It’s National Co-operative Education Week (March 21-25) and Simon Fraser University’s Co-op Education Program
is celebrating 36 years of successful student placements at more than 6,000 employers across the world.
The experiential program began with the School of Computing Science in 1975 and gradually expanded to every faculty. Today, more than 20 per cent of SFU students participate in the program.
One of the first science co-op students, Susanne Darius, spun a science co-op placement as a research assistant at BC Children’s Hospital into a full-time job there. Twenty-six years later, she’s now the senior quality assurance coordinator for Neova Technologies, Inc.
in Abbotsford, B.C.
Darius credits the co-op program with building her confidence and teaching her important workplace policies and ethics. She strongly recommends that high school students today consider attending SFU for its co-op program.
“I saw the potential for acquiring a job more quickly after graduation,” says Darius. “Co-op offered huge advantages for placement after school.”
Fourth-year computing science student Leif Stroman can vouch for that. The Surrey resident is now employed part-time at Recon Instruments
after spending two co-op semesters heading development of an application that can visualize the data from Recon’s Transcend Alpine Goggle
. It is a GPS-enabled ski/snowboard goggle that collects data on speed, altitude, distance, number of runs and more.
“It will show you exactly where you've been (using Google maps) and all of the real-time stats associated with your trip,” says Stroman. “Besides managing and displaying your data, it allows you to also upload your highlights to an online community of goggle users.”
SFU’s largest co-op employer is Research in Motion
, which hired 82 students for the spring 2011 semester; the second largest is the Canada Revenue Agency
, with 75 students. Co-op students graduate with a year or more of résumé and network-building work experience, as well as one-on-one, group and online training in résumé-writing, cover letters, interviewing, workplace professionalism and self-marketing.
Darius’ story is one of numerous alumni stories that SFU is highlighting during National Co-operative Education Week. For more stories: www.sfu.ca/coop/week