of Canada’s emerging policy thinkers, and also to benefit from their own research and insights. Ricardo’s training and interests have been an asset to our research programs focused on the future of the social safety net and on adult skills and learning.” 

Udita UpadhyayUdita Upadhyay 

2021 MPP graduate Udita Upadhyay has joined the C.D. Howe Institute, undertaking policy research on the theme of “Healthcare Human Capital: Reopening and Recovering.” 

The Institute is a perfect fit for Udita, who told us, 

“Being one of Canada’s most influential think tanks, this fellowship position at C.D. Howe provides an excellent platform as it operates at the intersection of economics and public policy. This is an ideal opportunity for me to use my background in economics and my MPP degree to address an important policy issue for Canadian society.” 

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