Research in equestrian training: Max's first co-op journey

A photo of Max wearing a University of Waterloo lab coat.Max Homm is a Science student in Honours Biology going into his 2B academic term. He describes his first co-op experience and the skills he developed during his term at Levade!

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

My current and only job position so far was at Levade, which is an equestrian training app. It was difficult to find jobs that were directly in my field so I was super excited to find this remote business research position. It’s definitely a bonus that I might continue my studies in a business-related graduate program!

What are some main projects that you have worked on during your co-op term?

I was responsible for completing numerous assignments while on my co-op term this past winter. These projects ranged from trying to crash the latest form of the Levade app, to researching all aspects of our competition, all the way to writing various email templates that could be put aside for future use.

What steps did you take to successfully complete your projects?

My employers were super flexible and always took into consideration how much I enjoyed my projects. If there was a project that I was struggling with or couldn't really find any information on, I could switch it out for another project with no questions asked. Although I pushed through and completed all of my projects, it was nice to know that I had some choice in how I structured my work days.

Did you have prior experience with other organizations before your first co-op work term? If so, how did this help you?

I had some previous experience that I believe helped me receive this offer from Levade. First of all, I have a deep background in sports. Although not equestrian related, I have a great understanding of strong coach-student relationships, which helped me immensely during my time contributing to app design and function. Secondly, I have co-op experience in Grade 11 working at a software company called Race Roster. This allowed me to familiarize myself with technology and allowed me to really adapt to working online.

A photo of Max holding a dog.What is something new you learned about working remotely?

A truly underrated skill that I’ve refined during my time working remotely is my communication. Some of you may be wondering how my communication has improved despite never leaving my house? Well, I had daily meetings with my supervisors, which ranged from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Although we talked about business-related topics for the majority of the time, we still tended to shy away from professional topics to have more personal conversations. This really helped me with my social well-being, especially within this online setting.

Did you learn any new tech (hardware or software) during your co-op term? What did you learn and how did you apply it?

Although I didn’t directly learn any new hardware or software, I was able to witness the real-life applications of what software can create. By watching the brilliant work that our developer, Jonah, was doing, I was able to gather a greater appreciation for the types of projects developers can complete. This is also a vital appreciation to have considering I’m completing the bioinformatics option at Waterloo!

What’s next for you?

I have a very long list of plans and backup plans relating to what I want to do with my life. This list includes research positions, public health, biotechnology, education/teaching, business and more. The co-op program at Waterloo is so beneficial for me because I can choose positions that relate to my interests. If these interests change, I can easily change my job field for the next co-op placement!