Equity, diversity and inclusion: Ina’s path

A photo of Ina holding a cat and smiling.Hey everyone! My name is Ina (she/her), and I am in my third-year at the University of Waterloo, obtaining an Honours Arts degree with a double major in Psychology and Social Development Studies.  

How many co-op work terms have you done and where have you done them?  

This is my first official co-op term. In spring of 2021, the pandemic made it difficult to find a co-op position through WaterlooWorks, so I worked as an Inclusion Facilitator with the City of Mississauga (that unfortunately didn’t count for co-op through ‘arrange your own job’).

Currently, I am finishing up my first official co-op term with Peel Regional Police. I work in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Bureau and support the DEI Manager with research and any tasks. 

How did you come across the job opportunity? 

I came across this job opportunity on WaterlooWorks. Everyone involved in the application process was extremely communicative, and I could not have asked for a better experience! 

A photo of Ina standing in a cololurful art exhibit with oversized candy sculptures.Can you tell us a little bit about EDI, and why you were interested in working in this area? 

EDI stands for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. All organizational EDI work is focused on the intersectionality of identities that a person can hold and working towards creating an inclusive space where everyone feels safe and welcomed. I have been interested in EDI since I was in middle school, and I have always been someone to speak up against injustices.

When I saw the job posting for Peel Regional Police, I had thought that this might be one of my only opportunities to make a significant change as a co-op student. The last few years have been crucial for people demanding inclusion and equity, which we can see through the Black Lives Matter Movement, call for action regarding Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and more.

The police are making an active effort to change their EDI approach, and I was curious to see how much work was being done behind the scenes. Continuous growth is important, and I am glad that I had a small part to play towards positive change.  

What are some highlights of your co-op job? What was something you looked forward to each day during your co-op term? 

There are many highlights to my co-op job, but some of my favourite include the topics I get to research, my coworkers, my boss, and the meetings I get to attend. My coworkers are people I look forward to seeing every time I go to the office in-person. Everyone gets along very well, and I feel comfortable asking them questions if there is ever anything I need clarification on.

My boss is one of the most amazing people I have ever had the experience of working with. She is such a strong positive force when it comes to DEI and improving the current methods in the policing field.

A photo of Ina sitting on a couch and smiling.Lastly, the meetings I am able to attend throughout my co-op job are very informative and something I consider to be a highlight every day. I get to meet new people, learn new skills, and talk to those who are like-minded and ready to make change.   

What’s next for you? (E.g., Passion projects, goals, school, etc.) 

In the future, I will be continuing school and working hard to make sure I am able to find co-op positions similar to this one; where I am able to gain new knowledge and experiences. I will be working on campus this spring term, as an FDA at the residences, and I will be spending a lot of time with my roommates! I will continue to attend uwhiphop sessions and take part in on-campus events. I am excited to see what these next few years will be like!