With 7,000 co-op employers, Waterloo students work for an amazing range of organizations. Common areas include
But what do co-op students do? Here are some examples that students shared with us.
Blake travelled to Vancouver to work at Electronic Arts - NHL Division in the Brand Management Marketing, where he helped with the development of the NHL video game.
As part of his role, Blake developed business proposals used to implement new features in the game and provided feedback to the development teams regarding gameplay.
This fast-paced co-op experience exposed the Speech Communication student to new technologies, and helped him realize his passion for the gaming industry.
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Marketing Communications Specialist, Intuit Canada
From her first day at Intuit, Vicky felt like an important part of the team. She helped develop email blasts, monthly newsletters, and website content to market finance and tax software.
Her 8-month co-op allowed the Honours Arts and Business student to take on more responsibility and help plan and execute long-term projects.
Despite having no previous experience in marketing, Vicky’s time at Intuit inspired her to explore further work terms in marketing.
Learning and Development Analyst, Scotiabank
Michelle helped develop a company-wide employee development guide to help employees access learning resources to further their careers.
She also acted as a project manager for a workshop that brought 800+ employees together to focus on their development goals.
Her time at Scotiabank provided the Legal Studies student with valuable experience in a fast-paced work environment, allowing her to develop strong organizational and project management skills.
Retail Business Analyst, LoyaltyOne
Alessandra, a Statistics student, used her strong analytical skills to provide quantitative business insights at LoyaltyOne.
By analyzing sales and marketing data, she provided actionable suggestions to help improve business and marketing operations.
During her work term, Alessandra discovered a passion for data analytics while gaining professional connections, skills, and experiences. Her experience was so rewarding that she returned for a subsequent term in a new role.
Project Coordinator, Manulife Financial
Fatima was able to develop strong interpersonal and management skills as she worked to meet tight project deadlines. Each month she extracted and reported financial data to stakeholders and provided support on various internal projects.
The Legal Studies student used her diverse experiences in co-op to expand her skillset and breadth of knowledge, which she plans to showcase in her applications to law school.
Registration Coordinator, TK Events
Rachel designed and planned events for clients including Dell, Facebook, and D2L. She created event plan proposals, managed registration sites, organized event logistics and materials.
Her major project was helping to plan a conference for 1,000 people, which she got to travel to Las Vegas to attend.
Her various co-op positions in the event industry allowed the Speech Communication student to explore managerial roles and expand her professional network in preparation for her career.
Marketing Assistant, CIR Realty
Madison used her strong communication and interpersonal skills to represent the CIR Realty brand, promote services to potential clients, and help develop marketing leads.
Madison also learned about property law by working with the Calgary courthouse to identify potential foreclosure properties.
As an Honours Arts and Business student with a strong interest in law, Madison to gain real-world experience and insights into the legal system.
As a Recreation Therapy Student at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Kaitlyn helped improve the quality of life of schizophrenia patients by designing and implementing recreation events to accommodate their needs.
She also had the opportunity to shadow medical professionals within the hospital, working with patients suffering from a variety of mental illnesses.
Kaitlyn was able to use her knowledge as a Therapeutic Recreation student to make lasting impacts on the lives of patients with mental illness.
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Student Kinesiologist, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
Rikki began her Kinesiology degree at Waterloo with the intent of pursuing physiotherapy, which lead her to her first co-op position at a rehabilitation clinic. Rikki's job introduced her to a variety of rehabilitation techniques and strategies to help treat injured patients.
She worked directly with clients, teaching them exercise programs and suggesting pain relief techniques to improve their conditions.
The experience opened her eyes to the diverse possibilities in the rehabilitation sciences and solidified her passion for a career in physiotherapy.
Chronic Care - Clinical Assistant, Haileybury Family Health Team
As a Clinical Assistant within a preventative health care unit, Kyla worked with patients suffering from chronic diseases to help improve their quality of life.
She conducted blood work reviews for patients with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and ensured patients were completing yearly medical diagnostic tests to detect changes in their health.
Through co-op in her Health Studies program, Kyla has been able to explore careers in the medical field and gain skills in diagnostics and treatment.
Business Intelligence Analyst, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
During her work term at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Natasha helped redesign an online tool used to allocate clinical resources, such as nurses and therapists, to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care.
She was involved in managing stakeholder communications, project timelines and documentation, and proposing features for the system.
A Health Studies student, Natasha was able to gain experience in the managerial and business sectors of healthcare, giving her a unique skillset for future opportunities.
Project Analyst, St. Joseph’s Healthcare
For her first co-op term, Rebecca worked at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton as a Project Analyst, working alongside the clinical project team to develop a new electronic system for patient care.
