Fall 2023 co-op convocation spotlight

Friday, October 20, 2023

by: Lily Francis (she/her)

Graduating Warriors reflect on their co-op journeys while embracing the future.

We interviewed students who are preparing to graduate this week and asked them to reflect on their co-op journey, professional achievements and plans for the future.

Camille Huo (PharmD '23), she/her

Camille Huo

Through her time at the School of Pharmacy, Camille Huo had an opportunity to make an impact in various healthcare settings. She is now working as a full-time intern at Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre.

Upon graduation this fall, can you reflect on your Waterloo journey and how co-op shaped your journey?

“I didn't do a co-op in my undergrad, but I had three co-ops during my time at the School of Pharmacy. My first placement was at Michael Garron Hospital in their outpatient pharmacy. My second co-op was at Sunnybrook, Odette Cancer Centre. And my third co-op was a remote job with Medma, which is a startup company for community pharmacies to schedule clinical services.” 

"I thoroughly enjoyed having co-ops throughout my four years at the School of Pharmacy.”


How can other co-op students aim to contribute meaningfully to their workplace?

“It can be intimidating as a student when you're new in a workplace and you don't really know where you fit in or how to contribute.”

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In order to stand out at your co-op term, it’s just showing how willing you are to help. Especially in times where it's really needed and just showing that you can take initiative for tasks within your scope of practice.


How has co-op helped prepare you for future endeavors?

“The most relevant co-op would be my second one, at Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Center, where I worked from September to December 2021. It's probably my favorite one that I worked at, mostly because of how meaningful it is for me to be working with oncology patients and it was very patient-facing as well.”

“I chose pharmacy to help people and be able to communicate with them and make them feel understood and cared for.  I really got familiar with all the processes and the systems that Sunnybrook uses, and it was always a goal of mine to go back there and work full time.”

Do you have any advice for students embarking on their co-op journey?

“I would say keep an open mind, especially with your first term. I think a lot of people are going to experience failure. I experienced disappointment with my first round of interviews and was sad about that. It all worked out so well because I ended up at Michael Garron, I loved everyone there and I ended up getting Co-op Student of the Year through that co-op.”

How did being recognized as Co-op Student of the Year for 2021 help you in your journey?

"I was really excited and happy, of course, to represent the Science faculty in the Co-op Student of the Year. I don't think someone from the School of Pharmacy has ever won that award. It was really exciting to be the first one. We are also off on a satellite campus, so a lot of people forget about us. It was nice to bring Pharmacy into the limelight in that way. Especially during COVID and a time when pharmacists abilities were really brought to the public's attention and people were starting to see how much pharmacists can do other than just dispensing drugs.”

Anna Bordioug (BMath '23), she/her

Anna Bordioug

Utilized her double co-op Computer Science and Business degree into a full-time position as a technology consultant at Protiviti.

Do you have any advice for students embarking on their co-op journey?

“I'd say don't feel like you must specialize from your first co-op, and that's something I put pressure on myself to do. I'm very glad that I did both the technical and the business sides, because co-op is meant for exploring." Don’t be afraid of exploring in your co-op, the point of the program is to see what you like, what you don't like.”

How can co-op students contribute meaningfully to their workplace?

“Don't be afraid to reach out to people and ask how you can help, even if it's not under your official job description. If you find you have the time, reach out to your boss, your colleagues, anyone around you who may not even be on your team. Take the initiative to ask where you can help gain more experience.”


As you are graduating this fall, can you reflect on your Waterloo journey and how co-op has played a role in your plans for the future?

open quotation marksCo-op played a big role in my journey. It was an opportunity for me to apply everything I was learning in class in the real world which proved to be super useful. I learned a lot of lessons from my co-ops that I was able to then go back to school with and apply in my classes as well. 

“For my first year of full-time work after graduation, I am focused on work and making a big impact to see where that can take me.”  

How do you feel the work experience and skills you have gained from co-op have prepared you for your future?

“I'm now working full-time as a technology consultant at Protiviti, and co-op has helped me a ton. In both the technology that I learned about in coursework, and worked with during my co-ops, and the business component from the second half of my degree. - All of those skills I'm getting to apply now in the workplace.”