Skip to main content

A pen over a paper with the Fraser Institute logo

Meet Danielle Fleck, the Senior Manager, Development Events at The Fraser Institute. In this quick Q&A, Danielle discusses the benefits of having an intern at the organization, the growth of the interns they hired and how the organization made the interns feel comfortable in their position.

What was it like watching students grow throughout their experience at your organization? Did you notice their skills develop?

We run an internship program, which offers students or recent graduates, the unique opportunity to learn first-hand what a think tank is all about and contribute to our work. Watching students learn and develop throughout their tenure with us is an incredible experience. Whether they are supporting our research, marketing or development teams, they are exposed to a variety of different projects and have the opportunity to interact with staff members, volunteers, donors and vendors. One of my favourite aspects is watching them form relationships with other interns and team members to collaborate on projects, form solutions to problems and learn from various differing perspectives within our team. It is also fascinating to watch them come into their own as I find they often join us being somewhat reserved and leave confident and prepared with new skills to bring into the workplace.

What were some resources you provided to ensure the intern succeeds?

As part of our internship program, we have a number of interns that start their work terms at the same time. We schedule them simultaneously and have them seated together so that they can establish an initial sense of connection, and not feel as daunted entering the workforce. We establish a number of planned events such as welcome dinners, team lunches, attending our annual AGM, reading clubs to discuss foundational texts relevant to our industry as well as various social outings. We also offer them the opportunity to participate in our education program events such as our student leader’s colloquium where they can develop their public speaking and debate skills. With the help of their supervisors, they also develop work plans and have regular check-ins with them and their teams throughout their internships.

What were some ways that having an intern benefited your organization?

Not only do the co-op student interns learn from our organization, but we also experience an abundance of learnings and new ideas from them. They offer unique perspectives and insights on how our daily tasks, processes and producers can and should be improved. With freshly gained industry knowledge combined with eager attitudes, they are a source of creative ideas and innovative solutions that help us to remain current. Also after finishing their degrees, many of our Co-op students have returned to work with us on a more permanent basis

What is a word of advice you would give to any employer who is hoping to open a spot for a co-op student?

I would certainly encourage any organizations to open positions for co-op students whenever possible. It is an excellent opportunity for mentorship and collaboration that prepares students with the tangible skills needed to enter the workforce. I would recommend that employers use project management software to manage students work terms. We found this to be mutually beneficial in helping students to understand their priorities and help managers to create weekly to do lists, set deadlines, add notes, documents, and see how they are moving through the work assigned.

Posts by Author

Headshot of Janvi
How To Land Your First Co-op

Knowing what I wanted to specialize in allowed me to start making plans for my first Co-op term. In all honesty, getting your first Co-op term can be exciting and intimidating. However, with a little planning and effort, you can position yourself for success.

Laptop on a desk next to a plant
Learning on the Job without an Expert to Guide You

I was the only communication person in my department; there were no experienced communicators to work closely with and learn from. I thought this situation would limit my room to learn, but surprisingly I gained valuable experiences and exercised skills that I didn't expect.

Anik standing outside in front of trees
A Q&A with a MA Political Science Co-op Student

Meet Anik Ahmed, an SFU Master of Political Science Co-op student. In this quick Q&A, Anik shares a bit about his co-op experience. Keep on reading as Anik shares his co-op's workplace culture, his employer and how he got the unique experience of travelling to Victoria.

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.


Picture of Katelyn smiling
SFU Home to Canada’s Top Co-op Student

SFU Biology and Biochemistry Co-op student Katelyn Mueller was awarded the 2008 National Co-op Student of the Year award from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education during National Co-op Week, March 23rd - 27th, 2009.

You Might Like These... Workplace Success

a birds eye view of a text saying "Passion Led Us Here" on the sidewalk
How I Put My Blogging Passion to Work

Natalie's been writing OLC blogs for awhile now, so she was excited to be able to bring her blogging skills to her new Co-op job. Now she's launched the SFU Food Bank Blog.

Nicole giving a thumbs up while showing her desk computer
4 Reasons Why Administrative Work is Essential

While an often overlooked role, administrative work provides multiple opportunities for growth and skill development. Read on to learn from Nicole how the Co-op position she wasn't originally looking for (but found anyways!) taught her how to appreciate the Front Desk.

Image of the Author
A Date With Myself: How I’m Surviving Burnout

Striking a balance between work and life is a difficult task for anyone regardless of their profession. Katerina explains how her desire to work overtook her personal life and she has some tips for making sure burn out doesn’t creep up on you.