Marina Kwak


MPA '18


Current location

Ottawa, Ontario


Master of Public Administration (Dalhousie University)
Bachelor of Science with minors in Bioethics and Health Studies (Dalhousie University)

Current Employment

Program Officer (EC), AAFC-AAC, Government of Canada


How did you get to your current position?

I obtained my current position through the recruitment for ECDP (Economics and Social Science Services Development Program). It was a rigorous, competitive and long process; however, worth the hard work and patience. This program enables you to start off as an indeterminate with accelerated promotions. I highly advise all MPAs who are interested in the federal public service to apply for this program.

What skills did Dal help you develop?

Dalhousie MPA provides excellent education and support for their students which open many opportunities in public service and beyond by developing mandatory and relevant skills.

I was involved in the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) case competition which helped in improving presentation, policy analysis and collaboration skills. My involvement in Atlantic Conference on Public Administration (ACPA) also improved conference organization, paper presentation and networking skills which helped when I organized Bioethics conference in 2018.

There are research opportunities through professors and/or courses which may lead to a publication. This opportunity may make up for the non-thesis MPA and may help if you are interested in PhD after.

Lastly, the flexibility of taking courses outside School of Public Administration enables you to explore your interest at a graduate level. For instance, I was able to receive a more in-depth education in Bioethics through Directed Reading. The skills and opportunities that Dalhousie MPA provided are enormous and practical.

What’s you next big career goal?

My next career goal is moving from the executive to judicial branch in public service. Working in public service and studying at Dalhousie MPA broadened my interest from bioethics, health and policy to social justice and law. I have no doubt that the knowledge, skill and professionalism I gained through Dalhousie MPA and my career would serve me well in my next journey.

How was your experience in the MPA internship program

MPA internship program is an integral part of Dalhousie MPA. This program provides starting career for many MPA students. I did my MPA internship program with the federal government in Gatineau which enabled me to broaden my interest, better understand the government system and apply the theories into actions. The MPA internship program may not be your first career upon graduation. Nevertheless, the knowledge, experience and skill from MPA internship program are valuable assets that you will seize better opportunities instead.

Any advice for future MPA students?

Dalhousie MPA provides an excellent foundation and opportunity. And of course, it depends on what you make it. My advice would be to follow your interest (strategically) and everything else will fall into places. MPA might be a big change from your current background and education; however, don’t be afraid to make the change. The diversity is what the public service and Dalhousie MPA are seeking. The nervousness you have might be an excitement and a sign that you are on the right track. Lastly, always take the initiative, apply and get involved, never self-screen out!