Co-op profile: applying skills and improving lives


3rd year, Kinesiology Co-op

For Rachel, the decision to choose co-op was easy. Prior to beginning her studies at Waterloo, she had heard great things about co-op from friends who were enrolled in the program. Now a third-year Kinesiology co-op student herself, Rachel says that the experience has surpassed her high expectations. “Co-op is fantastic for so many reasons – I get to apply what I’m learning to the real world, gain experience in the industry, and earn a salary that really gives me a break financially. It’s not hard to choose co-op when you know all of its advantages!”

As a third-year student, Rachel has completed three work terms to date. Her first work term began in the second semester of her second year, where she worked as a Physiotherapy Assistant in a private rehabilitation clinic. For her second term, she joined the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab) where she worked as a Research Assistant, helping to investigate the feasibility and effects of cardiac rehabilitation on stroke patients.

The experience at the Toronto Rehab was so positive that Rachel decided to return to the Institute, this time assisting in the development and evaluation of a new clinic that will assist clinicians in assessing stroke patients and developing appropriate treatment plans. This term has also provided Rachel with one of her most exciting opportunities to date – working independently to develop a new research protocol to improve patient testing. “This term has been a great opportunity to develop experience and confidence. I took on the challenge of working on this independent project, and I’m excited to think that this research could help patients in their rehabilitation.”

So what does the future hold? “For now I’m going to leave my doors open, experience as much as I can, and make the most of these opportunities,” says Rachel. She does know that she wants to work with people and help promote healthy behaviours; and that the Kinesiology co-op program is helping her reach that goal.