Kathleen Patterson

MPA '11

Current location

Halifax, Nova Scotia


Bachelor of Arts, (Double Major in Philosophy and Gender and Women’s Studies), Dalhousie University
Master of Public Administration, Dalhousie University

Current employment

Policy and Performance Management Advisor, Halifax Regional Municipality, Halifax Regional Police

How did you get to your current position?

After graduation from the MPA program I moved to Ottawa and was employed with the Government of Canada as a Policy Analyst for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) in their Social Policy and Programs branch, overseeing the national implementation and administration of the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program.

After two and a half years of working federally I decided I needed a new challenge and began researching jobs back home in Halifax. I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to work at the Halifax Regional Police and have been with the Department since June 17, 2013. My previous and current positions have allowed me to pursue my passion of working for social change and an MPA made all of that possible. 

What skills did Dal help you develop?

The breadth of classes offered has enabled me to look at policy from a variety of perspectives, which ensures that I look at all sides of an issue before implementing any policy change. For example, one may not think that the course “Policy of the Sea” would be relevant to policy written for the Halifax Regional Police. However, in that course we learned about jurisdictional boundaries and who has jurisdiction over things like the Halifax Harbour in times of crisis. I was able to apply that knowledge directly to a policy change I made just a few weeks ago. 

How was your experience in the MPA internship program?

I worked as a Junior Policy Analyst for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) in their First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program in the summer of 2010. It was very easy to apply the knowledge I gained in the first year of the MPA to practical scenarios in this program area. For example, I was able to use the skills I gained to properly identify program-specific performance measurement indicators which then fed into the development of a branch-specific performance measurement strategy.

Any advice for future MPA students?

My advice would be to not limit yourself to one level of government. Upon graduation I moved to Ottawa to work federally and three years later I am working municipally. Each level of government has a different style of policy and process but each level is equally rewarding.