The 3-Minute Co-op Competition: Day One

The 3-Minute Co-op Competition: Day One

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On October 7th and 8th WIL hosted SFU's first Three Minute Co-op Competition. Students from all faculties were nominated to participate by their Co-op coordinators, competing for a grand prize of $750 as well as two Peoples Choice Awards of $250. The rules were simple, students have three minutes to present on their Co-op experience, using whatever visual aids they choose. Time warnings were given, and the audience would gently applaud them off when their time was up. Much like the Oscars, but without the orchestra or designer dresses. The Day One presentations are highlighted here. Continue reading for more presentations from Day Two.

First Place Overall

Kendall Chan, Science

Kendall entertained the room with tales from her wide reaching Co-op experiences. Her first Co-op work term took her to Westgen, a company that specializes in maximizing profit in the dairy industry. Her first job there was rather unique - she collected bull semen. It involves big boots, long gloves, and little room for squeamishness. Evidently, one of her bulls was very popular. She could collect as much as $250,000 worth of semen a day. An awkward job? Yes, but it made for a great intro to her presentation. Her next Co-op rewarded Kendall with a nice view - the green roof of the Vancouver Convention Centre. After a pair of outdoorsy Co-ops Kendall switched to lab work, first as a clinical resarch assistant at St.Pauls, where she learned she was much happier working with people than test tubes, leading to her final Co-op placement at the UBC iCapture Centre doing lung disease research, and working with patients. All-in-all, quite the journey, and quite the presentation, well deserving of first place.

Second Place Overall

Heather Jang, Communication

Heather's presentation shared her journey through an impressive five Co-op terms. She enjoyed her first term working customer service for Bard on the Beach, and recognized the number of skills she had gained, but when it was over she found herself asking, "now what?" She made a slight change for her second Co-op placement, working as an event manager for Bath Fitter, but despite another set of skills gained, she still found herself questioning where this random collection of skills gained and tasks acheived would lead. Finally, during her final Co-op placement at Devon as a graphic designer, she had a realization: A list of skills to add to your resume isn't what matters, it's all about being able to apply these skills to new situations. So now, Heather explained, when she asks herself "now what?" she knows it's all about taking what she already has and using it to her advantage.

 People`s Choice Award: Day One

Oshi Mathur, Engineering

Oshi's broke his presentation down into two central realizations: 1. Your core values and preferences rarely change in a meaningful way. 2. Never stop working, but follow your passions. Don't wait to retire to start doing what you really want.

Overall, Oshi valued his Co-op experience, but it soon taught him that the typical 9 - 5 wasn't for him, and he's starting his own business.

Carmen Ang, Communication

Carmen presented on her Summer Co-op with the BC Used Oil Commission. She emphasised how a summer spent traveling BC forced her to throw out the typical routines she clung to as a student. He job required her to drive all across BC for days at a time (her longest trip lasted 24 days) where she would visit communities on behalf of the commission, encouraging and educating people about used oil recycling.

Justin Arseneault, Engineering

Justin provided some laughs in his presentation on his Co-op with Turbulent Diffusion Tech by peppering his slideshow with well-known memes. He explained how his work term gave him confidence in his career path, and helped the audience understand some of the more technical aspects of his work by describing the burners he worked with as essentially being flamethrowers. Always a very visual description.

Stacey Bryant, Arts & Social Sciences

Stacey shared stories and photos from her international Co-op with Schools Building Schools in Uganda. While there she worked on tracking local trade school grads. There were concerns that graduates of these newly build schools who learned skills in trades such as computer work, knitting, and the tourism sector. She designed surveys to follow-up with graduates, and the results were surprisingly optimistic. 95% of graduates were employed, and 75% were working in a field related to their training.

Ernest Chan, Computing Science

Earnest spent his Co-op work term as a software engineer at EastSide Games, where he now has a full-time post-grad job waiting for him. EastSide Games specializes in Facebook games, Ernest worked on PotFarm, which currently boats over four million installations. Earnest passionately told the room how priceless his Co-op experience was, and emphasized that having passion and a good attitude is they key to his success, and far more important than any specific skill or knowledge base.

Jasleen Grewal, Science

Jasleen presented on two Co-op work terms. Her most recent semester was spent at the BC Cancer Genome Sciences Centre, where she collected information on diabetes research. The highlight of her short presentation however, was her first Co-op spent in India. Here she worked on an analysis of the clean energy market. This required working with farmers, business owners and representatives, and government officials. She explained that this allowed her to gain valuable perspective, not only on how different fields work, but how they have to work together.