Rebecca collaborated with hospital departments to develop process maps of clinical procedures used to treat patients and then integrated these procedures into a new electronic system to improve the efficiency of medical treatment.
Despite it being her first co-op, Rebecca was able to make impactful decisions and explore the fields of clinical informatics and project management.
Laavanya worked alongside physicians, nurses, and pharmacists during 4 co-op terms at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The Health Studies student shadowed medical oncologists and worked with cancer patients, gaining valuable insights on patient perspectives of healthcare.
As a Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Research Assistant at Sunnybrook, she conducted literature reviews, developed proposals, collected data, and created presentations to share research findings. Her co-op experiences reinforced Laavanya's goal of becoming a physician.
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Clinical Research Study Assistant, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Vinita is a fourth-year Science and Business student who discovered a passion for cancer research through co-op.
Vinita worked for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, where she assisted with research projects focused on lymphoma. She used her skills in clinical research to help predict the toxicity effects of chemotherapy, improving the clinical treatment process of cancer in older adults.
She also received a prestigious Co-op Student of the Year award for her contributions to cancer research at St. Michael’s Hospital.
Cancer Research Analyst, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Co-op gave Sierra the opportunity to be at the forefront of medical research and led her to several national conferences in urology, hematology and cancer research.
Working with cancer patients at Sunnybrook, she assisted with multiple clinical trials, medical tests, and data collection.
She analyzed data from research studies to develop reports used to better understand cancer. Being able to closely interact with patients inspired the Biochemistry student to further pursue research.
Clinical Research Assistant, Robarts Research Institute
Through co-op, Laura was able to learn about clinical research and to explore her research interests through an independent project on pharmaceutical treatments to lower patient cholesterol levels.
In the Blackburn Cardiovascular Genetics Lab, the Health Studies student analyzed the genetic component of lipid-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.
She was responsible for extracting DNA and sequencing genes from tissue samples. She also provided support for clinical trials to ensure ethical research practices.
Research Assistant, University of Waterloo
Daphne conducted research in collaboration with the University of Washington to analyze the impact of breastfeeding rates on global economics.
The Biochemistry student helped quantify the relationship between GDP and national breastfeeding rates, and studied the cost-effectiveness of public health interventions in developing countries. Her research helped support public health policies and ensured that evidence-based decisions were used to support these changes. Through co-op, Daphne was able to explore health research and make a difference in the lives of others.
In her third work term, Laurin worked at an overnight camping facility designed for children with physical disabilities.
As a cabin leader at Camp Woodeden, she learned about mobility disorders and the techniques used to improve kids' quality of life and ability to be as independent as possible.
Prior to the role, Laurin, who is studying Kinesiology, wanted to work with older populations. However, co-op gave her the opportunity to discover that that working with children with disabilities is a career path she is passionate about.
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Sports Marketing Co-op
Equipped with a strong knowledge of sports and event management, Hilary used her skills to promote athletic events, recreation programs, and facilities as part of her work term with the Athletics and Recreation at Waterloo.
Hilary had the freedom to develop creative marketing strategies, improving brand awareness and student engagement.
The position furthered her passion for sports and university athletics, leading her to choose a major in Recreation and Sports Business.
Dan, a Recreation and Sports Business student, developed valuable connections with employers, including Microsoft and Uber, as he planned and facilitated information sessions while working for Waterloo's Co-operative Education and Career Action department.
During his work term, Dan met executives from major international employers. The transferable skills in event management and communication gained from co-op provide Dan with a strong foundation of professional skills as he works towards a career in the NHL.
Development Intern, Mosoj Yan NGO
With a strong passion for social justice, Samantha set out to Bolivia to help improve the quality of life of at-risk populations. She worked at a shelter for young women who were victims of sexual abuse. She taught English and music to them and helped with a children’s education program designed to keep at-risk youth off the streets.
After doing 3 co-op terms abroad, the Honours Arts and Business student (Peace and Conflict Studies major) plans to continue her international work after graduation. Co-op gave her the opportunity to work with different organizations and experience life as a development worker.
Health Promotion Specialist Assistant, Heart and Stroke Foundation
At the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Praveenah planned events in South Asia, including focus groups for heart attack and stroke survivors to share their experiences.
The Health Studies student engaged with the local community, raising awareness about the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and educating the public on healthy lifestyle choices. Her experience as a co-op student inspired her to pursue a Master’s of Public Health.
When he began his studies at Waterloo, Vincent never expected he could be working in the heart of New York City.
As a Computer Science co-op student at Compass in New York City, he learned to program new features into an iOS and Android app. Despite having no experience in mobile development, he was mentored by full-time staff and quickly developed new skills.
