Congratulations to our recent graduates! Here we would like to introduce you to some of our recent BA, MA and PhD graduates, and highlight some of their experiences at Carleton. We have started off with a slideshow of our faculty and students on convocation day. Be sure to scroll down to find out more about our graduates and their experiences at Carleton.

BA Graduates share their stories:

photo of Sophie Ehlebracht and Peter Andrée

Sophie Ehlebracht with HRE Supervisor Peter Andrée

Sophie Ehlebracht

BA (Hons) Political Science with a concentration in International Relations; Minor German

Sophie is graduating with High Distinction, and is being awarded a Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement.

“Before starting university, I wasn’t sure if I had chosen the right program to study as I had very little exposure to politics, diplomacy and law. All I knew going into Political Science was that I thought the subject matter was interesting and that the content would be likely to stay current and relevant to the happenings of the world. I’m extremely happy I chose to pursue this program as it turned out to be a great match. My curiosity and passion for wanting to understand how and why things happen as they do only grew with every course I took. Carleton’s Political Science department offered a variety of courses and supportive faculty that enabled my academic confidence to grow.

My Honours Research Essay (HRE) “Core Solutions? Governing Canadian Mining Firms Overseas,” supervised by Dr. Peter Andrée, allowed me to become a better researcher and academic writer as I go on to continue my education. Researching and successfully completing my HRE is one of my favourite experiences from my degree because of the skills that I gained from it.

I’m extremely proud to be graduating from this program and I’m thankful for all the opportunities that have come from it. In September 2022, I’ll begin a combined JD/MA program with the University of Ottawa’s law school and
the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton. I’m thrilled to be attending such great schools and to continue pursuing my interests in law and international politics.”

photo of Charlene Herrera

Charlene Mae Herrera

Charlene Mae Herrera

BA (Hons) Political Science

“There are a lot of experiences I’ve accumulated over the past five years. I came to Carleton because I wanted to be close to Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, which means being close to the heart of Canadian politics. I also wanted to be in a more relaxed and easy-going city, compared to the fast-paced life of Toronto or Vancouver.

Throughout the years I have been involved with several extracurricular activities and societies, including being the chairperson (and later VP of finance) of the Carleton University New Democrats. I was primarily involved with Carleton Model Parliament organized by the Carleton Political Science Society almost every year, and I was one of the main organizers of the 2021 Carleton Model Parliament. I’ve met a lot of my close friends today through clubs and societies! Outside of Carleton, I have also been heavily involved with human rights organizing relating to the issues in the Philippines, with the Ontario Committee of Human Rights in the Philippines (OCHRP) and Migrante Ottawa. Throughout my undergrad years, I had the pleasure of being deployed to different national human rights conferences to not only represent my organizations but also represent myself as a Carleton student.

I would like to apply the lessons of my polisci degree to continuing the study of peace and conflict in Southeast Asian insurgencies, specifically the peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Government of the Philippines. I will also be continuing my work as a human rights activist and a community organizer helping the people.”

photo of Olga Kyrylenko

Olga Kyrylenko

Olga Kyrylenko

BA (Hons) Political Science with a concentration in International Relations; Minor Law

“Back in high school, I never imagined myself studying a degree in political science. And yet despite the fact I was accepted to the program of my original choice, I made a last-minute decision and picked a political science degree instead, surprising all the people around me. That one decision based purely on my intuition was the one that I have not regretted even once.

Being part of the program opened many opportunities to me, allowing to no longer be a silent watcher of global issues and use my skills and knowledge to engage in international politics. The most useful skill I got from this program, which helped me in many areas of life, is the ability to see and understand all sides of a conflict without neglecting anyone’s opinion due to my personal biases.

This degree has brought me to work with Global Affairs Canada, which I am hoping to continue for many years ahead of me. At the same time, I am happily continuing to volunteer with the United Nations Development Program, which allowed me to collaborate with field experts from around the planet who, just like myself, are passionate about making this world a better place. I am proud of my degree and looking forward to seeing where life takes me!”

photo of Shal Marriott

Shal Marriott

Shal Marriott

BA (Combined Hons) History and Political Science, with a concentration in Political Theory

“I first began studying at Carleton University as an engineering student. It was an introduction to political theory course with Professor Tom Darby which inspired me to reconsider my career path. It was the faculty and students at Carleton University who inspired me to pursue my passion for political science.

