Natalia Bussard joins SFU Work Integrated Learning (WIL) as the Program Manager, Science and Environment Co-op

January 30, 2023

Natalia Bussard has over 20 years of leadership experience in education, training, talent management, career, and program development. Natalia has helped build effective international partnerships worldwide and locally throughout her career. She is a lifelong learner passionate about assisting others in growing and creating workplace cultures where everyone thrives. 

Why have you decided to join Science & Environment Co-op, and what do you think the future will look like for students preparing for working life?

I have always considered SFU’s Work Integrated Learning one of Canada’s most innovative and progressive programs. I spent a big part of my professional life connecting employers to job seekers and enjoyed working with students, faculty and administrators.

By facilitating a constant exchange of information and collaborating with everyone from students, WIL colleagues, the Faculties and their faculty members to employers, I can help ensure students’ academic preparation is in harmony with employers’ and job markets’ requirements. This way, students will be better prepared for short-term job opportunities and, ultimately, future life at work. I will also strive to increase student engagement: those closer to graduation can tap into SFU Career Services, or those who still have time to explore can engage with SFU Science and Environment co-op programs.

How have your first weeks here at SFU been? 

I was warmly welcomed and invited to contribute by both the Science and Environment Co-op and the Work Integrated Learning team. As the newest member of the WIL team, I was encouraged to share ideas for the bank of knowledge and connect with strategic partners. This is the most significant aspect of making a new leader as effective as possible, and therefore I am grateful to the Acting WIL Director, Dr. Tanya Behrisch, who enabled these connections for me immediately.

What does education mean for you, and how are you developing yourself?

Education has always meant a lot to me as it enabled me to be curious and have the opportunity to search for answers by exploration. I come from a household of educators, and as a child, I enjoyed researching, writing, reasoning, and listening to conversations at family dinners. I first obtained a Master’s degree in Biology and English, later proceeded to what people in Europe sometimes call a “small doctorate” (PhDr.) and currently, I am pursuing a doctoral degree (EdD.) at The University of British Columbia, Faculty of Education where I explore how multilingualism influences our way of relating to others in our lives. I believe that education comes to us in all sorts of forms, and we can learn from everyone around us if we care to pay attention and listen.  

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like spending most of my free time with family and friends and exploring new places. My daughter is a passionate figure skater and a rhythmic gymnast, so many evenings are spent in arenas observing her progress. Otherwise, I seek relaxation from nature, exercise, and, whenever possible, a great massage. 

What is your life philosophy? 

In order to do anything well, we first need to be at peace with who we are. We need to have internal harmony and feel that our life is balanced. If we take good care of ourselves, we then have enough energy and strength to do good work and help those around us. 

Contact Natalia directly at or send general Science co-op questions to the team at