Left to Right: Melanie Yien and Kelly Zheng

FHS Co-op: how working from home helped two students develop new skills

April 06, 2021
Kelly Zheng

By: Kat Perez

Kelly Zheng

Meet Kelly Zheng, a Health Sciences Co-op student working at the Medical Weight Management Clinic as a Student Obesity Medicine Assistant! Zheng is currently working from home due to COVID-19; however, her work term has continued to provide her with a variety of meaningful learning opportunities.

What stands out to Zheng about her Co-op work term? “The amazing team I am working with! They are all such passionate individuals with a common goal in mind and are making a meaningful impact amongst individuals living with obesity,” she exclaims.

Working alongside professionals in your field who can provide you with guidance on your career goals is just one of the many things Zheng loves about Co-op. Moving forward, she now has a deeper understanding of working in healthcare which has only solidified her interest in pursuing a career in the field.

For students interested in starting Co-op, Zheng strongly recommends you integrate it into your SFU experience.

“Definitely do it! Co-op is a great way for you to explore different career paths, especially if you don’t know what you want to do in the future. It is a great opportunity for both professional and personal growth.”

Melanie Yien

Melanie Yien

Introducing Melanie Yien, a Health Sciences Co-op student currently working as a Human Resources Assistant for Health Canada. Yien started her Co-op term working from home discovering many unique learning opportunities, including how to stay productive at home, and the importance of being a self-starter.

“Try to learn as much as possible during your work term and do more than what is expected of you,” she advises. “Ask your supervisor if you could help out with other tasks aside from your normal workload. This can help you network with other colleagues and explore different interests.”

Need some advice on remote work? Yien shares that communicating with your supervisor is crucial when working remotely. Updating her supervisors on her workload and future tasks is just one of the ways she maintains consistent communication and a balanced workload. Yien assists with the processing of screening various healthcare positions, such as officers, nurses and policy analysts. Co-op has not only provided her with an enriching working experience, but has also given her the opportunity to be part of a team that indirectly contributes to helping employees across Canada respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yien’s top two pieces of advice for current Co-op students are to apply to as many positions as possible and attend the information sessions. While her Co-op as a Human Resources Assistant is an unconventional opportunity for her health sciences background, her openness to the new experience helped her discover a passion for business.

“I am so grateful that I applied and it not only allowed me to explore the human resources field, but it helped me decide to enroll in a business minor.” Yien plans on working part time with Health Canada after Co-op, and is excited to pursue a Human Resources certificate at SFU.

If you’d like to learn more about Health Sciences Co-op, visit: sfu.ca/coop/programs/hsci.html