Dana Macpherson, MPPA

Dana Macpherson, MPPA

Hello! I’m Dana (she/her). I’m from the GTA. I completed my undergrad in criminology at the University of Toronto before continuing my studies in the criminology field at the University of Edinburgh Law School. I choose to study at Carleton’s SPPA to expand upon my past learnings and gain practical insights on how governments can tangibly develop and reform regulatory systems to better ensure just outcomes for individuals and communities. 

Being a professionally geared program, complete with a co-op option, the MPPA has enabled me to round out my previous academic-focused studies. I am currently completing a student work term at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. I am learning how Canada is working towards improving collaboration with Indigenous groups to advance Indigenous rights and self-governance.  

The MPPA and its co-op component has allowed me to explore contemporary policy issues facing Canada, as well as the nuances and challenges when it comes to developing and implementing policy solutions. After this program, I hope to work with the Government of Canada and communities to continue learning about the complexities of policy decisions and how to implement them on the ground. 

If you are interested in policy — whether you are passionate about a specific issue or you are just curious about how to work in the large and complex world of public policy, I would recommend this program. Coming from a background in criminology, where my interest in policy was narrowed to the functioning of justice systems, the MPPA has introduced me to new policy issues and provided me with functional and extensive ways to thinking about and responding to such issues. I also really enjoy the diversity of my program. My colleagues come from across Canada and disciplines, so it is a great opportunity to learn about different issues affecting different communities. Through the MPPA, you have the opportunity to explore diverse and current policy problems, as well as to learn how to think about them (and their solutions) from different perspectives. 

My advice for someone interested in applying to the MPPA would be to reach out to past and current students, as well as faculty, and ask about their experiences. I would also say to think about what you want out of a graduate degree (such as professional versus research opportunities). A really cool thing about public policy is that it is interdisciplinary. This means that even if you did not study political science or a policy specific area, but are still interested in policy, you can still succeed in the program and use your past experiences to inform your policy perspectives.