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Co-op Term: Fall 2019
1. Where did you work (Department/Organization name and location)?
I worked at the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver in the Future Bright program. Our head office is located in New Westminster close to Columbia Skytrain Station.
2. What was your role (what type of work did you do)? What were some of your responsibilities?
My role was the Action Oriented Researcher, where I was researching and writing reports on the barriers that our clients were experiencing, and helping to develop strategy to overcome those barriers. But I also did a lot of other things, including phoning and visiting clients, developing communications materials, and managing data.
3. How did the skills/knowledge developed in the classroom apply to your job? What did you learn?
The experience I had with academic research and writing reports and papers in my courses were definitely helpful, and I used my database and data analysis skills thoroughly. One skill that I wished I had was GIS because there were stats we needed to spatially analyze. I took a GIS course the next semester and actually came back to Elizabeth Fry in a part-time position where I was able to put those skills in action!
4. Can you share a challenge you faced in your Co-op and how you overcame it?
One of the challenges that our program had was with data collection and analysis, because the program was quickly outgrowing our current system. I communicated with my team and in the end helped develop and migrate our data to a new Client Relationship Management system.
5. What was your most memorable Co-op experience?
Part of my research was to tag along with client appointments, and we would drive to different places, sometimes as far as Abbotsford, to meet with clients. Going out into the field and really getting to meet and talk to the people we were working for was an amazing experience and I learned a lot.
6. What have you learned through your Co-op experience?
Having a 9-5 office job was a new experience for me so I learned a lot about office culture as well as time management. I also learned a lot about the non-profit sector and the politics and bureaucracy that often play a big part in what work we can do.
7. What advice do you have for future Co-op students?
Take the time to get to know your coworkers and other people in your workplace! Learning about my colleague’s experiences and paths that they took are so insightful, and the connections you make can last well beyond your work term. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, or speak up either!