Graduates of the School’s programs embark on a wide range of career paths in the broad area of public service and public affairs. The video interviews, alumni profiles, and stories of our distinguished alumni provide a snapshot of these paths.
Annabelle Ragsag is an alumni of the Public Policy and Program Evaluation program. Read about her experiences at the SPPA below
Q: How did you know that Carleton SPPA’s DPPE was the right program for you?
“Carleton SPPA’s DPPE program felt right to my circumstances as someone with policy analysis experience, a newcomer to Canada, and a mother to a young child. First, I have been working in research and evaluation with international/intergovernmental organizations before I took the graduate diploma in public policy and program evaluation. However, I did not have a formalized training in the evaluation practice, so I really wanted to build up my evaluation literacy. Second, the DPPE, as the program title already signals, takes program evaluation within the broader context of public policy. This is important to me, because it recognizes that evaluation is an important component to solving relevant and real-world problems. Third, people who immigrate gain a lot from the experience of moving, but they lose too – in terms of context. The DPPE was part of my process of understanding the Canadian context and the breadth and width of Canada-specific evaluation. Fourth, there are positives and negatives to a remotely delivered course. But the online nature of the DPPE has allowed me, a mother to a very young child, to participate fully to the courses, the group work, and the program.”
Q: What was the transition like from school to the workforce?
“After the program, I was recruited as Program Development and Evaluation Coordinator at the Immigrants Working Centre in Hamilton, and also I volunteered to the Evaluation Committee of my city’s Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council. The program provides an edge of the seat training where one can apply what one has learned right away.”
Q: How did the education you got at the school empower you through your career?
“The DPPE program has also made me reaffirm my love for research and evaluation. I am currently involved in research work as a PhD student in McMaster University studying the intersections of digitalization, social policy, and COVID-19 pandemic and have co-founded a network to collaborate, support, engage, and educate fellow Filipina/xs in my city through the Filipinas of HamOnt where we got funding for two years now to implement our research-based instructional programs, and sit on the board of the Canadian Evaluation Society-ON chapter.
The instructors at the DPPE program have mentored and supported my many endeavors. I have been out of the program for a year now but the link with them remains. I am thankful to Dr. Jane Whynot, Prof. Robert Shepherd, and the entire DPPE faculty and administrators for the really meaningful and rich DPPE programming.”
Q: What was the most memorable experience during your time at the School?
“Being connected fully in an intellectually stimulating environment to my peers and my instructors even if the courses are all online. Because the program is designed intentionally to be online rather than forced by a pandemic – the learning process is also optimally made to be responsive to students’ needs in an online context.
Collaborating on an actual evaluation project with my project team – Nima Ghomeshi and Maya Jelali has also been very memorable.
We navigated and worked together despite our different locations and different states of our Wi-Fi connections – I was, and still am in Southwestern Ontario, one was in Nunavut, and the other was on a work assignment in Eastern Europe. Our contact for our practicum was based in a South Asian country but was constantly travelling around the world for work. The people we interviewed for the practicum’s data collection were from different parts of the world so organizing a focus group discussion needed a proper logistical plan.”
Q: Do you have any advice for current or future students?
“The DPPE program at Carleton University provides an edge of the seat and word-class training that absolute beginners in evaluation can bring right away to their respective practices. But if one has already evaluation or policy related experience, the program has also something to offer. I certainly do appreciate the formal training in evaluation as this connects acquired evaluation skills to broader frameworks and values that should guide the evaluation practice. Further, this is a place to network among peers and instructors who are very much embedded in Canadian and international evaluation circles.”