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JSGS USask graduate invests in her future and community

A self-proclaimed city-dweller with rural roots, Abby Wolfe enjoys many aspects of life in Saskatchewan, including bird watching and gardening. Her interest in the Saskatchewan community encompasses everything from engaging with nature to learning and working in areas of community development.

Wolfe is a passionate contributor to the non-profit sector who finds many ways to apply her Bachelor of Kinesiology (Health Promotion & Human Kinetics majors) to her role as the Public Awareness Coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan. A natural leader, she is also a member of the International Association of Business Communicators, a provincial lead with Dementia-Friendly Canada, and a future alumna of Leadership Saskatoon. On June 1, 2021, Wolfe will add another title to her list of growing accomplishments— Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) alumna. With the University of Saskatchewan (USask) convocation ceremonies held virtually this spring due to COVID-19, Wolfe will take in the online ceremony to celebrate her achievement as a new graduate of the Non-Profit Management Certificate program.

 “I was intrigued by the Non-Profit Management program at JSGS, as I wanted to increase my knowledge base and gain insights that would improve my ability to make meaningful contributions to this vital sector both now and in the future,” said Wolfe.

The school’s certificate program was appealing to her because of its flexibility in both location and hours. Wolfe was looking for a school that could accommodate her full-time work with a non-profit organization and her need to travel frequently between Regina and Saskatoon without compromising the quality of her education.

“JSGS provided the best of both worlds. Not only is the school well-regarded, but it has campuses in both Regina and Saskatoon, and offers condensed classes that made it possible to complete the certificate within one year while working full-time.”

Before beginning classes, Wolfe connected with Dr. Iryna Khovrenkov (PhD) over the phone to discuss the structure of the program, learning objectives, and her interest in the non-profit sector.

“As a 'would-be' student approaching my first graduate-level program, that conversation made a big impact as it made me feel welcomed, and it acknowledged my enthusiasm for excellence in the non-profit sector. It also reinforced my decision that this school was right for me.”

Wolfe says that the practical information she learned from classes, and guest lectures from professionals in the field were very valuable to her. Her first assignment involved interviewing a non-profit sector leader as the basis of a report and presentation.

“This assignment allowed me to connect with an executive director at a local non-profit while creating a channel of communication that helped me learn about a new organization outside of my typical area of expertise,” said Wolfe. “I created a connection with this individual whom I greatly respect and still connect with to this day.”

She was also surprised by just how much she learned about the public sector from students enrolled in the school’s MPA program, in particular how the public sectors interact and rely on each other.

Looking back on the courses she enjoyed most, JSGS 811 and 882 stood out to Wolfe.

“JSGS 882: Strategic Management in the Public Sector helped me to learn about the public sector and the nuances in its approach and structure which dictate how intersectoral collaboration and communication occurs”, she said. “JSGS 811: Non-Governmental Organizations and Alternate Service Delivery was most memorable to me because of the instructor's genuine interest in the subject matter and the opportunities it provided to learn from guest speakers with practical experience.”

Wolfe is excited to apply the perspectives and skills she learned during her courses to her career.

“I am eager to continue my career in the non-profit sector while increasing my areas of responsibility and opportunities to use my experience to provide leadership to others,” said Wolfe. “I have a vision of a future where I work closely with communities to promote health, address barriers, and foster inclusion in meaningful ways. I welcome the opportunities the future brings me and know I have been well-prepared to embark on such because of my studies to date.”

To prospective students of the Non-Profit Management Certificate at JSGS (particularly those who identify as women), Wolfe encourages you to apply.

“Don't second-guess whether you are ready to take the leap into graduate studies or be daunted by navigating online classes. Compile your questions and arrange a conversation with the supportive and welcoming advisors at JSGS,” said Wolfe. “Be fearless in pursuing this investment in your future career and the expertise this credential can bring to your non-profit sector contributions.”

To students beginning their studies in the Non-Profit Management Certificate program, Wolfe urges you to soak in every lesson by bringing genuine curiosity and openness to your approach to learning.

“Listen to others with experiences that differ from yours—this is your opportunity to broaden your perspective, challenge your assumptions, and make connections to future colleagues, collaborators, and mentors.”