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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
February 8, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Our Alumni

Wondering where a degree in Political Science can lead you?  Here's where some of our graduates have to say...

And if you are an alumnus, we'd be happy to post an update from you, too, so that current students can see where their degrees might lead them.  Just send a note to Sherry Palmer.

Undergraduate Programs Alumni



Simmer Anand (BA, '12, Gold Medal Winner): The Political Science Department at Wilfrid Laurier offers students an expansive number of courses, specifically catered to each individual’s needs and interests. Whether it be international relations, Canadian political, political law or public policy, the professors in the political science department possess the experience and knowledge to inspire students to make great achievements, once they leave the classroom. Through my degree at Wilfrid Laurier, I was able to learn the fundamentals of how politics works both domestically and abroad, and pick up the necessary communication and critical thinking tools necessary for my chosen career. I can say with utmost confidence that my degree, along with the support I received from staff in the department, is a major reason for my current success in Ontario Politics. I currently work in the office of the Hon. Michael Chan, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade. As the Minister’s Stakeholder Relations Advisor, I am responsible for developing and managing effective working relationships and partnerships with stakeholders, and providing strategic counsel to senior management on the direction of Ministry policies.

I highly recommend this program to all incoming students, wishing to receive a quality education in the realm of political science.


Jessica Ling: I can’t believe that just over nine years have passed since I graduated with my degree in Political Science (Honours, 2004) from Laurier! Following the completion of my degree, I moved across the country to pursue my Master of Public Administration (MPA) at the University of Victoria. Since 2006, I have worked primarily as a Policy and Research Analyst in the BC Public Service. My experience spans several policy areas, ranging from housing to eHealth – with some corporate planning and accountability reporting thrown into the mix.

I took a good mix of classes as a Political Science student, but my passion always steered me to courses that included some element of policy. Sometimes I feel as if it was only yesterday that I was sitting in Dr. VanNijnatten’s PO 316 (Environmental Politics) and longing to work in the policy arena. Other courses that whet my appetite for wanting to work in this arena include PO 263/264 and PO 345/346.

I look back fondly on my time at Laurier, and I know that it is that solid foundation has allowed me to pursue such a wide range of post-graduation opportunities.

If any students are interested in learning more about my experience as a MPA student and subsequently a Research/Policy Analyst, feel free to contact me at

Darcy O’Shaughnessy: I am a 2012 graduate from Laurier Political Science (Honours BA). I am currently working out of Cincinnati in Nielsen’s Emerging Leaders Program. I’ve been asked to share some of my experiences, especially around how political science fed into my career.

During my degree, I took a good mix of classes – from our public opinion/media/elections-driven areas to world politics. Having exposure such a variety of classes is a huge asset of the program at Laurier… it allowed me to adapt my focus to whatever classes seemed most interesting and relevant. In addition to regular coursework, I took the research specialization option in fourth year, got involved at LISPOP, and kept active in clubs (Laurier Model United Nations & Laurier Student Poll).

I currently work for Nielsen, a marketing analytics company that helps our clients understand what people watch and buy. I focus mainly on the “buy” side, working with consumer goods manufacturers to drive solutions on consumer segmentation, new product launches, marketing effectiveness, and a range of other key areas. I continually borrow from the analytic training I received at Laurier, which did a great job pushing me to build a thorough understanding of each problem before trying to solve it.

I joined Nielsen right out of university as a Professional Services Analyst in Canada, which gave me opportunities to learn and grow in an incredibly applied setting, with major clients and critical business issues. I have since relocated to the US in a rotation program that gives me exposure to other areas of our business. We hold an info session at Laurier every year, so be sure to check us out during university recruitment in the fall!

