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Jenna Bullard

Co-op at Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee for 4-months

As an Innovative Packaging Development Intern, Jenna Bullard, a 3rd year Chemical Engineering and Society student, found herself in a co-op placement at Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee.

Jenna chose to pursue co-op to gain real world insights that she would not experience in the classroom. Through her co-op, she has been able to conceptualize theories and skills that she learned in labs and lectures and apply them in real-life situations. Co-op has given her opportunities to build on her transferable skills such as confidence in decision-making, leadership and communication skills, that are important in any working environment. Additionally, her work experience and her exposure to the food and packaging industry has opened her eyes to new career opportunities for chemical engineers and the emerging importance of sustainability in all areas of manufacturing and consumer goods.

Through this co-op experience, she learned a lot about how a business works. In the classroom, the focus is entirely on engineering concepts and applications in the workplace, but not about how the engineering department interacts with the other departments in the company. Through meetings and projects with other departments, clients and suppliers, co-op taught her to look at the bigger picture and consider other factors that go into a work project.

When asked how she was able to secure this position she said “I found my co-op position through networking. I used a lot of ECCS services to help with my resume and cover letter writing, as well as having mock interviews with one of my professors.” 

When asked what the most surprising/memorable thing she was asked in an interview was, she said, “’You have the job. When can you start?’ (That one was a real shocker!) Joking aside, the most surprising/memorable thing I was asked during my interview was ‘what project or task are you most proud of accomplishing to date?’”

Jenna’s advice to other co-op students: “Networking is important! Try to keep relationships with the people you meet at conferences, industry nights, and workplaces. Additionally, it is important to talk about your interests with your personal contacts, family and friends as they can be a valuable resource in industries you may not have considered applicable to your specific area of study. It never hurts to ask if someone knows of potential job opportunities.”

The most interesting thing about where she worked was that the whole street smells like coffee because of the company’s multiple coffee plants. Additionally, there was a lot of emphasis and efforts placed on a team building and communication which is so important in innovation.