A photo of Kaia Counter

NPSIA Graduation Spotlight: Kaia Counter

If you could choose one word to sum up your time at NPSIA, what is it and why?

Transformative. I learned so much about policy and practical implementation of ideas, themes which were largely absent from my undergrad that focused on politics in theory. I gained a strong understanding of Canadian government and politics, made so many new friends, overcame the biggest academic challenges of my life, and found new professional interests that will shape the next steps I take in my career. I gained so much confidence from the trials of a Master’s degree and really emerged from this degree as a different person.

What is your favourite NPSIA memory?

When Canada’s chief climate negotiator came to speak in Professor Manulak’s Diplomacy class, which sparked a new interest in me in negotiation

What was your favourite course or who was your favourite professor?

My favourite professor is definitely Professor Percival. Her insights into global health and gender taught me so much, and her work ethic constantly inspires me. She looks out for students and is genuinely compassionate. Her courses offered compelling and engaging dialogue between students and I felt extremely fortunate to act as a Research Assistant for her.

What was the most important lesson you learned during your time at NPSIA?

Being a part of a team is just as essential as being an effective leader, and that there is enormous strength and value in meaningful collaboration.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on the Legislative Affairs team at both Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs. I plan on pursuing a career more broadly in international negotiation and diplomacy, bringing a GBA+ lens to all that I do. In the meantime, I will be working on my French skills, looking for new places to hike around Ottawa, and finally reading for pleasure instead of for research papers.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the NPSIA community?

I’m so proud of this graduating class for completing a Master’s degree that was nearly entirely online- we did it!