How co-op breaks the mould of linear education
by Nicole Simec.
“Co-op showed me that I am not one-dimensional,” says Sheryl Peters, a fourth-year chemical engineering student finishing up her last work term.
When people think about chemical engineering, they often think about jobs in oil and gas - but Sheryl says because of co-op, it is so much more than that.
Currently, Sheryl is on the other side of the world helping to develop a graduate course for the National University of Singapore. “Co-op has been an amazing and diverse experience. I purposely wanted to try many things, not just the expected.”
Sheryl says the proudest moment of her co-op experience came when she was working as a web administrator for Lug Life, a travel accessory company. During her time there, she initiated a number of projects to re-design and enhance their website.
“I didn’t get to see all of my work and ideas carried out because my co-op term was ending but when I checked back later I saw that all of my initial ideas were being implemented.”
In another work term, Sheryl was able to apply almost everything she had learned academically while working as a process engineering technician for Fluor, a multi-national engineering and construction firm. This role taught Sheryl how to work for a very large and established company. Sheryl also learned how to collaborate with other engineers and organizations on a multi-million dollar project which enhanced her project management, communication and teamwork skills.
Some of the roles Sheryl has held throughout her co-op career may seem unconventional for a chemical engineering student, but this is exactly why the program is so great. Sheryl explained how her program teaches students to manage and prioritize large workloads and hasty deadlines. It has also taught her what she calls “a very practical way of thinking and problem solving”. This real-world application of skills, in conjunction with a strong educational background, is what allows chemical engineering students and grads to excel in any field.
With her graduation on the horizon, Sheryl is thankful for her time at Waterloo and admits that her initial attraction to the university was its reputation for innovation and being the world leader in co-operative education.
Sheryl admits that landing your first job is tough. “Co-op gets your foot in the door and gives you a way to prove that you can apply your knowledge in the workplace.” Co-op also offers students up to two years of work experience, which Sheryl thinks helps to alleviate the struggle of finding a job after graduation since most employers prefer practiced applicants.
“By fourth-year, I quickly realized that I could do anything I wanted. This gave me a sense of empowerment - I felt prepared and I felt valuable.”
Thanks to co-op, Sheryl has a clear picture of what her future has in store: either chemical process engineering or working with a startup to enhance their web presence.
Sheryl’s story is a shining example of how chemical engineering students possess the skills that are desperately needed in the workplace. Employers of chemical engineering students can be sure that they have hired intelligent, hardworking individuals capable of problem solving, project management, and exceeding expectations.
Roy Romanow, Robert Tarjan to receive honourary degrees
The Honourable Roy J. Romanow, former premier of Saskatchewan, will be among the recipients of honorary doctorates when more than 2,300 students receive degrees at the University of Waterloo's convocation ceremonies taking place this week.
Premier from 1991 to 2001, Romanow went on to lead the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, resulting in a landmark report in 2002. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws and address convocation at the ceremony for the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences and Faculty of Science on Friday, October 23 at 10:00 a.m.
On the afternoon of Friday, October 23 at the combined Faculty of Environment and Faculty of Mathematics ceremonies, Robert E. Tarjan will receive an honorary Doctor of Mathematics degree and address convocation.
Tarjan is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University and a winner of the prestigious A.M. Turing Award. His research is in the field of algorithms and data structures.
On Saturday, October 24, there will be guest speakers at both the morning and afternoon Convocation ceremonies.
James Walker will address convocation at the Faculty of Arts ceremony held at 10:00 a.m. Walker is a professor in the Department of History at Waterloo, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has an intense interest in the areas of race relations and human rights, and his work has won him many accolades and awards.
Lionel Ohayon will address convocation at the Faculty of Engineering ceremony at 2:30 p.m. A graduate of Waterloo's architecture program, he is founder and CEO of iCRAVE Design, an architecture and design firm. His internationally renowned studio reimagines built and digital environments into groundbreaking and award-winning concepts including at John F. Kennedy International Airport and in mixed-use developments set to transform Lower Manhattan.
The Daily Bulletin will feature a complete list of Convocation awardees on Friday.
Professional School and Post-Degree Day coming
By Clare Flood
The Centre for Career Action (CCA)’s annual Professional School & Post-degree (PPD) Day will take place October 27, in the Student Life Centre Great Hall. The first session from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. will focus on education, health, optometry, pharmacy, social work, and college post-degree/certificate programs. Session two from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. will highlight MBA, law, engineering, graduate, and veterinary programs.
Representatives from more than 100 institutions will interact with students and alumni to answer questions about career options, graduate school admission requirements, program specifics, and application procedures and deadlines.
The CCA also offers individual appointments to provide information about the grad/professional school application process, review of applications, and mock grad/professional school interviews on an ongoing basis. Students, alumni, and staff can book their appointments through the CCA website.
For more information about PPD Day, please contact Pam Waechter at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-4567 ext. 35521.
Student Portal: delivering what students want
By the Student Portal team.
Students who started at Waterloo for the first time this fall had a new communications and student success tool to use: the student portal. They have been using it to help orient themselves to campus life, meet important deadlines, manage their time, get organized and find useful information.
Targeting both incoming undergraduate and graduate students in the summer, the portal was integrated into transition and orientation programming to help build their habits as Waterloo students.
Engagement with the portal is high. In the month of September, nearly 28,000 users logged in -- 67% of which were in their 1A term. Now that all current students have access to the portal this term, regular use by upper-year and graduate students is increasing as well.
Portal features such as classes, course materials, campus map, crowd reporter, orientation schedule and notifications were popular in the early weeks of the term and now we see spikes in activity for the open classrooms, WatCard, GRT and food features. We will continue to watch for trends to see what features resonate most for students and when.
Last week, we hosted the second student portal hackathon where students developed some interesting content for the portal, including ride sharing, music sharing and voting features. We’ll work with some of the teams to see how we can incorporate their content into the portal.
Building on the feedback we have received from students both in the portal and in a recent student consultation group, we will be launching a portal survey in early November. With a significant user base, we hope to learn more about how and when they use it, what are the most important features and what we can do to make it more useful.
Over the fall term, we will focus on refining the features that currently exist in the portal, improving the calendar functionality, enhancing the portal design and building a mobile app (the most requested feature by students). We’ll continue with our award-winning integrated communications, focusing on the value portal has to help students be successful at Waterloo.
Perhaps you have started to see “Find more on portal” stickers around campus. These stickers let students know that wherever they see them, they can find more information about that location in their portal. If you would like to post some in an area near you, please email us.