Professional guidance and expert advice for uOttawa students

Posted on Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Cedric Lepine, Chantal Bernier
Public and International Affairs student Cédric Lépine and Senior Fellow Chantal Bernier.

“Where do I start?” “How am I going to get an internship?” The stresses of today’s job student job market leave many young people in need of support. That’s where mentors come in – professionals in residence who help students overcome the challenges of their masters and transition from their studies to related employment- an absolutely invaluable partnership.

The Graduate School of Public and International Affairs offers its students a mentorship program that goes above and beyond their academic lives. Each student is matched with a professional-in-residence, who becomes their mentor: they act as a professional development counsellor, to complement the academic training of the masters’ program. They assist their students in developing their professional skills, direct their career search, and to help perform to the best of their abilities once they have found a job or internship.

For Stéphane McCartin, a student of GSPIA, his involvement in the mentoring program gave him valuable support. His mentor, the renowned diplomat Louise Fréchette, helped him refine his professional skills, but also lent a hand when it came to his assignments. “Our discussions gave me a much greater understanding of the inner workings of different Canadian federal ministries.” says Stéphane. “This ended up being really helpful, especially when I applied for co-op jobs in public works. She also offered me a lot of good advice about my class projects.”

Each professional-in-residence meets with their student at least twice per semester, guiding them in their career searches and pointing out areas for improvement; the guidance each student receives is completely personalized. Stéphane certainly benefitted from his mentor’s expertise: “I wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, so it was really helpful for me to discuss the career path Mme Fréchette took before becoming an ambassador. I’ve got a much clearer idea of what I have to do to in order to find a career in this field. Talking with someone with so much practical experience helped me understand many things that weren’t clear before.”

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