Co-op students showcase their skills on campus

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

by Andreea Perescu

 Research Assistant Adrienne Wise overseeing an experiment.Kinesiology Professor Michael Barnett-Cowan knows the benefits of hiring on-campus talent. “Waterloo co-op students have a strong work ethic, are knowledge seekers and are full of energy. They are also comfortable working with people in the lab and in the community,” said Barnett-Cowan. This past term he welcomed two co-op students to Waterloo’s on-campus Multisensory Brain and Cognition Lab (MBC).

Research in the MBC Lab focuses on tricking the brain with sensory illusions to figure out how the brain works. This past term, Barnett-Cowan recruited Mechanical Engineering student Ilarion Kvitnevski to help build a virtual reality motion simulator. A second co-op student, Adrienne Wise from the Department of Kinesiology, was hired to help with the assessment of audiovisual integration in patients who have suffered a stroke and acquired brain injury.

Barnett-Cowan says that co-op students bring a unique skill-set to the laboratory. “Our approach is multidisciplinary and relies on research tools and theory from multiple backgrounds, primarily neuroscience, kinesiology, psychology, biology, engineering and computer science,” he explained. “Whenever possible, I try to match students to projects that they are most interested in. Occasionally, co-op students are given a project to manage and conduct primarily on their own, with my supervision. This often leads to opportunities to present at scientific conferences and publish results in scientific journals.”

When asked what Professor Barnett-Cowan looks for when hiring co-op students, past work experience was at the top of his list. “Past work experience, whether it is from another co-op or from a summer job from high school, is highly valued. Students with past work experience generally know how to work with other people, how to manage their time, how to conduct themselves professionally,” he said. “They know when to seek assistance and guidance.”

For more information about hiring Waterloo co-op students on campus, including a step-by-step guide, visit Hire Waterloo.

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