After switching to the political science program at uOttawa’s School of Political Studies, second-year student Danna El-Arab found herself in Introduction to Canadian Politics (POL 2101), a course taught by Professor André Lecours, who has integrated Community Service Learning (CSL) into the curriculum. “Having recently switched programs, CSL was the perfect opportunity to jump-start volunteer work related to my new field of study. I was able to enhance my community involvement while enriching my understanding of concepts covered in class,” said Danna.
She opted to work as an administrative assistant in the parliamentary offices of MP Jenny Kwan, who is NDP Immigration Critic. In doing so, Danna gained first-hand experience in the role every person plays in the overall success of the office. “[I] developed valuable skills that will benefit me in my academic career and in my future work endeavours. It also helped me discover interests in particular social issues,” said Danna. Her tasks included entering data and then analysing it, drafting responses to correspondence from constituents, summarizing reports provided by stakeholder organizations, and helping to prepare committee reports.
Through her efforts to assist MP Kwan’s work as NDP Immigration Critic, Danna discovered a passion for working in the area of immigration and citizenship rights and now plans on further exploring various possibilities in this field. Even though she completed her CSL placement this winter, Danna still volunteers as an administrative assistant in Kwan’s office. “I hope to continue to contribute to my community by taking on volunteer initiatives, through the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement, that I can enjoy and also learn from,” said Danna.