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Woman in a white safety helmet with safety goggles, a breathing mask and orange protective clothing. She is standing in a mine holding a large chunk of stone.

MPA grad Carolina Chang on a mining expedition. Credit: C. Chang

MPA grad bridges the gap from mining to government

Hopes to advance reconciliation and make life better for Manitobans

June 3, 2024 — 

Carolina Chang [MPA/2024] is a mining geologist who, while working in mines across Canada, saw firsthand how it can bring incredible economic development opportunities to communities but can also cause social and environmental harm. In five years working in the industry, she became interested in “how provincial, territorial, federal and Indigenous governments work together to leverage resource development for community development and advancing reconciliation.” She chose the Masters in Public Administration program jointly offered by the University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg to develop skills in public administration, public opinion and public policy to help her make a career change that would bridge the gap between industry and government. This spring, Chang graduates with an MPA.

“I was drawn to the MPA program because of the co-op option,” Chang shared. “Completing a work term with the Manitoba government helped me make the transition to the public service. It was a crash course in speaking the language of government that helped me better market my existing and transferable skills.” During her second year of the MPA program, Chang moved into a permanent position with the province of Manitoba.

“The last two years have encouraged me to shift my focus from all the problems that need to be solved, toward what the solutions could be,” said Chang. She specifically mentioned the impact that Dr. Andrea Rounce, professor, author and expert in public administration, public policy and public opinion, has had on her. “Dr. Rounce has the ability to moderate discussions around challenging topics where people have different perspectives and values at the same time as creating a space where students are comfortable sharing their ideas and disagreeing with each other. It’s a skill I’m definitely trying to adopt for myself in both professional and personal spheres.”

Over the next few years, Chang hopes to continue to gain experience in “navigating the machinery of government as a policy analyst” with future plans that can draw from her mining background and “work directly in federal or provincial mining policy to advance resource development to meet Canada’s net-zero emissions goals in a responsible way that respects Indigenous sovereignty.”

Chang has advice for others who may be thinking about going back to school full-time. “After working in industry for five years, it was definitely challenging. In the university setting, detaching sense of value and capability from grades can be difficult. Knowing this, I would tell new students to focus on your effort over outcome and the rest will fall into place. We’re all just here to learn, improve our professional capabilities and maybe have a bit of fun the process.”

As for her new professional community, Chang is continually impressed by her public servant colleagues, “I am grateful to join a community who are curious, creative and committed to making life better for Manitobans.”

Learn more about the Masters in Public Administration program.


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