By Christine Nhan
“You would be surprised by how well-known Waterloo students are at Harvard and MIT,” chuckles Jatin Patil, a third-year Nanotechnology Engineering student.
Jatin would know – he has had co-op works terms at all three prestigious schools.
Patil’s most recent co-op experience was as a Research Assistant for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Organic Nanostructured Electronics Lab (also knows as ONE Lab). Researchers at ONE Lab develop high-performance optoelectronic and photonic devices including solar cells, LEDs, lasers, photodetectors, transistors and chemical sensors.
Through the support and guidance of several professors, this position offered Patil the same level of work and responsibility as a MIT graduate student. He says this was difficult to adjust to at first.
“There are always difficulties adjusting to a new research environment, as the work can be very self-motivated,” says Patil. “However, I took on this challenge by doing additional background research and was able to propose a new research direction that is still actively being used to this day.”
Patil says the exposure to diverse and intellectual academic work environments has been the highlight of his co-op journey. “Not only am I gaining knowledge from my time spent working, but I also regularly attend events hosted by these institutions,” says Patil. “These after-work hours provided me the chance to connect with highly respected professionals that inspire me to work hard.”
What is Patil’s advice to fellow Warriors who have a co-op work term at another university? “You represent a prestigious Canadian institution, so make sure you wear it proudly regardless of where you are!”