L-R: (top) Jessica Ascencio, Sulaiman Jalloh, Nataliia Karpiak, Iryna Soloduk, Amanda Noubarian, Meaghen Boiteau, (bottom) Betty Ann Pottruff, Honourable Russ Mirasty, Her Honour Donna Mirasty
L-R: (top) Jessica Ascencio, Sulaiman Jalloh, Nataliia Karpiak, Iryna Soloduk, Amanda Noubarian, Meaghen Boiteau, (bottom) Betty Ann Pottruff, Honourable Russ Mirasty, Her Honour Donna Mirasty

JSGS alumni and students recognized at the 2019 IPAC Saskatchewan's Annual Awards Banquet

Congratulations to JSGS alumni and students and IPAC award recipients Iryna Soloduk, Yessica Ascensio, Sulaiman Jalloh, Amanda Noubarian, and Nataliia Karpiak.

The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School would like to congratulate this year's recipients of the Promising New Professional Award, Doug Stevens Scholarship, and the IPAC Academic Award, all recognized this year at the annual IPAC Saskatchewan ceremony held at Government House on September 12, 2019.

"The IPAC awards are important as they indicate the close linkages between the study of public policy as an academic pursuit and the day-to-day public policy work employed by the government at the provincial and federal levels," says Doug Moen, JSGS executive director. "JSGS is proud of these award recipients, as these awards speak to the quality of our students and illustrate the relevance of the teaching and learning materials delivered by the school."

Iryna Soloduk

Promising New Professional Award in Public Administration

Iryna became a certificated professional tour guide in 2011 and completed the Youth and Authority internship with the Tourism Department of Regional Department of Economic and Integration Development in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk. The spirit of adventure then brought Iryna to Lithuania where she took courses to improve her English and experience the Lithuanian language and culture.

It was around this time that Iryna gained interest in project organization and government administration, which led her to explore the move to Canada to pursue a master's degree in Public Administration.  She completed the MPA program in 2014, and started her professional career with the Ministry of Social Services, first as a summer student, then as a JSGS intern, and later on as a permanent employee in continuous improvement and planning. In 2018, Iryna became Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister and then transitioned to the same role for the Ministry of Government Relations.

Iryna has called Regina home now for 7 years. She married her husband Myron in 2017 and is currently enjoying maternity leave with her 3-month old baby boy.

Yessica Ascencio, MPA candidate

IPAC Academic Award

Yessica began her career with the Government of Saskatchewan in 2007, as a summer student. In 2009, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Regina. Soon after, she moved to Melfort, Saskatchewan having secured a position as a Career and Employment Counsellor. She provided career development services to support individuals in meeting their education, career and employment goals; and, managed partnerships and service agreements with various community entities. From Melfort, she moved to Yorkton, and after one more move, she settled in Regina where she presently resides with her husband and daughter.

“Having the opportunity to live and work in both rural and urban communities has given me a greater appreciation for the work of the public service, but also made me aware of the challenges and opportunities of program and service delivery across the province.”

Yessica sought to learn more. 

“I had a desire to make a broader impact which is why I wanted to learn more about public policy. I initially enrolled in a certificate program with JSGS then transitioned to the Master’s in Public Administration. I have been able to apply what I’ve learned from my classes directly to my work.”

In 2016, she secured a policy analyst position and most recently, is working on a systems modernization project.

Sulaiman Jallah, MPA Candidate

IPAC Academic Award

Sulaiman's passion for serving motivates him in his journey towards a career in public administration. He holds a BSc in Social Work from the University of Sierra Leone, a Certificate in Public Management from the University of Illinoi at Urbana-Champaign through the MW Fellowship in the United State of America and is currently working on his Master of Public Administration at the University of Regina. Sulaiman also has more than five years of work experience in multiple agencies both governmental and non-profit. These organizations include IsraAID Humanitarian Agency (Israel), Save the Children International (UK), Street Child (UK), Pekin Padi Network (Sierra Leone), Mott MacDonald Company (UK) and the Ministry of Education Sierra Leone.

He has served as a psychosocial support field officer and supervisor, lead research assistant, assistant project manager, co-evaluator, monitoring and evaluation manager and education program manager. Sulaiman has also participated in multiple research activities and co-authored two journal articles.

If you ask him, Sulaiman would say that his future goal is to further improve his skills and participate fully in serving the public. He is interested in exploring social issues using mixed methodologies and supporting the remedy process through evidence-based practices.

As a recipient of the IPAC Academic Award, Sulaiman is motivated by the support he has received from distinguished academics, professionals, his family and the public. 

Amanda Noubarian, MPA candidate

IPAC Doug Stevens Public Policy Graduate Student Scholarships

Amanda came to JSGS with a social science background, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology (2008), as well as certificates in Spanish (2008) and International Development (2017). In addition to part-time graduate studies, she works full-time in the field of adult education as an Academic Coordinator & Advisor in the Faculty of Social Work.  At home, she is supported by her husband of three years, who is also her partner in raising their beautiful 11-year-old daughter.

Prior to beginning in the MPA program, Amanda completed the Master’s Certificate in Public Policy Analysis, also through JSGS. In both programs, she has pursued research in several of her areas of interest, examining topics such as:

  • Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy;
  • Intimate Partner Violence among Immigrant Women;
  • Reconciliation & Indigenous Resurgence;
  • Leadership Development for Newcomers in the Saskatchewan Public Service.

Notably, the latter project was a group effort, which Amanda presented in the Policy Research Poster Competition at the 2019 Tansley Lecture, earning the People’s Choice Award.

While at JSGS, Amanda has had the privilege of collaborating with and learning from a diverse student body and inspirational instructors. These interactions have shaped her ability to consider issues from a broader lens than her own, and have been a major factor in her growth and development in public administration.

Her goal in pursuing graduate studies has always been to address issues of inequity across policy sectors. As a recipient of the IPAC Doug Stevens Public Policy Graduate Student Award, she is motivated to continue working hard as a student in JSGS, as her goal becomes increasingly attainable. This recognition has given her renewed hope for the future that she will make a meaningful difference in people’s lives as a public servant.


Nataliia Karpiak, MPA candidate

IPAC Doug Stevens Public Policy Graduate Student Scholarships

Originally, from Ukraine, Nataliia Karpiak began her studies at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy’s University of Regina campus in 2018.

Prior to arriving in Saskatchewan, Nataliia studied at the University of Ukraine where she received her Master of Business Administration degree and volunteered with AIESEC, an international student-run organization geared at making the world a better place by developing youth leadership potential. During this time, Nataliia was chosen twice by AISEC to participate in an international traineeship where she had an opportunity to integrate into both Polish and Macedonian work settings.

In addition to her studies and volunteer work, Nataliia spent nine years working at one of Ukraine’s most progressive and innovative banks, and an additional four years working in a small private company, where she had considerable influence on major policies and practices.

Nataliia joined the JSGS as a way to learn more about the complex interactions between the public and private sectors and society, as a means of creating mutually beneficial progress. It is her desire to contribute to public and social change, and takes all opportunities available to her to gain additional insight, whether it be through participating in scholarship competitions, case competitions, attending conferences, workshops, lectures or networking events.

Now, Nataliia combines her studies with an executive internship at the Ministry of Government Relations. She strongly believes that hard work, together with clear goals, can lead to personal success and to making a social impact.