Skip to main content

Iris Eom

SFU Co-op Student
Science › Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

empty
Iris at her workstation in the lab
However, lab work in the work setting was totally different – it was okay to make mistakes (well, not too many). Often, it was the best way to learn a new technique.

How Did You Join the Co-op Program?

I heard about Co-op back in the day when I was still in high school, during SFU’s recruitment event. The co-op program was actually one of the reasons I chose to come to SFU. I researched more about co-op program requirements during my first year, and as soon as I met the credit requirement, I applied to join, and here I am with two terms completed.

What Does Your Current Co-op Job Entail?

My co-op position was in Dr. Sin’s lab at UBC James Hogg iCAPTURE research center, which specializes in cardiovascular and pulmonary disease research. I have done two Co-op terms there from September 2008 to April 2009.

My main responsibility in the lab was to dissect the mouse aorta and run wire myography to test the function of those dissected aorta. Wire myography is a device that measures the force generated by a contracting muscle. The most difficult and challenging part of this experiment is handling mouse aorta, which is very small and delicate.

My other tasks involved running ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), data collection, statistical analysis, preparing solutions and drugs, checking up supplies, doing sample inventory, and performing other general laboratory duties when necessary.

What’s the Most Rewarding Part of Your Co-op Experience?

Many aspects of the Co-op experience are rewarding. When I entered Co-op, I had very little knowledge of scientific research, immunology or basic molecular biology. For the first two months or so I was quite overwhelmed by the number of things I have to learn! But it was definitely exciting to see the scientific theories and concepts learned in classes that are being applied in the real world.

I also had the fear of making mistakes during the experiment because lab courses at school really pressure and penalize students not to make any mistakes. However, lab work in the work setting was totally different – it was okay to make mistakes (well, not too many). Often, it was the best way to learn a new technique.

The most challenging yet rewarding experience would be the two oral presentations on my project I had to do in front of a big group of professors, research technicians, and graduate students. The questions were the most difficult part as I had to put the answer quickly in a logical way, and had to admit that I did not know the answer if that was the case. I think it was a good learning experience to have.

Has Co-op Helped to Inform Your Career or Academic Goals?

I feel more motivated to study now. When you can relate your courses to a real-world situation, it makes studying more interesting. In terms of career, it can help you figure out what you are interested in and find new options that you did not consider before. I have never considered doing research or going to graduate school, but after the term, I have started thinking about it.

Would You Recommend Co-op to Other Students?

Definitely. You might think you like something, but you don’t really know until you actually do the work. It’s better to find your interest level in a certain career field on a contract term, rather than getting a full-time job after graduation and discovering that you don’t like it.

I think the Co-op program is very beneficial for any student, as you will gain inside information and contacts in the field, either for your future Co-op placements or work opportunities. Also, it is a good way to build an impressive resume/CV before graduation!

  • Iris Eom Oct 25, 2010
    Like to recommend this item
    visibility  35

About the Author

Iris Eom

SFU Co-op Student
Science › Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

You Might Like These... Co-operative Education

Courtney smiles next to a caption that reads, "Courtney Novotny during her work term with Health Canada".
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

How do Communications Co-op jobs differ between federal departments? Read all about Courtney's experiences as she compares her first co-op with Health Canada to her second co-op with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Korea
International Spotlight: Korea

Bordered by China, Russia, and separated from Japan by the Korea Strait, Korea makes for a strong international hub of Asia.

two women talking to each other
How to Ask, Pick and Prepare your References

If you’re looking for a new job, applying to a graduate school or another program, chances are that you are going to need references to go along with your application, resume, and cover letter. You’ll learn how to ask people to be references, how to pick from your reference list and finally, how to guide your references once you’ve selected them.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

A collage of three pictures - one of a kayaker on the water on the right, a portrait of Justin in the middle, and a desk overlooking a mountain on the right.
Immersing Myself in a Work Culture Dedicated to Health and Wellness

With a lot of us working at home, looking after our health becomes a high priority. Check out Justin’s post about how his workplace extended a helping hand and how it affected him and his work positively. 

Person staring at two trails in a forest, separated by trees
Choosing a Co-op Offer Over Permanent Employment: How I Did It

Vicky Leung is a Business Co-op student who found herself having to choose between the allure of a permanent position at a start-up company, which did not match the job description, and a Co-op position that was everything she imagined. Read Vicky’s 3 pieces of advice when making difficult decisions in the co-op program. 

A young women with glasses is smiling in the camera.
Kayla Wu: Working as a UX/UI Designer in the Financial Sector

SIAT co-op student, Kayla Wu, describes her interesting job as a UX/UI designer at Remitbee. Remitbee is a financial organization whose mission is to “Spark the financial revolution by connecting people and money - across borders, currencies, and cultures and is currently looking to hire 15 co-op students for the Fall 2021 semester, so SFU co-op students seeking for a co-op placement this term are highly encouraged to apply.