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SFU Co-op Alumni

picture of kaili smiling
While I have found my studies to be stimulating and enlightening, it has certainly been my practical experiences outside the academic setting that have put my ambitions for medicine into perspective.

Kaili Rand graduated in June 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and three Co-op work terms under her belt. The very “definition of a high achiever” (SFU News Online, 2008), Kaili received the highest cumulative GPA in the Faculty of Applied Sciences (4.161 out of 4.255), while being able to dedicate her extra time to athletics, volunteering and her Co-op work terms.

Within her first year at SFU, Kaili became extensively involved in the SFU Recreation Program as a student leader. She also found the time to coach middle school basketball and rugby teams near her home in Coquitlam. Her passion for athletics was demonstrated through her experiences at SFU Recreation. “Having the chance to be involved with promoting recreation in all areas of my life has been extremely rewarding and I am eager to continue along this path as I venture towards my ultimate goal of becoming a physician,” she says. Along with volunteering at SFU Recreation, Kaili also became involved with the SHARE Crisis Line, and volunteered as a tutor for children staying in the Royal Columbian Hospital Pediatrics Ward. Read our interview with this amazing new alumnus below…

1. When you started at SFU, did you know what you wanted to major in? How did you make that decision?

I always knew that I wanted to go into medicine, and during my first year, I further looked into the Kinesiology program and decided that it was more of a fit for me than biology or MBB or any of the other sciences. I’ve always had a strong interest in the intricate workings of the human body and found Kinesiology to be the perfect fit for me!

2. Why did you decide to participate in the Co-op program?

I felt that I needed to broaden my options and challenge myself beyond the realm of the jobs I had become accustomed to within my community (tutoring, refereeing).

3. Tell us about each Co-op work term you completed. What was the best part about each one?

Terms 1 (Spring 2007) & 2 (Summer 2007): I began conducting research relating to nutrient transport under the supervision of Dr. Amandio Vieira through funding from an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award. Additionally, I worked in Dr. Bruce McManus’ lab (at the iCAPTURE Center for Pulmonary and Cardiovascular Research at St. Paul’s Hospital with the TRID (Translational Research in Infectious Disease program at UBC) elucidating the role of Coxsackievirus in inducing cardiac tissue inflammation. Through these research experiences, I was not only exposed to practical applications in my field of study, but also discovered the constant troubleshooting and collaboration required in research. I gained an appreciation for self-directed learning, in which exercising curiosity, taking an active interest in other’s work and learning to be comfortable asking for help were all necessary for success.

Term 3 (Spring 2008): I worked for Mountainview Kinesiology in Anmore, BC under the supervision of Manouch Amel as a Kinesiologist and office manager. I had worked with Manouch for several years as the office manager prior to beginning this work term, but I wanted to take on the challenge of working as a Kinesiologist. Here, I worked with clients injured in motor vehicle accidents and provided them with active rehabilitation programs to help them overcome their injuries. I loved having the opportunity to develop relationships with my clients and see the progress they made over time, and know that I was a part of that process.

4. Would you recommend the Co-op program to students who are new to SFU or are unfamiliar with the program?

I certainly would recommend the Co-op program to new SFU students. Kinesiology Co-op certainly positively impacted my undergraduate career and helped me achieve more than I had set out to do. The opportunities that opened up for me through my involvement in Co-op are endless and I feel that my involvement in these experiences certainly played a role in my acceptance to medical school at the University of Alberta.

5. For you, what was the most valuable benefit from participating in the Co-op program as a whole?

I don’t think I can focus in on just one single benefit. There were so many. Certainly, having the opportunity to network within various fields and with a broad spectrum of individuals was extremely valuable. Building relationships with countless people including Darleen Bemister, Kinesiology Co-op Coordinator and all my superiors in my various Co-op work terms along with sharing knowledge with fellow co-workers and clients has provided endless opportunities for me. Also, having the opportunity to challenge myself and build confidence along the way has been extremely beneficial.

6. Do you feel that you’ve been able to apply your knowledge from the classroom to your Co-op work experiences and vice versa? Did you feel that this had a positive impact on your GPA?

Certainly. While I have found my studies to be stimulating and enlightening, it has certainly been my practical experiences outside the academic setting that have put my ambitions for medicine into perspective. Such opportunities have allowed me to apply the knowledge I have learned in the classroom in a real world setting. As mentioned before, such experiences greatly boosted my confidence in myself which I feel has certainly been reflected in my GPA, especially in my upper division classes.

Works Cited
The definition of a high achiever. (2008). SFU News Online.
Retrieved July 15th, 2008

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