The Department of Political Science at Kwantlen Polytechnic University continues its mentorship program which pairs students with local MPs or Members of the Legislative Assembly.
The program launched in the fall of 2021 and it gives students pursuing a degree in political science a clear picture of where their degrees may take them. While still a fledgling business, a few students have now seen how elected officials do their jobs.
Jemma Heathcote is a political science major and one of the students participating in the mentorship program. Heathcote has always had an interest in politics, and when political science instructor Dr Ross Michael Pink and KPU announced the creation of the political mentorship program, Heathcote handed over a copy of his resume to send to future deputies and deputies.
“I was matched with the Honorable Carolyn Finley from South Surrey—White Rock, she’s a Conservative MP,” says Heathcote.
Working with an MP, Heathcote found that there is no typical working day for an MP or MP and describe as a “fast environment”. Heathcote says the constituency office has been very busy since the House of Commons has been sitting.
“So back in the office with the other office staff, we pretty much shut down the entire operation, answer all the phone calls, answer all the emails, go do this communication back and forth. And of course having to respond to constituency concerns,” says Heathcote.
“Since my MP is back in Ottawa, we just need to keep this communication going [and] let the people of South Surrey-White Rock know that their concerns are always heard and there are people who are listening.
Ty Huston also participated in the program before going to Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia to study international relations. Huston worked four months with MP Megan Dykeman in Langley East constituency.
“For MPs from British Columbia, you are going to Victoria for the week. You go home on Friday, and then you only have the weekend to work in your community. And then you really have no time for your family and then nothing for a hobby or anything outside of that,” says Huston.
Huston hopes the program will provide the experience needed to advance in the political landscape. He joined to gain more experience in politics and understand the inner workings of working in politics, and if it was something he wanted to do.
Pink says he wants students to get valuable hands-on experience in politics that isn’t available in the lecture hall.
Citing his own past experience in the public and private sectors, Pink found that “80% of jobs are never advertised,” making it essential that university students have the opportunity to learn on the job and network with others. others.
“All of the offices I’ve spoken to are very enthusiastic and eager to support students, I mean most people are eager to support student learning and development,” says Pink.