Chi Hsi, SIAT

Chi's presentation focused on two Co-op terms. The first was with SAP in Germany. Chi worked as an UX designer, responsible for redesigning software for SAP's clients. Chi's next Co-op was in Ontario, working at RIM (now Blackberry). Chi tracked issues with the latest Blackberry operating system and provided reports for high level executives. Through both Co-op placements, Chi shared that the biggest take-away was that while small design or user face changes may seem like insignificant details, they have the potential to affect millions of users.

Maryam Khan, Health Sciences

Maryam told the room about her Co-op with BC Health Services, which inspired her to set herself on a career path to eventually reach a positon to make impactful public health decisions. For Maryam, not only did the Co-op program give her valuable experience in facing rejection (and moving past it), but it also gave her degree meaning.

Krisandra Reid, Arts & Social Sciences

Krisandra also warmed up the crowd with a pop culture reference, this time from Avenue Q's Princeton, lamenting on what to do with a BA in English. A problem the World Lit student could relate to. As Co-op demonstrated however, there were plenty of jobs out there. With Co-op Krisandra worked with RIM and with three branches of government; working with public policy in Quebec, traveling around BC to promote the Elect to Recycle program, and doing PR work with Agriculture Canada. Due to the structure of government employment, she's almost guaranteed herself a job with any of these departments once she graduates, due, in large part, to the Co-op program.

Matthew Rose, Business

Matthew was a business student with a clichéd goal: graduate and find a high-paying, if miserable job. When he heard the camp he used to work at as a councillor was facing tough times however, he decided to use his summer Co-op semester to offer his help. He became their marketing intern, helping the camp bring back old campers and attract new ones. In addition to the hours spent cold calling former camp families, he was also tasked with designing a new skateboard park for the camp. The result? A record high of over 1100 campers last summer for his old camp; and for Matthew, the knowledge that work doesn't need to be all about money, because it can be more rewarding to nurture something you believe in.

Yekaternia Smirnova, Business

Yekaternia shared her experience in Germnay working on internet marketing for Texas Instruments. While working at TI she handled website edits, social media, and the web app for their major tradeshow: the E2E Russian Forum. Yekaternia has since been offered a full-time position with TI, and will soon be headed to the States to begin training.

Kimberley Streichert, Communication

Kimberley shared her challenging experience with the goh ballet. As a former dancer, she explained, the opportunity to work for a prima ballerina was a dream come true. After landing the job during lightning round, Kimberley turned her attention to impressing her new boss. Unfortunately, as she revealed in refreshing honesty, this desire to impress hindered her ability to actually do her job. Given the opportunity to quit, however, Kimberley refused, opting to stick with it. After essentially hitting rock bottom project-wise, she gained a new perspective, focusing less on impressing, and more on just getting the job done, and what do you know, it worked. Kimberley got herself back on track, and finished her work-term like a rock star, resulting in an honest and engaging presentation for her audience.

Karen Tulloch, BPK

Karen titled her presentation "Failures, Triumphs, and the Hot Mess in Between". Before joining Co-op, Karen worked as a lifeguard, and she began her presentation by sharing some of the funny and heart-stopping moments that entails. This eventually led to her Co-op in Ontario, which we've profiled on the OLC before. Her responsibilities there included helping to design an exercise program for Chris Hadfield. Yes, that Chris Hafield, the Canadian astronaut and music video star who captured the worlds heart, one photo and tweet at a time. Karen explained the importance of designing proper exercise programs for astronauts to complete before launch, and while in orbit. All of her hard work eventually resulted in a personal thank-you call from the International Space Station. If I need to reiterate, that's in space. She received a phone call from Space. She now speaks to students, which explains the stellar presentation she gave to us.

Severin Vaillancourt

Severin worked as a scuba diving research assistant in the Bahamas. Looking at the photos, you'd think he was on a tropical vacation, but as he explained to us, and in his interview on the OLC, he was responsible for collecting data and samples for his supervisors PhD thesis, and even had the opportunity to conduct his own research on yellow stingrays. His time in the field changed Severin's entire academic perspective, he explained how he's now eager to talk to his professors and TAs, and approaches his course work with more excitement than ever before. With the experiences his education has given him, I can't say I'm surprised.

Beyond the Article

Posted on November 06, 2013