Skip to main content

Meghan Ogden

SFU Co-op Student
Arts + Social Sciences › Sociology + Anthropology

empty
Meghan Ogden at a information desk
In an organization that is accustomed to making optimal use of limited time and staff to accomplish their mission, there is no shortage of variety in the types of skills and experiences that students can gain from a co-op term.

This article was originally published in the Arts Co-op Newsletter in Fall 2014.

We are so often told that the most fulfilling jobs are those which make a positive difference in the lives of other people. During my Co-op placement at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada as a Program Development Assistant, I experienced first-hand how programs and services are delivered to directly benefit people in my community. Working in the not-for-profit sector was an exciting and fulfilling experience that I believe all Co-op students should have.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition affecting approximately 100,000 Canadians, and there is currently no known cure for this unpredictable and disabling disease. The MS Society of Canada exists to improve the lives of people affected by MS by funding relevant research and providing supportive programs and services. In my position, I assisted with the maintenance and development of many important programs provided by the MS Society’s Client Services department, including the Peer Support and Volunteer Legal Advocacy programs.

Having completed my work term, I now understand Program Development to involve several responsibilities including updating documents and resources, developing presentations and training materials, managing communication tools, facilitating volunteer engagement, and conducting research to support advocacy initiatives. While some of these projects are essential to the maintenance and administration of any organizational program, other parts of program work are more flexible and improvised. Our work to best support people with MS often involved working within the confines of current political ideologies or policies related to health care and disability, a reality which ultimately influenced the direction of many of my projects and priorities.

Thinking back to my initial vision of what my position as Program Development Assistant would be, I now realize that the role I had imagined for myself was slightly unrealistic. Designing and coordinating new programs would require a substantial amount of time and financial resources – both of which are incredibly valuable yet often scarce in the not-for-profit sector. Upon deeper reflection, I have come to believe that this is precisely what makes working for a non-profit organization such a valuable experience for students. In an organization that is accustomed to making optimal use of limited time and staff to accomplish their mission, there is no shortage of variety in the types of skills and experiences that students can gain from a co-op term. From writing and research to communications and fundraising, the possibilities are endless. To any student considering work in the not-for-profit sector, I can vouch for the fact that it is an exciting opportunity that will allow you to gain valuable work experience all while contributing to an important social cause.

    Beyond the Blog

    About the Author

    Meghan Ogden

    SFU Co-op Student
    Arts + Social Sciences › Sociology + Anthropology

    You Might Like These... During the Work Term, Professional Development, Workplace Success, Workplace Transition, Communication

    Co-op coordinator wth student during site visit
    Make the Most of Your Co-op Site Visits

    Your Co-op Coordinator, supervisor, and you in the same room -- time for a site visit! Co-op site visits are a time for reflection on your work term including what could be improved and what has been great so far.

    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.

     

    A woman fast asleep
    Sleeping for Success at Work!

    The days of pulling all nighters and getting by on 2-3 hours sleep are over! Getting enough sleep is essential to ensure you can keep up with the demands of a fulltime work schedule and put forth your best performance.

    You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

    Evelyn Korompori and team at South Vancouver Adult Day Centre
    Journey to the Centres

    Life is an unexpected journey. Read about Evelyn's co-op experience as an activity worker at Vancouver Coastal Health's SteadyFeet and how this changed her perspective on working with seniors. 

    the author smiling against her workplace backdrop
    Through the Lens of a Patient: A First-Hand Look into Fraser Health’s Model of Patient Care

    Patients across BC should expect to receive excellent care from our health system, and it usually delivers. Rasha Syed shares why the best way to assess the healthcare system is to hear patient experiences. 

    A photo of 4 speakers at the Indigenous People's Career Stories event
    Indigenous People's Career Stories 2013

    On February 21st, the Indigenous People’s Career Stories event took place at the Diamond Alumni Centre. This was my first year attending the event and I was pleasantly surprised.