Co-op Student Experiences

Peace and Conflict Studies offers a variety of Co-operative Education (Co-op) within the program through the University of Waterloo's co-op system. PACS students add the co-op option to their degree through the PACS Honours Arts and Business program by alternating study and work terms. For students who are combining a co-op program with PACS, 20 months of experience might be a huge addition to their resume and bank account. Below are a few stories of what some PACS students have done while on a co-op work term.


Afiyah Basil

As a co-op student, a Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) student, and someone involved in leadership roles at Waterloo, Afiyah has been able to make the most out of her degree. Afiyah is a double major student of PACS and Psychology, and as she completes her 4A term, she can reflect on the classroom and co-op experiences that have helped her grow. 

Read the full article about Afiyah!

Yasmin Wallace

Yasmin Wallace

Working in social justice and anti-racism has been an interest for Yasmin since high school. Studying Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) has meant that she can study and take co-ops that are related to her passions and help expand her understanding of challenging topics

Yasmin Wallace entered her degree at University of Waterloo with a strong interest in social justice and advocacy work from high school. Since then, she has had the chance to study and work in related areas throughout her academic experience in Peace and Conflict Studies and a double major with Legal Studies. She has been able to apply what she has learned from both disciplines to interesting co-op positions, and this has given her opportunities to grow.

Read more about Yasmin here.

Anna Miedema

Anna Miedema

With the worldview and perspective from Peace and Conflict Studies, combined with the understanding of systems and policy that Legal Studies provides, Anna is ready to take on the world. Anna is in her 4th year, studying a double major in Legal Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies and is in the co-op program. After taking PACS 202: Conflict Resolution, Anna Miedema realized the value in having Peace and Conflict Studies as part of her degree. Since then, she has been able to find new ways that PACS can apply to her everyday life as well as her co-op experience. 

Read more about Anna here

Ryan Bromley on beige background in blue shirt and tie

Ryan Bromley

Ryan Bromley is a 3A Arts and Business student with a Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) major. Ryan was a fall 2021 Enterprise Co-op pitch winner. Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) is a co-op pathway that allows students to pursue an entrepreneurial co-op option in which students start their businesses while earning a co-op credit. Ryan’s original pitch was to create a “Peace to co-op” business that would teach university students critical personal and professional skills related to PACS. Throughout the work term, Ryan displayed incredible flexibility, drive, and vision in his journey through the term as he worked towards a dream that extends beyond the four months of the co-op.

Read more about Ryan here.

Anna Giesbrecht


As an Arts and Business student, Anna Giesbrecht, majored in PACS with a minor in International Studies. Inspired by the Restorative Justice course (PACS 329), Anna applied for a Co-op position with Community Justice Initiatives in Kitchener. This position allowed her to work in the Elder Mediation Services Branch, working to build relationships with older members of the community so that the organization can better resolve conflict with these populations. Anna also spent time in Brazil for one of her Co-op positions working with the organization ‘Youth with a Mission’ where Anna taught English to students while they were not in their formal schooling. 

Read more about Anna here!



On her fourth Co-op position as a Research Market Analyst for a renewable energy company, showing that Caileigh has had Co-op jobs that have given her experiences across the board. At a previous Co-op position, Caileigh worked for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in Peterborough as a Marketing Officer. Caileigh believes that her Co-op experiences have helped to shape her interests for the future in the realm of PACS.

Read more about Caileigh here!

Cassie giving presentation in front of Velocity sign


During the final year of her degree, Cassie founded her start-up, SheLeads. SheLeads is building a platform for educators, to encourage and assess leadership skill understanding in girls seamlessly. Through the platform, girls ages 6-10 go through story based games that focus on strong female protagonists leading adventures around various leadership skills including: risk-taking, responsibility, and communication. Cassie spent most of her Co-op terms in the technology sector, and learned a lot that helped her create SheLeads.

Read more about Cassie here!



Kayleigh Swanson tailored her Arts and Business degree with a major in PACS. Her first Co-op position took her to Edmonton to work with a business-consulting firm where she worked as an analyst. This position allowed her to work on a number of diverse projects that connected the business world to her classroom learning. For Kayleigh’s second Co-op term she travelled to Uganda as part of the Beyond Borders program, which doubled as a PACS Internship. Kayleigh spent 3 months working for a non-profit whose purpose is to curve the spread of HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Co-op term three had Kayleigh working as the Donor Relations and Stewardship Assistant with the University Of Waterloo Office Of Advancement. For her final Co-op term Kayleigh worked with a law firm in Toronto.

Read more about Kayleigh here!

