Skip to main content

Anu Chouhan

OLC Student Writer

empty
convocation ceremnony; students are walking down the steps of the AQ on SFU Burnaby Campus led by a bagpiper
I know some students interested in Co-op do not have any work experience going in, while others like me have numerous training. Either way, it’s a very crucial step for students to take in order to see what is going on out there

When Political Science student David Skerik prepared to convocate in June 2008, he acknowledge his Co-op experiences as an immense help in his academic career, allowing him to excel in his studies and in the workplace.

Upon entering SFU from Douglas College, David remembers feeling unclear about the Co-op program. “Going into the program, and as an older student, I wasn’t entirely sure what Co-op was or how I could benefit from it,” David, who was 28 at the time, recalls. Now, as a 33 year old father, he’s glad he decided to give it a chance as he received his Bachelor of Arts degree with Co-op designation.

David has always been interested in Political Science and First Nations affairs, and was able to demonstrate this throughout his four Co-op work terms.

His first work term was an 8-month position as a treaty research assistant for the In-SHUCK-ch Nation - an amalgamation of the Samahquam, Skatin, and Douglas First Nations. David notes how he enjoyed the mesh of real-world lessons with his school-based knowledge. “My professors helped me a lot with this process,” he says.

His next work term was a self-directed placement working with the In-SHUCK-ch Nation’s Governance Planning Group. The Governance Planning Group consists of the political leaders of the three bands of the In-SHUCK-ch Nation. “The group is tasked to find solutions for the political relationships the In-SHUCK-ch Nation is developing,” David explains. The work done in this position was built upon the research done in his first work term. Some aspects of his job included the documenting of the Nation’s complex governing structure, and organizing group meetings for the Chief Negotiator, Eppa. David continued to work with the Governance Planning Group as he completed his degree and adjusted to life as a new father. “The In-SHUCK-ch Nation is the best employer I have ever had - and I have had lots,” says David.

His final work term was with the Federal Government, for the Admissions Unit of the IAP Secretariat (A division of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada). The IAP Secretariat is “responsible for continuing claims related to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement” David explains. While he helped to develop admissions policy, the brunt of David’s work was analyzing applications for adjudication. “[It] was the most difficult work I have done,” David recalls, as the job required having to carefully read first person accounts of abuse that occurred at Indian Residential Schools, which could be disturbing at times. “Fortunately, my supervisors and colleagues (mostly other Co-op students) were very compassionate and supportive.”

Approaching graduation, David was thankful to his professors for guiding his success and influencing his life. “The most valuable and encouraging professors I had were Patrick Smith, Andy Heard, and John Calvert. My Co-op experience enabled me to see beyond the classroom and into the real world where answers to political problems are less easy and far less clear. My work experience broadened my academic horizons and because of this my professors encouraged me to pursue relevant and meaningful research. Therefore, the SFU Co-op experience fed back into my academic experience and my professors ensured I was sufficiently challenged in my thinking.” He is also proud of how much his academic standing has excelled from his Co-op experiences along with his classroom learning. “I’ve finished with A+’s,” he says, proudly.

David plans to continue his studies through the Master of Public Policy Program at SFU’s Downtown Vancouver campus.

David emphasizes that all students should get involved with Co-op as soon as possible, no matter how old they are, or how much experience they have. “I know some students interested in Co-op do not have any work experience going in, while others like me have numerous training. Either way, it’s a very crucial step for students to take in order to see what is going on out there.” David asserts. “You really cannot understand the value of the program until you try it out for yourself!”

