Adler University named the first recipient of the Joy MacPhail Master’s in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) Leadership Scholarship.
Pamela Kaye Tuazon, a second-year international student, received the $10,000 scholarship on International Women’s Day — March 8 — during the inaugural Joy MacPhail Women’s Leadership Showcase, which seeks to support and promote the next generation of women leaders.
“As our event registrants saw, when we shared the video submission Pamela prepared for her scholarship application, she went above and beyond to demonstrate her commitment to our community and her life-changing experience at Adler University,” said Brad O’Hara, executive dean of the Vancouver Campus. “We were moved by her passion, her optimism, and her pledge to fill Joy’s big shoes.”
With a Master of Business Administration degree and a bachelor’s in economics, Tuazon had served 11 years in the central bank of the Philippines, working on monetary and fiscal policies prior to coming to Adler. She also served one year as a health policy consultant and another year a senatorial staff focused on agriculture and fisheries within the Philippine government.
Since arriving at Adler, she co-founded the Adler Safety and Empowerment Network, an organization dedicated to women’s safety, women’s empowerment, and addressing issues affecting underrepresented and disadvantaged gender groups. She currently works as a student leader and student librarian at Adler University’s Vancouver Campus.
Born and raised in Manila, Tuazon learned that she was receiving the award on her birthday, following a call with her parents.
“I had just hung up with them when I saw the email,” she said. “I immediately called them back. This award is an ode to my parents and their hard work. They always encouraged my sisters and me to pursue and focus on our education.”
Seeking to further her knowledge internationally, Tuazon said she found Adler through a basic Google search.
“It’s a small university, but one that was making so much noise in training future leaders in public policy,” she said. “The scholarship will give me the momentum I need to take myself a step further. The master’s program is very practice-based, and I can’t wait to add my voice to that noise.”
Tuazon is currently focused on two research projects in the MPPA program. The first investigates the underrepresentation of women in politics in Canada; the second explores the cause and impact of the over-incarceration of indigenous women in Canada. She’s also co-researching a joint study with one of her MPPA professors on the aging population of Canada’s workforce.
Although only in her fourth semester, Tuazon said she already plans to pursue her doctorate, and given the chance, seeks to find work within the Canadian government or an organization focused on societal change and environmental issues.
The showcase and scholarship were first-of-its-kind initiatives at the University and are supported through the Adler University Vancouver Foundation following the creation of the Joy MacPhail Fund. The Joy MacPhail Master of Public Policy and Administration Program was renamed in 2022 in honor of MacPhail, who served as the first Vancouver-based chair of the Adler University Board of Trustees from 2018-22 and contributed to community health and wellness as a longtime member of the British Columbia New Democratic Party.
MacPhail provided welcoming remarks and moderated the showcase, which provided an opportunity for women to network with each other, learn from each other, and highlight the important role of Adler University in training future public policymakers and social justice warriors.
At the showcase, Tuazon said she simply wanted to meet and learn the stories of all the women leaders attending the event, including personally thanking MacPhail.
“I’m very new to Canada, so I have a lot to learn from all of these amazing women who are blazing trails for others like me,” Tuazon said. “I know that Joy’s shoes are too big fill, but I really don’t mind walking barefoot because she already paved the way.”