Kissor Nithiananthan standing on a bridge


In the fall of 2019, Kissor Nithiananthan, a 3A Arts and Business student, was hired to work at Northbridge Insurance in Toronto’s financial district. Kissor, an Honours Business student, has a unique experience in the business field. With a Peace and Conflict Studies major and Human Resources minor, he had a leg up on his competitors. Kissor was able to call upon his different skills in order to be a suitable candidate for this position. Even in the financial district, Kissor found that his Peace and Conflict Studies skills were useful, especially when it came to communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills. 

Read more about Kissor here!



As a Co-op student, Konica got the opportunity to try her hand at a number of different approaches to conflict. She spent a term working as a Tax Administrator with Manulife Financial where she learned about the importance of establishing connections and team dynamics. She then went on to work as a Health Promotion Assistant with the Heart and Stroke Foundation within the South Asian diversity wing. This opportunity taught Konica the impact of adapting information to specific cultures in order to have the maximum positive effect on those involved. In her final Co-op experienced working in Ottawa as a Junior Policy Analyst, Konica researched women’s homelessness and was inspired by her work to do more. Konica and one of her Co-op partners decided to take the information they were learning and experience more first hand. On their own, they began volunteering at a Shelter in Ottawa, holding life-skills and internet literacy workshops for homeless individuals.

Read more about Konica here!

Maddie Hemstreet in the forest


Maddie Hemstreet, like so many other students, chose to attend the University of Waterloo specifically for the co-op program. Over her time in the program, Maddie has discovered that co-op helps you to figure out the depth of your own capability and to stretch your skill set. Maddie has since worked for employers such as the University of Waterloo’s math department and the Canadian Government Department of Global Affairs.

Read more about Maddie here!

Mhari Reid


In her fourth year, Mhari Reid worked for Gateway for Enterprise to Discover Innovation (GEDI). She worked first as an Engagement Specialist, and then in a later term, as an Operations and Project Coordinator. GEDI was initially interested in hiring Mhari due to the multidisciplinary approach of her PACS degree, which would help her with the interpersonal communication that would be necessary on the job.

Read more about Mhari here!

Nour Saad


In her third and fourth year, Nour Saad had the opportunity to work for Blackberry Ltd. Rather than applying to this job through a job site, though, Nour instead attended an information session at UW where she got the chance to connect with one of the managers and leave a good impression that led to scheduling an interview  at the Blackberry offices in person, in order to secure her position. After the interview, it was decided that, based on Nour’s experience and conversational ability, she would be a good fit for a customer service role.

Read more about Nour here!

Philip Zuidema


As a co-op student, Philip Zuidema has had a wide range of co-op jobs. He has researched the government's addiction to gambling at a think-tank in Hamilton; built cabinets at a millwork shop in Kitchener; and supported professors in the transition to remote teaching at the University of Waterloo.

At his first co-op job at Cardus, Philip had the chance to research how the government profits from gambling. This job leaned heavily on his PACS experience, and he appreciated the social-justice orientation of the position.

Read more about Philip here!

Raj speaking in front of microphone


As an Arts and Business Student at the University of Waterloo, Sukhraaj ‘Raj’ Shergill's first Co-op position allowed him to work with the Government of Canada in Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). This lead to a continued relationship which saw Raj complete 5 terms at INAC, having a number of different positions including Policy Analyst, Communications Assistant, and as an International Relations Analyst where he was invited to have dinner with the Chilean Ambassador to Canada! Another notable Co-op position had him working in Treaties and Aboriginal Government (TAG) as a Negotiations Analyst, a position that works to increase the autonomy of indigenous groups through supporting self-government and solidifying treaties.

Read more about Raj here!

Victoria Lumax


Victoria Lumax, a co-op student majoring in English and Peace and Conflict Studies, was able to explore her passions and expertise in communications when she spent two terms working as a communications assistant for the Kindred Credit Union Center for Peace Advancement. During her time there, Victoria learned a lot about the peacebuilding community, and was grateful to be able to support the work being done there in any way possible. Much of her role was built around telling the story about what happens in the Centre for Peace Advancement as well as helping the Centre spread awareness for events and opportunities.

Read more about Victoria here!

Willow Carmount


Willow Carmount took on the role of Marketing and Recruitment Assistant at Renison University College in her second co-op term. In this role, they were given the opportunity to take on more writing assignments by her supervisors. What Willow learned in PACS aided them in successfully completing important projects, such as the Alternate Admissions Pathway for Indigenous students at Renison. To complete this project, Willow used the knowledge gifted to her by Indigenous leaders at the University of Waterloo and beyond, and used what they learned about structural positive and negative peace in PACS 101 Peace is Everybody's Business”.

Read more about Willow here!