About the Author

Anu Chouhan

OLC Student Writer

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

convocation ceremnony; students are walking down the steps of the AQ on SFU Burnaby Campus led by a bagpiper
library_books
Blog
David Skerik: A Co-op Student's Success Story
Co-op Reflections, Workplace Success, Student Success, Professional Development, Career Exploration

David Skerik's time as an undergraduate political science student could be described as the ultimate balancing act. The end result of achieving this balance was exceptional grades, a busy family life and valuable co-op work term experiences that allowed him to participate in important work for Canada's First Nations communities.

convocation ceremnony; students are walking down the steps of the AQ on SFU Burnaby Campus led by a bagpiper
library_books
Blog
David Skerik: A Co-op Student's Success Story
Co-op Reflections, Workplace Success, Student Success, Professional Development, Career Exploration

David Skerik's time as an undergraduate political science student could be described as the ultimate balancing act. The end result of achieving this balance was exceptional grades, a busy family life and valuable co-op work term experiences that allowed him to participate in important work for Canada's First Nations communities.

convocation ceremnony; students are walking down the steps of the AQ on SFU Burnaby Campus led by a bagpiper
library_books
Blog
David Skerik: A Co-op Student's Success Story
Co-op Reflections, Workplace Success, Student Success, Professional Development, Career Exploration

David Skerik's time as an undergraduate political science student could be described as the ultimate balancing act. The end result of achieving this balance was exceptional grades, a busy family life and valuable co-op work term experiences that allowed him to participate in important work for Canada's First Nations communities.

convocation ceremnony; students are walking down the steps of the AQ on SFU Burnaby Campus led by a bagpiper
library_books
Blog
David Skerik: A Co-op Student's Success Story
Co-op Reflections, Workplace Success, Student Success, Professional Development, Career Exploration

David Skerik's time as an undergraduate political science student could be described as the ultimate balancing act. The end result of achieving this balance was exceptional grades, a busy family life and valuable co-op work term experiences that allowed him to participate in important work for Canada's First Nations communities.

convocation ceremnony; students are walking down the steps of the AQ on SFU Burnaby Campus led by a bagpiper
library_books
Blog
David Skerik: A Co-op Student's Success Story
Co-op Reflections, Workplace Success, Student Success, Professional Development, Career Exploration

David Skerik's time as an undergraduate political science student could be described as the ultimate balancing act. The end result of achieving this balance was exceptional grades, a busy family life and valuable co-op work term experiences that allowed him to participate in important work for Canada's First Nations communities.

convocation ceremnony; students are walking down the steps of the AQ on SFU Burnaby Campus led by a bagpiper
library_books
Blog
David Skerik: A Co-op Student's Success Story
Co-op Reflections, Workplace Success, Student Success, Professional Development, Career Exploration

David Skerik's time as an undergraduate political science student could be described as the ultimate balancing act. The end result of achieving this balance was exceptional grades, a busy family life and valuable co-op work term experiences that allowed him to participate in important work for Canada's First Nations communities.

convocation ceremnony; students are walking down the steps of the AQ on SFU Burnaby Campus led by a bagpiper
library_books
Blog
David Skerik: A Co-op Student's Success Story
Co-op Reflections, Workplace Success, Student Success, Professional Development, Career Exploration

David Skerik's time as an undergraduate political science student could be described as the ultimate balancing act. The end result of achieving this balance was exceptional grades, a busy family life and valuable co-op work term experiences that allowed him to participate in important work for Canada's First Nations communities.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

The author working out at Fortius's gym
Redefining the Modern Internship: Where Work and Sport Intersect

My first Co-op was an invaluable experience as I dabbled in the world of social media marketing, blog writing, events management and much more!

Three men in swim gear standing closely together on a boat in the ocean.
Severin's Tropical, Scuba Diving Co-op Adventure

In summer of 2013, SFU Biomedical Physiology student Severin Vaillancourt headed to The Bahamas as a Field Research Assistant with the school's Marine Ecology Lab. He shared recollections of his underwater adventures and more with International Co-op.

Jeanni standing in front of the business objects sign
Jeannie Chan: A Co-op Student's Success Story

Meet Jeannie Chan, a Computing Science and Statistics student who convocated this June. Shes completed a total of five Co-op work terms, and has been able to develop an impressive set of skills, helping her to land a full-time job! Read on to learn all about her experiences.