How a Passion for Journalism Led to a Successful Communications Career For Nina Rafeek

By Simone Cseplo

Nina's hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Nina was a former writer for the University of Toronto and now she uses her journalistic skills and passion for communications to support youth with finding sustainable employment through MaRS Discovery District.


Showcasing her talents and creating new opportunities motivates Nina Rafeek.

After graduating from the Master of Media in Journalism and Communication program in the Faculty of Information & Media Studies at Western University in 2018, Nina wanted to use her passion for strategic communications to further her career. Her drive for a challenge and passion for problem-solving was harnessed throughout her time as a Western graduate student.

Nina now works as the senior associate, communications and marketing for MaRS Discovery District. In this role, she works to help connect 40,000 NEET (Not in education, employment or training) youth with meaningful and sustainable employment.

While in the MMJC program, Nina didn’t envision herself in a communications role. Initially, she wanted to couple her love for science and journalism. Her passion for journalism landed her an internship at the broadcast network CP24 in Toronto. It was after her internship that she realized the hustle of a high-volume newsroom wasn’t the right fit for her.

Fun Fact

Nina used to be a sports injury therapist. After suffering from a back injury, she was unable to work and found herself back in a classroom in the MMJC program.

Instead, Nina transitioned into a communications role at WE in 2019 and was in this role for one year. When she first started out, she realized that the charity needed a communications strategy.

Using her knowledge from the MMJC classes to develop and implement a successful plan for the charity, Nina was still able to leverage her love of writing to share stories and messages to the charity’s stakeholders, bridging the gap between her love of journalism and passion for communications.

Nina said the most important thing to do in the short, one-year master's program is to keep an open mind and not to limit yourself.

She is thankful for the internship component since it allowed her to experience the world of journalism, but also helped her realize that it wasn’t the right fit. She said the switch into a communications role felt seamless since MMJC equipped her with the tools she needed to succeed in either industry.

Grateful for the experiences and knowledge she gained from the program, Nina said it’s important to not take things too seriously and enjoy what you’re learning.

“It's all about the community that you build in the MMJC. We always knew that we were doing something worthwhile even if it was 1 a.m.”

The late nights in the edit suites with her classmates and looking for stories around London were some of her favourite memories. The “aha” moments from class—whether it was learning about the ethics of journalism or writing communications plans—were worth it as she now uses those skills in her career every day.

The MMJC program has allowed many students to launch successful careers in journalism, communications, marketing and other media-focused industries. If you’re interested in starting your media career, apply to Western’s MMJC program to Start Your Story!

Profiles in the Start Your Story blog are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.