CO-OP Student of the Month of September 2019
Faculty of Science - Biology
When I first applied to the CO-OP program, my only hope was that it would help me figure out what I wanted to do with my life after I graduated. I knew there was an opportunity for international mobility, but I never really thought I would take part in that aspect of the program.
I fully expected to spend the summer of my first placement at a desk, so one can imagine my surprise and excitement when I was selected to be a field assistant for Prof. Vincent Careau's white-footed mouse project at Queen's University Biological Station (QUBS). I learned so much about fieldwork and the reality of conducting a wildlife biology study, all while living with other people who were just as passionate about science as I am. It was an invaluable experience and one that I will forever be grateful for. I spent my second work placement as a Species at Risk Recovery (SAR) Technician at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). I was thrown head-first into our federal government's wildlife conservation processes and emerged with new insight into these important procedures that I can use in future research or career decisions.
For my most recent placement, I was fortunate enough to be awarded an internship by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) Germany program. I worked for the University of Göttingen on a study investigating the effects of forest management and tree diversity on small mammal communities in northern Germany. I spent most of the summer doing fieldwork and traveling, and it was one of the wildest experiences of my life.
I learned the DAAD RISE Germany program existed at one of the introductory CO-OP workshops and got a lot of help from the CO-OP office to build my application. My fieldwork and small mammal handling experience which I also owe to the CO-OP program played a large role in me being selected for that internship position. The CO-OP program has both presented me with opportunities and helped me gain the experience and knowledge required to be able to achieve them and for that, I am very grateful.
Regarding the future: I'm not sure what I'd like to do for my last work placement, but I am contemplating all the possibilities and know that many of them are achievable, thanks to the experiences I've gained so far. I've decided to complete a Master’s degree after I graduate and after that? I still don't know, but now I can see a lot of the choices available to me.