Adrienne Harry

Kelly Husack came into the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program with an interest in the social determinants of health. Now, as she sets to graduate in June, Husack has hit the ground running as a policy analyst with the City of Regina — and has an opportunity to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The work I’m doing right now is in community well-being and inclusion. Whether it’s recreation programs that the City of Regina offers, or analyzing policies that are coming from the provincial and federal government, I’m looking at how these things impact the citizens of Regina,” says Husack. “The work that we’re doing is currently being adapted by COVID-19. So, I’m taking skills that I just learned in the MPP program and applying them to the pandemic right now in the context of our work.”

Husack came to the MPP program with a background in Kinesiology and experience working in the non-profit sector in Regina. She was drawn to the Master of Public Policy program because it would give her an opportunity to expand her understanding of policy from a public health perspective. “I did a specialization in public health policy through the MPP program and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. I was interested in the underlying socioeconomic pieces that ultimately drive our health,” says Husack. “My time in the program allowed me to gather an in-depth picture of exactly what policy is and see the role that I can play in its development in order to have an impact. Being able to work for the City of Regina during the COVID-19 pandemic means I’ve been able to contribute to what society will ultimately look like coming out of this.”

Husack says the network she built through her experiences in the MPP program set her up for career success. She was director of client relations at the Public Good Initiative, an MPP student-led initiative that provides pro-bono consulting services to non-profit organizations in the Greater Toronto Area. She also interned at the Ontario Public Service in the Ministry of Education, where she analyzed policies that related to the province’s students and their well-being. She says that the connections she made in these initiatives have made a lasting impact. “The experience I gained at my internship really allowed me to jump into my current role right away and feel confident in my abilities. I was presenting policy options and documents to my supervisor and contributing to meetings within my first week or two. I wouldn’t have felt confident doing so if I hadn’t had that internship under my belt,” she says.

The tangible skills she gained were important and bolstered by collaborating with her peers both in and out of the classroom. “Throughout the MPP program, we get to work together quite a bit. There’s no one in the program that I haven’t had some sort of meaningful connection with, either through coursework or the Public Good Initiative or as the director of finance for the MPP Student Association. I was really able to learn and develop alongside some incredible students in the program and was inspired every day by their different perspectives,” says Husack. “And creating a network in Ontario during my internship has already been beneficial to my current work in Saskatchewan. It helps me understand other systems better, and I have contacts in different municipalities that I can call when doing jurisdictional scans. In terms of my leadership skills and professional development, the lessons gleaned from the MPP program that have ultimately shaped me as a policy professional.”

June 2, 2020