Skip to main content
OLC logo

OLC Editor

N/A
Co-operative Education

empty
Graduates throwing their caps into the air
Credit
Baim Hanif on Unsplash
"Without this award,” says Marc, “I would not have had the security and resources to pursue new connections through my work and open more career pathways for the future."

Naomi Chao never thought it would be possible to intern at tech giants Microsoft, Adobe and SAP before she even graduated. As a double major in Interactive Arts and Technology and Computing Science at Simon Fraser University, Naomi gained the knowledge in her classes to become a designer and developer. But it was her early co-op term at Spexi Geospatial, a cloud-based drone platform that makes aerial photography simple for businesses, that gave her a chance to apply her skills to real world problems.

As a startup, Spexi Geospatial faced resource constraints during their early development efforts, making hiring a full-time designer challenging. This is where the WildBrain (formerly DHX Media) Co-op Award came in. Through a generous gift and six-year commitment from WildBrain to Simon Fraser University Co-op, the award supported pre-profit and non-profit innovation-focused organizations that lacked the financial resources to hire a co-op student.

Being able to bring on a student like Naomi was of great value says Peter Szymczak, CTO at Spexi Geospatial. “Naomi was extremely diligent, proactive and thorough while leading our user experience redesign effort for our mobile application. Her design skills really helped our technically driven prototype application gain a new polish that was desperately needed for the future success of our platform.”

In her role as User Experience Design Intern, Naomi overhauled the mobile and web experience for drone pilots by leading the platform design from early state to market, working closely with developers to implement new features and visual design. "Looking back, I learned so much during my time at Spexi,” says Naomi. “The experience there really kick-started my career as a product designer, and I'm so thrilled to tell people what we accomplished there!"

Naomi is one of 30 students who have benefitted from co-op work experiences thanks to WildBrain’s Co-op Award over the past six years. The award, which gave priority to students in the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, has funded roles in digital and product marketing, communications, web development, project coordination as well as UX/UI design. From software companies to health technology to community services, WildBrain’s Co-op Award has impacted many sectors.

As one of the first recipients of WildBrain's Co-op Award, Marc St. Pierre, now a Communication alumnus, understood the goal that the company was trying to achieve. "There are so many exciting, innovative new businesses starting up in the Lower Mainland, and WildBrain is playing a significant role in connecting those companies with the right students. Their support really embodies SFU's spirit of engaging students with community."

In his co-op term with Maker Cube Society, a non-profit makerspace that offered S.T.E.A.M.-focused education, innovation, and civic engagement, Marc lead community initiatives including interactive installations and educational workshops for children. "Without this award,” says Marc, “I would not have had the security and resources to pursue new connections through my work and open more career pathways for the future."

Three years later, Marc now directs the community team at MakerLabs, a large makerspace with over 200 members, many of whom are small businesses. In his role, he helps to create conditions for members to try new things and innovate within MakerLabs’ studios and common areas. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to build community and work with technology which began in the job funded through WildBrain's Co-op Award. They were supportive of my efforts with my fledgling makerspace and their encouragement led me to pursue further opportunities in this field."

Beyond the Blog

Author

OLC logo

OLC Editor

N/A
Co-operative Education

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.

 

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Image of Sarah Kim standing in front of a mural
Practicing Resilience During the Pandemic

Sarah, the only design and marketing coordinator at her workplace, found herself in a tough spot when she had to shift to working from home. Here's what she learned on her journey to becoming resilient and adaptable while transitioning. 

Illustration of businesspeople
Advice for Upcoming SFU Entrepreneurs

Interested in starting a business but don’t know where to start? David explains in Part Two of his blog series what worked for him during his time establishing a start-up business. Read on to learn what tips he shares about the process of beginning your entrepreneurial journey.

Maggie and her colleague Jen posing in front of a television screen at their workplace
Overcoming the Distance: Working with a Remote Team

Maggie Quinn discusses her experience of working with a remote team as a Junior Regional Recruiter with Kal Tire.