Employers as diverse as Electronic Arts, AIDS Vancouver, MDSI and Environment Canada are benefiting from the skills of Simon Fraser University Surrey students this summer.
Nineteen students from SFU's Surrey campus have been placed in four-month co-op positions. The students are working in areas such as programming, network administration, and web design for the employers.
SFU Surrey co-op coordinator Nav Chima says the number of placements is better than he had expected, given the downturn in the technology industry and the uncertainty over the closing of the Technical University of British Columbia, where the students had been enrolled before SFU assumed responsibility for their programs.
He says the employers are pleased with the students' performance. “Our students learn teamwork, how to work autonomously and how to think creatively.”
SFU Surrey co-op students complete a common first year where they gain a broad understanding of the systems, processes, and cultures of new technologies. Following the first year, students then specialize in either information technology - a hybrid between electrical engineering and computing science - or interactive arts - a program which bridges the creative arts and interactive technology.
Dale Evernden, a fourth-year interactive arts student, says his coop employer, Corel Corporation, has been pleased with the skills he's brought to the software company.
“My boss has made it very clear that my knowledge in areas such as participatory design, user centered design, and experience design exceeds that of any co-op students he's worked with in the past. He says he will be recommending Corel start recruiting co-op students from the West Coast - specifically, Simon Fraser University Surrey. ‘There simply aren't any programs like yours out East', he told me.”