Skip to main content

Vadim Tsarkov

SFU Co-op Student
Applied Sciences › Mechatronic Systems Engineering

empty
Team guardian flying a drone
Opening myself up to my colleagues and proactively building relationships made my Co-op both an enjoyable learning experience, and laid a strong foundation for professional growth with the company. 

Starting an engineering co-op at a large company is stressful in many ways; you don’t know anybody in the company, there’s a lot of activity going on that you don’t understand, and it is likely that your only contact is your direct manager. Having completed co-ops before, I know that towards the end of your co-op term you become much more acclimated and involved in the company’s activities – so when I started at Alpha Technologies Ltd. this fall, I took steps to accelerate this process.

During the first week, I signed up for the Alpha Running Group, sat in on a Toastmaster’s Club meeting, and attended a monthly “ALPHATalks” event (think TEDTalks!). By the end of the week, I was acquainted with 30+ co-workers from various departments within the company. Some of them were kind enough to offer a quick tour of their respective departments, which further helped me achieve one of my learning objectives – to understand the role and responsibility of every person in the company.

During one of my runs with the Alpha Running Group, I mentioned that I used to actively skydive and that I have over 500 jumps from aircraft. It wasn’t long until I was scheduled to share my story at the next ALPHATalks session.

After this talk, my network within the company expanded even further – people knew who I was and cared about what I was doing both in and out of the office. So, when the time came to fundraise for my Capstone project with Team Guardian, I had a broad professional network to reach out to.

My colleagues connected me to an educational fund related to my company. Upon hearing about our project, they generously contributed to our crowdfunding campaign. Thanks to this contribution, my Capstone team raised enough to fund the project and attend the Unmanned Systems Canada 2017 competition in Quebec. A fellow team member/colleague, Andrey Gromov, and I later presented our project to Alpha Technologies Ltd.

Concurrently, I transitioned from my co-op with the hardware team, to a part-time position on the software team – pivoting my career and pursuing new interests. Opening myself up to my colleagues and proactively building relationships made my Co-op both an enjoyable learning experience, and laid a strong foundation for professional growth with the company. 

Beyond the Blog

About the Author

Vadim Tsarkov

SFU Co-op Student
Applied Sciences › Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Connect with Vadim Tsarkov on LinkedIn.

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.

Team guardian flying a drone
library_books
Blog
The Far-Ranging Effects of Co-op Connections
Workplace Success, Tech and Innovation, Co-op Reflections, Professional Development

Vadim shares how proactively building connections in the workplace helped fund his capstone and pivot his career.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

person typing on a laptop
7 Tips for Remote Facilitation Amidst a Global Pandemic

Congratulations! You’ve landed your first Co-op work term. But wait! There’s a catch (or two): you’re in the middle of a global pandemic, and you’re expected to lead a team in this new and not-so-improved virtual setting. Read Bita’s tips to feel more confident while conquering your very first Co-op in a position of leadership, all the while working remotely. 

The author
Grow Beyond Your Job

If you want to extract every opportunity from your co-op term, take these proactive steps to grow professionally beyond your job title. 

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Improv Tips from Tina Fey

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.