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On the Job: Students share co-op work experiences at Engineering Co-op & Career Services eventSeptember 16, 2019

More than 400 students participated in the Engineering Co-Op Return to Campus event

Surveying the room crammed with about 400 eager students looking to find out what co-op can offer them, the Faculty of Engineering’s Dean Ishwar Puri summed it up in a few words: “The hashtag is #co-opisonfire”

Enthusiasm for the co-op experience can be seen in the numbers. More students are involved – up nearly 20 per cent last year – and more work terms are being completed – up over 30 per cent in the last two years.

The Co-op Return to Campus event held on September 11 offered students the chance to talk with and learn from experienced co-op students coming back from work experiences, including these four.


Sarah Rassenberg

Program: iBiomed & Chemical Engineering

Co-op placement Latulippe Group, McMaster

Role: Worked as a research assistant on a project related to testing the quality of wastewater

Best part of the job:  Feeling respected. “We had to say we were working with someone, not under someone. That really stood out to me. And I got to help out with the experiments and actually give my feedback at meetings.”

What’s next: “Environmental engineering, definitely. I was always interested in the environment but this really sparked the feeling that hey, I can actually change things.”


Ashkan Shafiee Haghshenas

Program: Master of Engineering Design

Co-op placement: Ya YA Foods, a beverage manufacturing and packaging company in Toronto

Role: As a Capital Engineer Coordinator, he helped design a new product line using auto-cad, then worked on the project development, including requesting quotations for parts and overseeing contractors.

Best part of the job: “It wasn’t only design work, because I’m not a person to stay just in front of the computer. It was also project based, so I got to go to the plant, follow the project and interact with different contractors.”

What’s next: “I’m still working there part-time, and I think after graduating in December I will work there in a permanent position.”


Carl Ellis

Program: Bachelor of Technology, Biotechnology

Co-op placement: Allarta Life Science, an early stage life sciences company based out of McMaster

Role: As a research lab technician, Ellis was involved in developing new test procedures and culturing cells for use in experiments, with the overall goal of producing innovative therapeutic products.

The perks of a small company: “I liked the opportunity in a small startup to fill various roles, not just one. You get to do a lot of different things, depending on the goal of the company at the time.”

Added bonus: Working in a startup gave him a new and inspiring perspective on the entrepreneurial spirit.


Nat Chin

Program: Computer Science

Co-op placement: 8 months with Stack, a Toronto fintech company

Role: Working as a blockchain developer on point-of-sale projects related to student credit and cryptocurrency.

What’s next: “I want to go back to blockchain full time and work on more technologies where blockchain can make a difference.”

Added bonus: The job led to an opportunity to teach part-time in the blockchain program at George Brown College – “an eye-opening experience to go from student to teacher.”