Skip to main content
Simon Fraser University
SFU Editor

empty
Monique in grad gown and cap
Monique Sekhon graduated last month with an Honours Bachelor’s of Science degree (with Distinction), focused on Population and Quantitative Health
I wanted an opportunity for experiential learning, and to see the application of the skills I was learning at school while also gaining skills I would need once I joined the workforce.

Article initially published on FHS News on July 3, 2019.

As a Senior Project Management Advisor at the BC Ministry of Health, health sciences alumnus Monique Sekhon says that Co-op allowed her to gain vital skills for professional life.

According to Sekhon, she always knew she wanted to work in the health field and establish a career built on helping others. She jumped into university life headfirst, joining clubs within SFU such as Phi Delta Epsilon, UNICEF SFU, SFU Choir, and SFU Blood4Life, starting a mental health and substance use organization, and participating in programs including SFU Health Peers, Student Health Advisory Committee, Health Change Lab, and the Co-op program. Her first Co-op working with the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre was, in Sekhon’s words, “incredible.”

“Just standing outside the building was motivating. I got to work remotely, travel, and meet incredible people who inspired and humbled me,” says Sekhon. “There’s no way I would have known that from just a job description.”

Subsequent Co-ops have included working at SFU’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addictions (CARMHA) and the BC Ministry of Health, which led to her current position.

A combination of exploration and the desire to gain professional experience led the student to apply to the Co-op program.

“I wanted an opportunity for experiential learning, and to see the application of the skills I was learning at school while also gaining skills I would need once I joined the workforce,” says Sekhon. “I also wanted a chance to try out different positions and organizations to learn more about what I liked.”

Sekhon’s drive to maximize her time at SFU proved worthwhile. At CARMHA, she was able to showcase her research and work with professionals in a field she is passionate about. During her Co-op at the Ministry of Health, she experienced greater responsibility in a role supporting the health of British Columbians.

After five years of studying in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), she graduated last month with an Honours Bachelor’s of Science degree (with Distinction), focused on Population and Quantitative Health. As for future plans for the FHS graduate?

“I plan to stick around at the Ministry of Health for a while longer,” says Sekhon. “I will eventually return to graduate and professional education, where I plan to focus on mental health and substance use. I’m also continuing to develop my mental health advocacy program, Care-2-Share.”

To students considering applying to Co-op, Sekhon says it allowed her to get as much out of her SFU experience as possible.

“Co-op is the tricycle of professional life: you’re getting rewarded and gaining vital skills, but you’re supported, have a chance to experience all aspects of your role, and have time to figure out what works for you and what you’re ready for. There is no better way to prepare for life after university.”

Simon Fraser University
SFU Editor

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... Career Exploration

Matvei Rudenko
Growing Your Skills by the Hour: Working in a Fast-Paced Start-Up

Read about Matvei's co-op experience at a start-up company and how this life-changing opportunity helped his career development journey.

Visier
Learning to Design
Danny shares how he has developed as a result of his UX design co-op experiences.
Image of Author. She is smiling at the camera and is wearing blue blouse. The wall behind her has the logo of Blackberry on it.
Top 3 Reasons to Consider an Extension and Job Rotation

Kim began her co-op work term at BlackBerry despite having never applied for the position. This opportunity sparked her interest in tech, which resulted in an extension and job rotation. In this article, Kim presents 3 reasons why you too should accept a co-op extension and job rotation.