Vincent loved how Compass gave him meaningful work rather than a project that might be thrown out. Working outside of Canada also opened Vincent’s eyes to the diversity of jobs and locations available in co-op.
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Software Engineer, PiinPoint
During his co-op term, Computer Science student Joey worked as a software engineer and lead developer at PiinPoint, a Waterloo software startup that helps retailers determine the best location to open shop.
He took on a lead role in the development, improvement, and expansion of PiinPoint’s platform, creating a drivetime polygon generator, which attracted customers to the platform. He managed a team of engineers and co-op students, and made changes to the production environment.
Security Integration, Loblaws
As a co-op student at Loblaws, Kaajal helped manage company-wide security systems and educate employees about cybersecurity. She helped determine potential security breaches, such as malicious emails, and investigated these threats.
Kaajal worked with cybersecurity technology, a field she had not considered prior to her co-op term. Due to her newfound interest, the Honours Arts and Business student plans to pursue a Certified Information Systems Auditor designation.
Marketing and Sales Associate, Liquid Analytics
As an English major, Danielle’s communication skills were a natural fit for marketing. In her time at Liquid Analytics, she developed digital marketing content to promote new products, drafted social media content, and developed content for the company website.
Through co-op, Danielle has been able to test different careers and refine her choice of courses to best suit her interests in marketing and branding.
Marketing and Community Coordinator, Palette
Kaylee’s co-op experience led directly to a career after graduation. After spending a co-op term at Palette, a local start-up founded by a Waterloo graduate, she returned to the company in a full-time marketing position.
As a Fine Arts co-op student, she was the front line of communication for the company, creating content for the website, social media channels, and email campaigns. Working in a start-up allowed Kaylee to collaborate on diverse projects and to apply business from her degree.
Digital Communications Coordinator, University of Waterloo
Laryssa knew she wanted to use her co-op experiences to help jumpstart her career in marketing. During her first work term, she worked as a Digital Communications Coordinator, developing content and marketing campaigns for the University of Waterloo's social media platforms, including Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Laryssa, who is studying Honours Arts and Business (Psychology major), developed skills in business, marketing, and communications and plans to pursue future co-op work terms in marketing.
Joseph says working as a field engineering student with PCL, one of Canada's top construction management companies, was awesome because he was involved with the construction of Canada's newest hockey arena: Rogers Place - the new home of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers.
PCL gave him tremendous responsibilities and tasks that he says other companies would be hesitant to give. They trusted their students to do a good job while giving the support they needed to be successful.
A fourth-year Civil Engineering student, Joseph learned about one of the largest sub-disciplines of civil engineering: construction. Construction and construction management is a tough undertaking since there are so many complex things that can't be taken into account during the design phase. It's an important and difficult task to ensure buildings, bridges, and other structures are built properly, efficiently, and of course, safely.
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Mechanical Engineering Intern, Boosted
Nikhil moved to California for co-op, where he worked for Boosted, a company that produces high end electric longboards.
The Mechatronics Engineering student has been an avid longboarder for years, so the position perfectly combined his personal interests and engineering expertise. He helped create models for testing, including the design and manufacturing of parts, as well as developing strategies to optimize the efficiency of the technology.
Mechanical Design, Hatch
Maanoj used co-op to gain 2 years of experience exploring his passion for renewable energy. At Hatch, he worked with a mechanical design team to redesign a component of a hydroelectric dam.
The Mechanical Engineering student visited the dam site in Sudbury, working on refurbishment projects and brainstorming technical solutions with the team. He gained an international mindset as he worked on projects in both Canada and Zimbabwe.
Communications Assistant, TRIUMF
As a Political Science student, Matt never expected to work at Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics.
As a Communications Assistant, Matt developed digital marketing content, helped manage TRIUMF’s social media accounts, and attended conferences to promote the organization. In addition to gaining valuable skills, Matt was able to explore British Columbia, an added benefit of a co-op term away from home!
Research & Development Co-op, Automotive Fuel Cell Co-operation
As an R&D co-op with the Membrane Electrode Assembly team, Kris had the chance to apply many of the skills he had learned during his studies at the University of Waterloo, as well as develop several new skills.
As a Nanotechnology Engineering student, his main role at AFCC was to test materials for fuel cell electrodes. Materials are a major focus of nanotechnology research, so the work Kris was doing was directly related to his studies. As his duties frequently changed on the job, Kris was able to learn new techniques throughout the term.
Research assistant, Harvard University
Jonathan, a student in Chemical Engineering, knows the secret to having a successful co-op work term: that it takes more than just raw talent.
