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Meet Marilyn Brimacombe: CMNS Co-op student shares experience working at FCAT and the Parkinson's Society BC

June 30, 2021

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Marilyn and I’m a third year Communications student. I grew up as a competitive figure skater and once I retired, I started coaching figure skating, but I’ve always had an underlying passion for social media and digital marketing. Once COVID-19 hit, I decided to take advantage of the situation to pivot to getting experience in the communications field through Co-op.

What was your first Co-op experience like?

In my first Co-op, I was the Digital Communications Assistant for 8 months with The Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology (FCAT) at SFU. One of my key roles was to manage and create organic and paid content on the FCAT social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Whenever there was a big event coming up, such as Convocation, I worked behind the scenes to promote these events by sending out emails to RSVP for the event, scheduling social media posts, and update the FCAT website with current information. This Co-op allowed me to gain fundamental communications and social media marketing skills and it was amazing!

Tell us about your current Co-op position.

Currently, I’m in a 4-month Co-op as the Community Engagement Assistant at Parkinson Society BC. Most of my work surrounds Parkinson SuperWalk, which happens annually in September raising awareness and money for Parkinson’s disease. Recently, I’ve been holding interviews with individuals with or associated with Parkinson’s and I’ve been doing some work around promoting SuperWalk on social media as well. It’s been cool being able to experience working for a non-profit organization, also since my last Co-op was at SFU. So far, this Co-op has brought me new experiences and skills already through how the Society runs and the communications tasks that I’ve been doing.

What is your biggest takeaway from your Co-op experiences so far?

One of my biggest takeaways from Co-op is to be eager and hungry for new experiences, tasks, and skills. I learned that being open-minded leads you to some amazing opportunities, and that just being eager to learn new things by asking your co-workers and your supervisor any questions you may have career wise is so important! Be curious about the communications field and be hungry for more there is to offer.

What do you wish you knew before starting Co-op?

One thing I wish I knew before starting Co-op is that doing an 8-month Co-op is so worth it. I kind of went into Co-op thinking that an 8-month Co-op would be too long, and that I’d be taking too much time away from taking courses if I did one. But I ended up getting my Co-op at FCAT (an 8-month) and went into it open minded and I don’t regret it one bit! I think doing an 8-month is so valuable because you get the chance to learn more skills and get really good at the tasks you do in the role.

Why should students consider joining the Co-op program?

Reflecting on my 2 Co-op experiences, I think that Co-op is such an important part of your degree and experience at university. You truly do not get the experiences and skills that you gain in a Co-op in your courses. In my opinion, Co-op is so necessary if you want to level up your resume and finish your degree with experiences and skills required for jobs in the communications field.