Over the past several years in the department of political science, I have been able to gain a profound appreciation for what it means to study politics. I have been able to take courses in subjects ranging from foreign affairs to Muslim political thought. I concentrated in political theory, a subject which I consider not only to be a passion of mine but a vocation. This past year I wrote an Honours Research Essay under the supervision of Professor Marc Hanvelt, an experience which allowed me to explore the Scottish Enlightenment in a detailed and interesting way. It was a highlight of my degree and made me certain of my decision to pursue graduate studies in political theory. As I move forward into undertaking an MA degree and eventually a PhD in political science, I am filled with gratitude for my time in the political science program at Carleton University. It was here that I figured out what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing, and learned not only how to be a passionate student, but what it takes to be a scholar.”

photo of Taryn Rerrie

Taryn Rerrie

Taryn Rerrie

BA (Combined Hons) in Human Rights & Social Justice, and Political Science

Taryn is graduating with High Distinction.

As part of her program, Taryn chose to complete an honours research essay.  Her topic was “Fair Representation or Colonial Coverage? A critical discourse analysis of Canadian print media coverage of residential schools.”

“I came to Carleton to get the chance to study politics in Canada’s capital, later adding a double major in Human Rights and Social Justice. During my time here I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to take courses covering a wide array of political focused topics and the chance to learn from amazing faculty members. In the final year of my degree, I completed an HRE that allowed me to study a field that I was very interested in, while improving my research and academic writing skills through working under the supervision of a faculty member, Professor Erin Tolley. My HRE’s area of focus combined knowledge that I gained from both of my majors, but especially from research methods courses I took in my political science major. All of the political science courses I took in my degree, especially the HRE process, opened my eyes to several research and career areas that have become of great interest to me. In the upcoming fall I am returning to Carleton to join the MA in Communication and Media Studies program where I am excited to continue studying topics relating to media coverage of social and political issues and political communication.”

photo of Keenan Reynolds

Keenan Reynolds

Keenan Reynolds

BA Political Science

Keenan is graduating with High Distinction, and is being awarded a Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement.

“I came to the political science program in 2019 after taking a 3-year break from school to finish a 5-year junior hockey career that took me all over Ontario and some of the midwestern United States. Growing up in a very progressive household with parents that always preached the importance of things like personal ethics, standing up for what you believe in, and helping give back to your community, I wanted to study political science because politics represents the single most influential means of enacting tangible, progressive change at the societal level. After seeing Jack Layton galvanize the country preaching the values of commonality, respect, and diversity as the tenets of what makes Canada the greatest country on earth before his passing in 2011, I realized that my dream was to help lead Canada’s progressive political revolution, and studying political science became a by-product of that dream.

While my time physically spent on campus over my 3 years as a student was limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I still found ways to make use of all the amazing resources that Carleton offers its students. I tried to be as involved as I could in the Carleton community, spending one year on the Men’s varsity hockey team, serving as an elected student councilor for the Faculty of Public Affairs (FPA) within the Carleton University Student Association (CUSA), as well as being elected the Student Representative on the Academic Planning & Curriculum Commitee (APCC) for the FPA, serving as the Vice-President for the Carleton Political Science Society (CPSS), and being asked to speak on behalf of the PSCI department to prospective incoming students on several occasions.

Looking back, I am not only proud of the work I put in to earn the Senate Medal, as well as graduating with high distinction from Carleton University, but also of the friendships and mentorships I was able to cultivate with my fellow peers and the amazing faculty within the Political Science program. Online school during Covid-19 tried me mentally, physically, and emotionally, but through hard work, perseverance, and my amazing support system that helped me through the toughest times, I am always going to look back upon my academic journey at Carleton with happiness and a full heart.

To everyone who helped make my graduation possible, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I will always be a Raven!”

MA Graduates share their stories:

photo of Allison Brown

Allison Brown

Allison Brown

MA in Political Science

Allison is from British Columbia and obtained her Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Allison also has her Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Adults. She enjoys traveling, has visited over 25 countries, and lived abroad in Italy, Slovenia, and Spain.

Allison chose Carleton University because of its excellent political science program, which had the option of a co-op, and its central location in Ottawa. Throughout her degree, Allison was the graduate student representative on the Board of Governors, and was a part of the Advancement and University Relations committee. Allison was also a Teaching Assistant and a Research Assistant. She participated in the co-op program working as a Policy Analyst for the Government of Canada, a position which she maintained throughout her final year. Allison now occupies this position full-time and is looking forward to a career in the Public Service.

photo of Bridget Collrin & her mother

Bridget Collrin and her mother

Bridget Collrin

MA in Political Science

“My name is Bridget and I am graduating from Carleton University and the University of Lucerne with a Dual Master’s degree in Political Science. When I learned about the opportunity to study political science at two universities for my Master’s degree, I was immediately set on coming to Carleton! Having completed a BA in International Relations at Western University, I was acutely aware of the importance of trans-cultural learning for those hoping to enter into the field. But the learnings I gained throughout the last two years have been far more than I ever imagined.

