Munk One student Kaelem Moniz with Member of Provincial Parliament Adil Shamji.
Munk One, Munk School

A Munk One Slam Dunk: How Munk One led to my internship with a Member of Provincial Parliament

From Munk One to the halls of the Ontario legislature, my internship with a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) is an adventure I’ll never forget. Throughout my time as a Munk One student, I’ve found that it provides opportunities both in and out of the classroom. We’ve enjoyed research projects like ethnographies and real-world intervention assessments, all punching above our weight as first years. For me, however, a lasting impact of the Munk One program is the possibility it provides. Through Munk One, I gained an internship with a Member of Provincial Parliament, Dr. Adil Shamji. During the school year, and this May and June, I will be at Queen’s Park helping the MPP with legislative duties like policy making. I’ve always been interested in public policy and governmental issues - but at the year’s beginning, I couldn’t have anticipated how Munk One would provide me with the tools to fill that passion.

Five young people in a stand with many signs that read "patients not profits"One of the more memorable experiences of the Munk One program is our fall reading week Case Competition. Students split into groups are provided 24 hours to design an intervention for a real-world problem articulated by Munk One alumni. Of course, no case competition problem is easily solved - and it is up to the three expert judges to decide which group’s solution is the most ambitious, has the most potential, and is still practical. The 2022 tournament involved Ontario’s healthcare crisis. Hospitals are overloaded while mental health emergencies have spiked. The COVID pandemic isn’t over, and we face a shortage of key healthcare workers. The problem runs deep and is understandably difficult to solve - so my group proposed a bandaid to alleviate pressures and begin heading in the right direction. My group’s solution involved bolstering health literacy, the degree to which individuals have the ability to attain and understand information about their health. This way, we reasoned, individuals would put less pressure on the healthcare system for easily managed problems, while also experiencing lower mental health crises over their well-being. One of the three judges was MPP Adil Shamji, an emergency room doctor who had served some of Ontario’s most vulnerable communities, ranging from people experiencing homelessness to people isolated in the Far North. As the Liberal Health Critic, he advocates for resolving the crisis through ambitious and yet practical means. Among the many great ideas discussed that day, my group managed to win the Case Competition. When all was said and done, I connected with MPP Shamji, and he informed me that he was interested in forming a youth council that would advise him on the issues that mattered most to young Ontarians. As a student in Munk One, a program which allows significant theoretical applications of policymaking, I jumped at the opportunity to assist in developing policy that can help real people and have a positive impact on their real lives. Using the learnings gained from the Munk One program, I became President of the council, and eventually an intern in his office, where I sit today.

Munk One student raising a large hockey trophy.Truthfully, I was initially skeptical of the Case Competition’s value - after all, it was a chunk of time out of our valuable reading week. But in hindsight, the Case Competition allowed me to pursue my passion for public policy. In MPP Shamji’s office, I have been afforded opportunities beyond the wildest imagination of a first-year undergraduate student. I was at Queen’s Park on Budget Day, where my task was to read through the 2023 Ontario Provincial Budget and flag policy decisions pertaining to college and university students. I’ve supported MPP Shamji in his visits to many different communities, where I’ve been able to learn more about the policy decisions which matter most to Ontarians firsthand. My internship opportunity enables me to explore real social issues, in a really complex world. The Munk One Case Competition was significant as it allowed me to design and explore a solution to a problem affecting Ontarians today. As part of my internship, I am currently involved in developing and implementing a Private Member’s Bill which will seek to do just that, in real life. No spoilers just yet though! The fun hasn’t started yet - and I look forward to continuing my work at Queen’s Park guided by the research strategies and experiential knowledge I gained through Munk One. For me, Munk One will never quite be Munk Done.