How did you join the Co-op program?
A friend of mine who was in Co-op encouraged me. As a science student, there are so many options out there, I needed to find out what I want to do for the next 35 year. I joined for the work experience and the connection. In terms of the process, it was very easy – once I was introduced to one of the coordinators, who was so helpful and so personable, I was in.
What does your current Co-op job entail?
Currently I’m working with a PhD student. We are working with an enzyme that plays a part in atherosclerosis, a heart disease. Basically I’m doing all the experiments, all the lab work, and the PhD student is doing the paper work.
What’s most rewarding of your Co-op experience?
Presenting in front of 150 people! Presenting my own data, and in front of coworkers, and to be received well, is very rewarding and a really good experience. That’s a very encouraging, reassuring feeling that I’m on the right path.
Assisting in writing papers, which is very helpful when I apply for grad school and for funding. At work, I’m treated as a graduate student. The respect I gain is very nice.
Has Co-op helped inform your career or academic goals?
It hasn’t altered my goals, but it has validated it. I had always been sitting on the fence on graduate school and doing a PhD. Now after my current Co-op term, I know I absolutely enjoy the work on protein – here you work with cells.
Would you recommend Co-op to other students?
Personally, I’ve experienced so much more because of Co-op. For example, just by going to various conferences has helped so much in terms of acquiring a big picture of what’s going on. It has showed me what I don’t want to do, and what I love to do. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
I also have friends who found future job opportunities, or their PhD supervisor through their Co-op. So if you don’t know what you want to do, if you want to gain that edge in preparing for a future, I’d definitely recommend it.