Grad student wins prize for original research on Canadian public administration

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Jennifer Holmes Weier, who completed her Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law degree in August 2022, won first place at the National Student and Thought Leadership Awards which recognizes excellence in research. The award was presented jointly by the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada.

Jennifer Holmes Weier
Jennifer Holmes Weier

Holmes Weier’s research paper “Bursting the Ottawa Bubble: Government dispersal and localization in the context of a diversity strategy” was among several nominated from across Canada. The finalists presented their findings to a panel of judges who selected first, second and third prize winners.

Holmes Weier studied the role of lived experience (specifically geographic location) and how the Canadian federal civil service can become more diverse and inclusive. She interviewed 19 senior executives at Employment and Social Development Canada. The interviews resulted in rich data that informed the findings, conclusions and recommendations.

“What an amazing experience,” said Holmes Weier. “My colleagues from other programs across Canada presented fascinating work and I learned a lot from them. The presentation went by in a flash. The impressive judges asked thought-provoking questions that made me think about my work and its implications a bit differently – always a good sign.”

One of the judges, York University Professor Zachary Spicer said the strength of each presentation made it a difficult decision for the panel of judges.” The students competing brought new, innovative ideas and thoroughly impressive projects,” said Spicer. “Jennifer presented a unique study, focused on timely policy challenges. The judges were impressed with her approach, methodology and unique research design. She stood out immediately and handled questions from the judges with ease.”

Holmes Weier said she was “humbled to have had the opportunity to represent the Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law program and York University.”

She also gave credit to York University Professors Thomas Klassen and Naomi Couto for their support.

Couto, director of the Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law program, said “we have so many remarkable graduate students at York, what a pleasure to give back by nominating our students for internal and external awards to recognize their achievements.”

Learn more about the awards.