Name: Jiaxin Li
Hometown: Shanghai, China
Current Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Job Title: Analyst
Employer: Pembina Institute
Graduation Year: May 2019
MPPGA Course Stream: Resources, Energy and Sustainability
In this alumni spotlight, we hear from Jiaxin Li, a UBC Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs alumna, regarding how her experiences during the Global Policy Project (GP2), with a focus on domestic projects, led her to a career in sustainability at the Pembina Institute.
What choices did you make at UBC or which opportunities did you participate in that contributed to your career journey?
“The Global Policy Project (GP2) helped me land my dream sustainability job. I decided to work in this field at the end of my first year in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs program, so I took relevant courses and completed an internship in the UBC Sustainability office starting in my second year. At first, I thought GP2 was just like the other courses we had but with more assignments, but I was wrong. It not only allowed me to apply what I learned during the program to a real-world policy challenge (with split incentives and a lot of trade-offs) but also provided me with the opportunity to lead and manage a research project from inception to delivery for the first time.
For instance, our research question “How can the Province of British Columbia reconcile its desire to grow the LNG industry with its ambitious climate targets?” is derived from a real trade-off between economic growth and environmental protection facing the provincial government. Also, we recommended the use of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs), but this option is still traded by uncertainties of the timeliness and cost. Therefore, we begin at finding a strategy of reconciling a trade-off, but any decision we may make will induce a new one. In other courses, we needed to find the solution but were not required to think about all these uncertainties.
As an international student, I received professional experience working with a reputable client in Canada. More importantly, the project gave me lifelong learning skills in problem solving and collaboration. These soft skills are valued in any job in any industry.”
What role are you working in now?
“As an analyst in the Building and Urban Solution team at the Pembina Institute’s Vancouver office, I work with governments, industry, and the non-government sector to support research regarding solutions to transform how we build, operate, and refurbish the spaces where we live and work.
The Pembina Institute is a national non-partisan think tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s clean energy transition. Through research, consulting and convening, it employs multi-faceted and highly collaborative approaches to reduce the environmental impacts of energy production and use.”
How are you applying what you learned in the MPPGA program to your current role?
“What I learned in the MPPGA program about identifying a policy problem, mapping a route through a sea of information, and developing logical thinking to find solutions helped me to fulfill the research responsibility in my current position at the Pembina Institute.”
Thank you Jiaxin!