Landing the dream co-op job at Parks Canada

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Waterloo co-op student Rachel Dennis.Rachel Dennis wasn't sure what to do after she graduated from high school. All she knew for sure was she loved teaching and the outdoors. She could see herself working at Parks Canada, but wasn't sure how to get there.

She went to a university fair to see if any courses might pique her interest. Out of all the booths she saw, Waterloo's Recreation and Leisure Studies Tourism program stood out the most. After meeting the team at the Faculty of Health, she knew she was at the right place.

Rachel has explored various career paths through co-op, which gave her the skills and experience to teach interpretive ecology programs. She found her passion in creating lesson plans to teach kids about conservation, preservation and ecology.

Urban outreach with Parks Canada

Rachel's teaching experience gave her the confidence to apply for a position with Parks Canada. She got a position as a member of the fourteen-person Urban Outreach Team based in Toronto. As a Partnership Program Developer, her job was to help create educational programs and games.

She loved encouraging people to get excited about how a specific species is crucial to the entire ecosystem functioning. It was extremely rewarding for her to see the lightbulbs go off in children and parents as they learned more about the world around them.

What's next

After experiencing the amazing opportunities organizations like Parks Canada have given Rachel, she is interested in exploring a more managerial environment. Event management and marketing would allow her to harness her previous experience as an interpreter and take it a step further. And even though she's still not sure where she'll end up, she's willing to continue exploring different opportunities.

Rachel's advice is to keep your doors open. You never know where life is going to take you, and everything is a potential learning experience you can grow from.