In the upcoming 2024 Fall semester, the SPPA mentorship program for BIPOC students will expand to potentially include mentors from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Transport Canada to build on the program’s existing relationship with Statistics Canada.

What is SPPA’s BIPOC Mentorship Program?

The SPPA BIPOC Mentorship Program is a one-on-one mentorship opportunity for current SPPA Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour (BIPOC) students. The program offers an invaluable opportunity for students to hear from someone who has successfully made this transition, and meet with them to ask questions, understand career options and share lived experiences as a racialized or Indigenous professionals in the federal public service.

The objectives of the program include:

  1. to provide unique opportunities to discuss and share lived experiences of racialized and Indigenous public servants;
  2. to increase professional networking opportunities for racialized and Indigenous students;
  3. to improve student understanding of the different types of policy-related careers in the federal public service;
  4. to guide students applying for Government of Canada jobs and navigating the hiring process as a BIPOC community member;

The program is quite informal – mentors and mentees meet either in person or online and discuss topics of their own choosing, including how to find jobs within the federal public service, how to move up with in the public service and how to deal with being a BIPOC federal civil servant. There are no requirements and no formal beginning and ending dates.

Emeritus Professor Saul Schwartz and former SPPA Diversity Representative Avee Purohit are now managing the program. Together, they recently reached out to both ESDC and Transport, both of which are enthusiastic about providing mentors this fall.


The idea for a mentorship program came from the SPPA Society in the summer after George Floyd was killed in May 2020. The idea was taken up by SPPA’s first Anti-Racism Committee (ARC) and moved forward by then 2nd year MPPA student Joyce Wamambo, who served as the Diversity Representative for the SPPA Student Society.  It was through Joyce Wamambo that a relationship was established with Statistics Canada to establish this mentoring program specifically for BIPOC students.

Photo of Avee Purohit holding award

Avee Purohit

photo of HJouce Wamambo holding award

Joyce Wamambo

In 2023 Avee Purohit and Joyce Wamambo were recognized by the Faculty of Public Affairs with the Equity & Inclusion Excellence Award, for this work they did while students in the School of Public policy and Administration.  The Equity & Inclusion Excellence Award recognizes significant contributions by an individual or group of faculty, staff, and students towards equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization (EDID) in the Faculty of Public Affairs.

Interested to participate or just learn more?

You can email to be put in touch with the program managers – Emeritus Professor Saul Schwartz or SPPA Alumna Avee Purohit .

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