If you are interested in hearing more about Nielsen or political science at Laurier, feel free to contact me at

Bryan Smith (’11 Honours B.A., Political Science – Research Specialization): Currently, I work as the Senior Policy Advisor to Minister Tony Clement, P.C., M.P., President of the Treasury Board of Canada. As a policy advisor to a Minister of the Crown, my role is to provide political advice on a wide array of policy issues as well as navigate through the complex structure of government. Political advisors work within their respective government departments and agencies to update policy, create programs, and deliver new services in a way that aligns with the overall direction set by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

While attending university, Wilfrid Laurier provided me with a fundamental understanding of political science. I heavily focused my studies on Canadian politics – public policy, constitutional law, elections and political order, and public opinion – which provided me with a strong foundation in the theory behind how politics operates. Once I graduated, I applied this knowledge to Canada’s current political landscape and spent the last three years working closely with the President of the Treasury Board on the day to day operations of a federal Cabinet Minister, a well as leading initiatives such as balancing the Budget (Budget 2012), launching Canada’s new web presence (, and hosting the first ever national Open Data hackathon (CODE).

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Wilfrid Laurier University and believe I would not have ended up where I am today without the guidance provided to me by my professors and the political science department. For those students who are pursuing a career in politics, I highly recommend defining a career path early and tailoring your class schedule to suit your goal.

I’m always available at

Graduate Program Alumni

Former Prime Minister Paul Martin with some of our 2012-13 Masters students.

Andrew Basso (MA, 2012-13) is currently enrolled in the PhD program at the University of Calgary. His areas of research are International Human Rights Violations, International Human Rights, Security Studies, Theories of International Relations, International Organizations, and Transitional Justice. While at Laurier he was a Research Assistant to Dr. Rhoda Howard-Hassmann."

Jesse Dhaliwal completed her MA in Canadian Political Studies (2012-2013) with a focus on Canadian studies and public policy. She also represented Wilfrid Laurier at the IPAC Public Policy Competition with a group of talented peers. She is currently working for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as a Special Assistant to Donna Cansfield, MPP Etobicoke Centre.

During her MA in 2012-13, Erin Estok completed field work for her Major Research Paper (MRP) in Yellowknife and Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. Her MRP, Devolution of Power and Aboriginal Education in Canada: The Impact of Structure and Jurisdiction is supervised by Dr. Alcantara and looks at the effects of intergovernmental involvement on educational program delivery and Aboriginal student educational outcomes. She is currently working with the Technical Standards and Safety Authority in Toronto.

Megan Gayda, who completed her MA program (2011-2012),  conducted research for her Major Research Paper (MRP)  in northern Ontario.  She received third prize for the presentation of her research entitled, Walking the Road Alone? The Impact of Federal Residential Schools on Aboriginal Civic Engagement in Canada at the Faculty of Arts Poster Symposium. She assisted in providing an academic perspective on a study being conducted by the Ministry on the Status of First Nation Municipal Partnerships in Ontario and presented her work to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, after which she was offered a job as Strategic Communications Coordinator at Algonquins of Ontario.

Dianne Lalonde (2012-13) has begun her doctoral studies at Western University.

Evan Lyons (2013-14):  “The MA in political science program at Laurier provided me a multitude of skill sets which aided greatly in my professional transition following graduation. During my time at Laurier the faculty went above and beyond expectations, personally guiding me as I crafted my writing, presenting and research skills. It was this comprehensive guidance that led to me leaving the school with a much greater understanding of my own personal strengths, and how they could be applied in the workplace. In providing multiple networking opportunities, the faculty ensured that I had strong contacts moving forward into my career. The nature of the one year program necessitates further development of one’s time management and teamwork skills, leaving you with the required capabilities to succeed following the completion of your degree.”  Research Analyst at Ipsos Healthercare, Toronto

Upon completing his MA degree (2012-2013) Michael Szabo, who also worked during his MA year as a policy coordinator for the Wilfrid Laurier Graduate Students' Association, received a coveted internship position with the Canadian embassy in Washington.  He is now working in Ottawa at the Office of Religious Freedom.