Showcasing the co-op advantage

Rachel McDonald.

Rachel McDonald (centre) and colleagues. Original photo provided by The Daily Bulletin

Rachel McDonald's co-op job is paying off in more ways than one, after spending a work term researching the accomplishments of co-op students who came before her.

The Health Studies students recently completed her first co-op term with the Sunnybrook Research Institute where she not only authored a research paper, but was also able to see the finished results published in the  Journal of Cancer Education.

During her co-op term Rachel created the Student Accomplishments in the Rapid Response Radiotherapy Program: A Ten Year Review manuscript, a survey-based analysis of the success achieved by Sunnybrook’s co-op students since 2004.

I am so grateful to have this manuscript published in the Journal of Cancer Education. After the amount of work that has been put into this project by myself and everyone else who contributed, it is very rewarding to be able to see the final result published in such a prestigious journal. – Rachel McDonald

Rachel applied for the Research Assistant position at the RRRP and was lucky enough to land the job. She credits the mentorship of her supervisor and the support from radiation oncologists and senior students who work in the Rapid Response Radiotherapy Program (RRRP) for helping her develop the manuscript.

Rachel also gives credit to the services offered at the Tatham Centre and the Professional Development courses for much of her success.

Without the resources provided in the course and at the centre, I don't think my resume or interview skills would have been polished enough to ever get this job in the first place. Also, I have to thank the wonderful university librarians who came into my classes and were available at the library when I had questions on how to conduct research and obtain appropriate literature. A significant proportion of my time working on this project was obtaining other undergraduate co-op related literature and I would never have been able to do that without learning how to operate the search engines. – Rachel McDonald

Co-op students who work at Sunnybrook have the chance to conduct research and write manuscripts. A radiation oncologists from the RRRP initiated the project with another co-op student. Together, they prepared the protocol and got ethic approval. Rachel took over when she arrived and continued the project, completing data collection and analysis, and finally writing the manuscript.

It was a great project to be a part of. It truly helped me understand the benefits of co-op. It has also inspired some continuing research within the program. – Rachel McDonald

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