Alice Gaudreau (M.Sc. Knowledge transfer and mobilization, 2020)
Junior Policy Analyst, Employment and Social Development Canada
“My training at INRS allowed me to understand the importance of research in society and to be able to apply it in different practice settings, including government and community settings.”
A graduate of McGill University with a Bachelor’s degree in industrial relations, Alice Gaudreau attended an INRS open house where her contact with the faculty was inspiring in her choice of studies at INRS. Meeting Professor María Eugenia Longo was the determining factor, as her work and approach to research were very similar to Alice's interests.
“The training I received at INRS allowed me to understand the importance of research in society and to be able to apply it in different practice settings, including government and community settings,” says Alice. “Professor Longo was an outstanding research supervisor who instilled her passion in me. During my master's degree, I was able to assist her as coordinator of the Employment and Entrepreneurship component of the Quebec Youth Research Network Chair and as a research assistant for certain research projects in the Education, Citizenship and Culture component. I was able to attend their meetings, organize large-scale events, support research projects; so many projects that allowed me to observe the direct link that existed between INRS and the actors of public action.”
Alice explains that her time at INRS was a determining factor in her career:
“During these two years of my master’s degree, I realized the importance of making collaborations and partnerships to be able to put research work into action and apply it to a practice setting. I had this preconceived notion that in research, you work alone in your office with your data. This is sometimes true, but by joining forces with different social and research groups, you develop access to expertise and a multitude of resources that allow you to carry out larger-scale projects.”
She goes on to add:
“My work with María Eugenia Longo's team now allows me to put my research expertise into practice and to combine it with public youth employment policies. It was during my master's degree that I developed the theoretical foundation I have on youth public policy, and that I had the opportunity to go into the field to collect qualitative data from youth employment organizations such as those funded by the ministry. This allows me to better understand the issues experienced by our service providers and to think about relevant changes to our program.”
After spending two years at the Centre Urbanisation Culture Société, Alice has fond memories: “I had the opportunity to move between the Montreal and Quebec City campuses. INRS offers a stimulating and inspiring work environment. During my first year in Montreal, I was able to take advantage of the proximity of the Saint-Louis Square to conduct a participant observation in a beautiful green space!”
As soon as she graduated, Alice returned to the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada where she had done her master’s internship: “I have been working there for a year and a half as a policy analyst, within the same team I had worked for. I have been able to discover all sorts of ways to make scientific research known outside the walls of the university and to better understand public policy.”
Her wishes for the future? “Research is perhaps not sufficiently exploited as a source of information outside the university setting. I hope to see research used to its full potential in a wide variety of settings, especially in government to support evidence-based policy.”
Any advice for our students?
“I would recommend that students remain open to opportunities that arise spontaneously during their graduate studies, even when they are not directly related to their research focus. Some collaborations can sometimes lead to exciting projects that allow students to explore new horizons and become researchers with multiple skills.”
[As interviewed in 2022.]