Owen Wilson

Owen Wilson

Owen Wilson is a recipient of a 2021 Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement and was on the FPA Dean’s Honours List 2019-2020.

Why did you apply to the BPAPM program at Carleton?

I applied to the Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management because I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do (like a lot of high school graduates). I knew I cared about politics and PAPM focuses on politics and policy, but it also let me take a broad range of courses in other areas like French, history, law and economics, all of which I wanted to learn more about. I also knew that I had enough options in the later years to really dig in to my area of specialization, which is environmental policy. And, of course, I was really looking forward to studying and living in Ottawa. It’s the place to be for politics and policy and it’s been a great city to live in and explore.

Were you surprised by anything you learned?

I was surprised by economics. I was far more comfortable with the political science side of PAPM, but I actually found myself enjoying economics in first year. Because I had to take more economics courses through my degree, it only made sense for me to minor in it. I think economics scares a lot of Arts and Public Affairs students when they first run into it, but I found that I could keep falling back on what I learned in economics to help explain why some policies worked better than others. It taught me a new way to view and analyze issues, which I’m really grateful for.

How has your degree helped you prepare for the future?

I think that the interdisciplinary nature of PAPM is both personally enriching and increasingly necessary, especially in public policy. I specialized in Environmental and Sustainable Energy Policy, and as I’m graduating I’m really thankful that I have a broad knowledge of government, economics and the environment, so that I’m well-versed and can hold my own when working on issues in a field that inherently crosses multiple disciplines. Being able to speak the different “languages” of scientists, economists and politicians alike is so helpful and important. I don’t know if any other program would have left me as confident in that regard.

What was the most important thing you learned?

Be critical, but also open to new views and opinions. Taking a range of classes from different disciplines and working with people from different backgrounds and parts of the country (and the world) taught me that there’s always another side to every issue — understanding that is so important. Also, remember to have fun in the city when you can, because a sudden pandemic can really limit what you can do for fun!

What are your plans after graduation?

I’m taking at least a year off from school to hopefully get some practical work experience related to my field. I’m planning on doing a Master’s after that, but definitely want some time to figure out what exactly I’m looking for and hopefully to relax a bit before jumping back in.

Friday, June 18, 2021 in , , , , ,
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