The unconventional job hunt: creating your own co-op opportunities
By Taylor McKinney, SFU News
In five years at SFU, engineering physics undergrad Scott Beaupré landed three co-op job positions and four research projects without ever dropping off a résumé.
By reaching out to professors, SFU researchers and acquaintances, Beaupré found unique positions that aligned with his specific interests in bio-nanotechnology and solar energy.
This tactic also helped him join several research teams, one of which gave him his first accreditation as a published author in the journal American Chemical Society.
Now a few courses shy of graduation, he has worked with SFU’s 4D Labs, a research institute focused on accelerating the design and development of advanced functional materials and nanotechnology products, and for Canadian Integrated Optics. He also joined a micro-fluidics research project that used Lab-on-a-Chip devices to screen for malaria cells.
He says these positions gave him valuable industrial clean-room experience, professional presenting skills and even some practice in programming.
And although he is an undergraduate, he also worked as a tutorial assistant for two electronics courses, receiving enthusiastic reviews from students.
His advice to students: get out and talk to people about the kind of work you want.
“If they don’t have what you are looking for, they will know someone who will,” he says.
Beaupré will finish his honours thesis in June 2017 before starting a Master of Applied Sciences in engineering at SFU this fall. After, he is considering a career in renewable energy.
“I’m interested in solar and electric cars, the alternative energies,” he says. “Anything that’s not oil.”
Beaupré’s Indigenous heritage played a big role in his interest in alternative energy. In high school he started researching the Cree lineage on his father’s side and found that the Crees’ environmental stewardship resonated with him.
“They lived with the land. The respect they had for the earth is what I want.”
He says developing an understanding of Indigenous beliefs and culture made the decision to pursue a career in alternative energies a natural choice.
“It was important to look at my heritage, to know how they lived before.”
Indigenous students interested in co-op can contact SFU’s Aboriginal co-op coordinator, Trina Setah, for support navigating the co-op program, and to learn about available opportunities.