Having completed 2 work terms at Harvard University, Jonathan has some advice: seek out jobs that help improve your individual skill set. At Harvard, Jonathan did a lot of fundamental research investigating new areas, helping with publications and other initiatives.
Jonathan explains that co-op allows you to identify abilities and knowledge you need to gain. His ultimate goal is to start his own company and offers one last piece of advice: "Don't sit back and let life toss you around - educate yourself enough to set a direction."
As a Policy Analyst, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Misha researched international and national policies to support cultural preservation of Indigenous communities.
She created a technical report which identified best practices for ongoing engagement between governments and indigenous populations within Canada. As a Political Science student, Misha really valued the exposure to public policy and development, inspiring her to pursue a Master’s degree in public policy.
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Public Affairs Coordinator, Government Relations
Mackenzie helped market and promote government events and announcements happening around campus, and developed communications materials to be sent to government officials.
The Honours Arts and Business (History) student worked within Waterloo's Government Relations department, which manages external communications between the university and all levels of government. She was able to develop diverse professional skills and realize her personal strengths.
Innovation Lab - Operations Assistant, Employment and Social Development Canada
With passion for improving the quality of lives of others, Kailey spent a co-op term promoting national programs by developing workshops for community organizations across Canada.
The Social Development Studies student also researched poverty in Canada, using the experiences of low-income Canadians to help improve national social development programs.
Her work term solidified her plans for a career in government, where she is able to see the tangible impacts of her work.
Junior Communications Officer, Public Services and Procurement Canada
Haley worked on a team that provided strategic communications services for the Government of Canada’s military procurement activities.
She used social media to educate Canadians on ongoing procurement activities, and utilized storytelling to improve engagement with stakeholders.
The Honours Arts and Business student travelled to national conferences, where she was able to realize her impact on protecting and serving Canadians. Her experience in the public sector helped her find her professional passion and career goal.
Isha helped develop policies relating to land use plans in northern Canada during her work term as an Environmental Policy Analyst with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.
Her projects included analyzing development initiatives, including the environmental assessment legislation for Mackenzie Valley, the Nunavut Land Use plan and federal development projects in the Yukon.
As an Environment and Resource Studies student, this role integrated Isha’s passion for environment sustainability with valuable knowledge in public policy, business and research skills to prepare her for a career in federal public service.
Her work term highlighted the importance of other sectors in relation to federal government; for example, the intersection between business in the North and federal policies. Isha is now considering working in different sectors before entering government to serve Canadians and protect the environment in a sustainable manner.
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Research Technician, Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Working alongside a team of researchers, Jordan studied long-term climate impacts on sea ice, fox ecology, and seal populations.
He led teams of citizen scientists in conducting studies of subarctic climate variables, such as snowpack composition and the advancement of treelines, to better understand the dynamic nature of the Arctic.
As he explores different careers in environmental science, co-op has helped Jordan develop his own strengths and refine his professional goals.
Agricultural Environmental Sustainability Analyst, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Kate studied the impacts of agricultural practices on the environment by using aircraft measurements of heat, carbon dioxide, and methane over agricultural areas.
An Environmental Engineering student, Kate used tools such as mass balancing, wavelet analysis, and eddy covariance. Co-op introduced her to research, which was a field she never considered working in.
Kate found research a really appealing career path, and plans to explore it with her remaining work terms.
Sustainability and Accessibility, Blackberry
Sandra’s background in environment and business helped her assess Blackberry’s global greenhouse emissions and determine reduction goals.
An Environment and Business student, Sandra worked closely with auditors to develop Blackberry’s corporate responsibility report and to implement sustainable business practices.
Her professional experience allowed her to integrate the business and environmental studies components of her degree, which she intends to further pursue in additional work terms.
Junior Environmental Enforcement Analyst, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Julia knew from her studies at Waterloo that she was passionate about environmental management and regulation.
As a co-op student, she dealt with environmental issues such as the unlawful release of untreated water into the St. Lawrence River, giving her a realistic view of the intricacies of environmental conservation.
The Environment and Business student participated in town hall meetings and learned how the federal government is tackling environmental offenders.
A passion for the environment and education
Andrew, a student in Geography and Environmental Management, spent a co-op term at Ontario's Pinery Provincial Park delivering educational programs to the public, leading surveys on species at risk, and developing an interactive app for the park.
The Explore Pinery app engages visitors by promoting park amenities, and giving them the chance to track and observe the different wildlife and natural beauty of the park. By providing tips on avoiding poison ivy and other dangers, and by providing easy access to emergency contacts, it helps improve visitor safety.