Studying in Ottawa gave me the chance to take advantage of the dynamic political environment of being in Canada’s capital. I was able to work at the Library of Parliament during my first semester at Carleton while completing courses on Indigenous politics and European integration. During this time, I also worked as a research assistant which led me to develop my personal research focus in immigration policy.

In my second semester, I moved to Lucerne, Switzerland to take part in an educational exchange. Although studying internationally during the pandemic came with its own challenges, Carleton was a strong support throughout this process and allowed me to make the most out of the dual degree. I was able to connect with professors at the University of Lucerne who specialized in international migration, an experience which ultimately informed my MA thesis on immigration policy and public opinion in Switzerland. These experiences at both universities provided the foundation to take an exciting ‘next step’ academically: in the Fall of 2022, I will be starting a PhD in Policy Studies – Immigration, Settlement, and Diaspora Policies at Toronto Metropolitan University. This would not be possible without the support I received from the Department of Political Science at Carleton, thank you to all that have played such a key role along the way.”

photo of Danica Dahlin

Danica Dahlin

Danica Dahlin

MA in Political Science

“I came to Carleton after completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Lethbridge in Lethbridge, AB. I decided on Carleton because the program was really highly regarded by my former professors and I liked the idea of being in such a great city for politics.

I’m incredibly grateful for the experiences I had through this program, and all the effort the professors put into making remote delivery as authentic and engaging as possible. I have to recognize James Milner for the mentorship, guidance, positive energy, and opportunities he provided through my internship with the UNHCR and working with LERRN and R-SEAT.

I’m the first in my family to finish a university degree, so moving on to complete a second degree is really special and I feel really proud of that. I can’t overstate enough how grateful I am for the support my family gave me throughout these years. I think one of the most special parts of this whole experience is being able to connect with people from all walks and build such fulfilling relationships based on common ground, but importantly, also based on our differences and I hold these friendships and connections so dearly.

I’ve recently accepted a position with a consulting firm and I’m so happy to be back in my home province, British Columbia. I’m excited that I now get to take with me all that I’ve learned through Carleton’s program and apply it to both personal and professional experiences.”

photo of Jason Giddings

Jason Giddings

Jason Giddings

MA in Political Science

“I applied to Carleton on the advice of one of my professors at the University of Manitoba during my undergrad. He advised me to go to Carleton because his son had come here and felt that it was an amazing experience and that it had helped him kickstart a successful career in public service. When I began my degree, the pandemic had only started a few months prior and I was facing starting off my grad school experience in a completely virtual environment. It was a bit nerve-wracking at first but the faculty and my fellow students made the experience truly open and inviting. My first interaction with the department was with the Graduate Program Administrator, Brookes Fee, who was incredibly warm and really set the tone for my next 2 years at this university. There are so many moments along the way I could expand on but the one I’d like to share the most was from one of my professors, Phillipe Lagassé, who told us during one class “No matter where you are, never let anyone tell you that you don’t belong in that space.”

This degree is incredibly meaningful to me having earned it in the midst of a very difficult period of time for myself and many others across the country and the world. I’m also proud to call myself a member of the Carleton community, throughout my time here I’ve met an incredible array of outstanding people that have inspired me to live with purpose and passion. Post-graduation I plan to continue my work with the Department of National Defence and seek to get involved with more community initiatives in the city of Ottawa.”

photo of Kim Nesbitt and Brian Schmidt

Kimberlee Nesbitt and Brian Schmidt

Kimberlee C. Nesbitt

MA in Political Science

“Pursuing a Master’s degree was something I never initially imagined for myself.  When the topic of graduate studies was brought up by my mentor years ago, I remember laughing in his office at the thought. Having been in the midst of wrapping up my undergraduate Law degree, the idea of a Master’s in Political Science almost seemed unattainable. Years later, it had proven to be the biggest and most rewarding risk I have ever taken.

My graduate degree allowed me to explore the relationship between access to abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the crisis exacerbated the ongoing reproductive oppression that takes place in the United States. At times, the subject matter could be harrowing, making Carleton’s warm and supportive learning environment all the more meaningful. Even on the hardest days, faculty and staff were always there with words of encouragement, support, and compassion.

This experience was incredibly challenging at times; at others, it has been incredibly empowering. I never would have finished my degree without the community that Carleton has created. I certainly would not be here had my mentor not encouraged me all those years ago. I have learned some of my most valuable life lessons here, made some of my best friends between the walls of these classrooms, and attained a level of knowledge I would not trade for the world. I am incredibly excited to return in the Fall to begin my PhD.”

photo of Tasnim Rasheed and James Milner

James Milner and Tasnim Rashid

Tasnim Rashid

MA in Political Science

Being a refugee means facing challenges and needing to prove yourself. This experience does not end when you settle in a new country, like Canada. Instead, it is the start of a new journey, a journey with new challenges and prejudices. I have faced challenges because of my gender, race and religion since coming to Canada as a refugee. I believed that something needed to be done to overcome these challenges, to show what refugees can do, and to prove that the perspective of refugees belongs in academic settings. I chose to study the MA in Political Science to help me understand how the meaningful participation of refugees can be promoted and to develop the tools to help promote meaningful integration into a new society. I believe that the tools of Political Science can help us all understand our rights and responsibilities, while also providing a roadmap on how we can engage in and influence the future of our communities.

