McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Thu, 07/18/2024 - 18:12

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.

Meet Our MPPs: Sarahí Nava Marquina, Nina Hernández Jayme, and Fiorella Becerra Ortiz

Every MPP hopes to find new friends and new connections when they arrive at Max Bell, but a lucky few find their lifelong friends. Sarahí Nava Marquina, Nina Hernández Jayme, and Fiorella Becerra Ortiz are from different backgrounds and different countries but bonded over a shared passion for equity and a strong desire to make a meaningful impact in the world of public service.

Sarahí, coming from Mérida, Venezuela, was an ESG Project Manager at Vector Casa de Bolsa in Mexico City. In her work, she spearheaded initiatives to advance gender equality and educational opportunities for low-income families in Northern Mexico. Nina, with roots in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico, worked closely with the Federal Commissioner at COFEPRIS, the Federal Health Regulatory Agency in Mexico. She focused on public health administration and worked on national and international agreements to distribute vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fiorella Becerra Ortiz, originating from Lima, Peru, was an analyst and project leader for Peru’s Ministry of Education. She led a team that planned budgeting strategies, which helped finance education for special needs and remote learning during the pandemic.  

In their work, all three students noticed systemic gaps that were driven to address through public policy. “The pandemic was a very interesting time for international agencies to realize that there was an important gap in communication,” said Nina. Fiorella saw a need for transparency and budgeting in her country. “We try to invest in these evidence-based policies to attack inequality, but these efforts won't work if there is no transparency." ” Sarahí believes that gender inequality is an essential issue to tackle. “In Latin American countries, we have this huge disparity, and it’s really important for us to put policies in place to try and close those gaps, and education is a really important step for this to happen.”

Sarahí, Nina, and Fiorella were drawn to Max Bell for different reasons. When deciding on a public policy program, Nina mentions that the School’s one-year duration appealed to her the most. “It allowed me to continue my career uninterrupted, while offering essential courses like microeconomics and macroeconomics for building hard skills for future endeavors.” “I chose Max Bell because of the Policy Lab, which has been fascinating,” said Sarahí. Fiorella appreciated the diversity in Max Bell’s curriculum. “I liked how we have a good mixture of courses, from the core courses, the case studies, and complexity seminars. They all give a good sense of what it's like working in Canada and in the international environment.”  

The trio met as they began their MPP education, working together to understand public policy from a global perspective. Nina gained knowledge about the economic aspect of public policy. "Classes such as econometrics allowed me to view data more objectively and gave me the skills to interpret it and ask the right questions from a different lens." Sarahí and Fiorella rounded out their technical knowledge. “I think for us, the political science part was a missing piece in our careers,” said Sarahí.

Nina has especially enjoyed the connections made during her time at Max Bell. “I have been able to talk, interact, and learn from the experiences of so many people that I would have never been able to have such close interaction with,” she said. Because the cohort is half international, she has been able to create connections with peers from all around the world. Sarahí echoes this sentiment, adding in the staff and faculty support. "I've been feeling very supported by the entire school, which is great, especially because we are newcomers – new to Canada, new to Montréal – and we do not know much about the system. We are getting to know the system, so it is great to be here and have their support.” They mention getting to know the city and the culture through trips to museums and the School’s cabane à sucre trip in the winter as added bonuses to studying in a vibrant city like Montreal.

Considering their post-grad plans, Nina, Sarahí, and Fiorella agree that they will all continue to promote equity and accessibility in their future work. Nina wants to stay in the city – “I want to first learn French, now that I am living in Montréal, I want to take advantage of that,” – and wants to continue working at the Centre for Media, Technology, and Democracy with Professor Taylor Owen. Sarahí envisions exploring new career opportunities in Montréal, drawn to the city’s atmosphere and culture. “I would like to work in the non-profit sector,” she said. Considering she has worked in private sector, she is excited to take on this new frontier in her life. Fiorella wants to diverge from the education sector and explore other policy avenues. Because Canada is so vast, she “would like to work at the local or provincial level.” As they plan their journeys, they find themselves prepared to embrace new challenges and take on sectors previously unexplored.


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