I was incredibly privileged to study for my MA in Political Science at Carleton University. Through the program, I developed academic skills, learned from wonderful professors, and was supported to dive deep into the literature and develop a significant level of critical thinking and research, writing and policy analysis skills – all of which I will need as I pursue the next steps in my academic journey. I want to extend my sincere appreciation to all the faculty, staff, and students of the Political Science department for their support and enthusiasm. I especially want to thank Prof. James Milner, Director of the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN), who has been an incredible influence in my academic life and supervised my MRP. I also want to thank Prof. Fiona Robison, who inspired me to study politics through ethical and moral lenses. Last, but not least, I want to thank Brookes Fee, our Graduate Administrator, who was a real mentor to all Political Science graduate students, including me. Without her immeasurable help and support, especially during the challenging time of COVID-19 and online learning, I never would have completed my Master’s degree.

PhD Graduates share their stories:

Blake Barkley and James Milner

Blake Barkley with PhD Supervisor James Milner

Blake Barkley

PhD in Political Science

“Coming to Carleton for my PhD was one of the best decisions I have ever made! Initially, I was concerned that I would be starting a few steps behind my colleagues, by having done interdisciplinary degrees for both my undergrad and Master’s, meaning that my PhD was technically my first degree in Political Science. What I found when I arrived completely put my fears to rest. My cohort – as well as those that preceded and followed – became some of my closest friends and a key support system. It is not exaggerating at all to say that I could not have made it through the highs and lows of this PhD adventure without them! I was also incredibly lucky to have Dr. James Milner as a supervisor, he was just as excited about my research (if not more excited at times) as I was. This made all the difference as I could leave every meeting feeling like I could tackle any hurdle that was came my way. Between coordinating several months of fieldwork in Kenya or working to finish my dissertation during the pandemic whilst working full time for the Government of Canada, Dr. Milner’s motivation was key to reaching the finish line.

After convocation, my immediate plans are to continue working for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, where I have worked since 2020. And after putting a bit of time between myself and my dissertation, I am hoping to turn it into a book. So, stay tuned!”

photo of Barbra Chimhandamba and Fiona Robinson

Barbra Chimhandamba with PhD Supervisor Fiona Robinson

Barbra Chimhandamba

PhD in Political Science

“When I came to the Department of Political Science I quickly developed a love for political science and I felt like I had come home. My experience in the department since 2013 as a qualifying Masters student, through to my MA and PhD has been nothing short of extraordinary. I was blessed to work with and learn from talented, knowledgeable and caring professors, students and administrative staff. As a late comer to political science – my first degree is French Language – I had a lot of questions, but I found the professors always willing to assist.

My supervisor, Dr. Fiona Robinson, will always have a special place in my heart. She saw potential in me even before I knew I could do a PhD and I will always be thankful for her steadfast support throughout my studies, especially following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic during my fieldtrip.

One of the things I appreciated the most during my time in the Department was the meaningful relationships that I formed with faculty, staff and fellow students, and their genuine concern about my success and well-being. I never had to face the unique challenges of being an international student alone as I had the support of professors and staff. I feel truly blessed and privileged to have been part of such an amazing community. Thank you!”

Ethan Gao

Ethan Gao

PhD in Political Science

“I had a great time studying at Carleton University as a PhD student in Political Science. Of all the memorable experiences that I have had, I must say that I cherish the time that I spent as a Teaching Assistant the most. It is during these brief tutorial sessions – communicating with the students about the ideas of truly great minds – that I recognized the worth of my studies and efforts. As cliché as it sounds, I have learned a great deal from my students at Carleton University.”

photo of Robin Varma

Robin Varma

Robin Varma

PhD in Political Science

“It was a true privilege to do my PhD at Carleton University. Having the opportunity to study the great thinkers of the West under Professor Waller Newell has deepened my understanding of the world we live in, and made a life-long impression on me. It also set the foundation for my first book Ruling Bodies: A Study of Coercion and Punishment in Plato’s Republic, Laws, and Gorgias. I am very proud of this work and look forward to its release next month in the U.S., U.K, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, among others. In the future, I plan to continue my studies, and hope to share this knowledge with others. I’m also looking forward to spending time with my wife and son, and enjoying the summer. For more information about me, visit my website: