Co-op Student of the Week


Week of January 20, 2020

Student: Calvin Ip, Grade 11

Placement: Wood Canada Inc.

My Co-op placement is in a small IT department at Wood which is an engineering firm that specializes in renewable energy. My main tasks and responsibilities are building computers, which means to do a fresh install of a company imaged Windows 10 on a laptop or desktop computer and install the necessary updates and drivers. I have also been connecting monitors, network cables, phones, and computers at employee’s desks, whether it’s a new hire or not. Lastly, I do a lot of troubleshooting whenever there is a problem with a computer.

A key skill that I have enhanced thus far is problem solving. Being an IT person requires you to problem solve a lot as I am always dealing with problems such as troubleshooting or figuring out why something is not working.

Co-op has exposed me to hands on experience in a field that I plan to pursue in the future.

Previous Co-Op Students of the Week

Week of January 13, 2020

Student: Mitchell Weber, Grade 11

Placement: Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic

At Sheddon I have many different tasks and responsibilities. Many of these tasks involve helping the physiotherapists with recovery machines. An example of a machine is the ultrasound machine. Ultrasound therapy is the use of sound waves to treat medical problems, especially musculoskeletal problems like inflammation from injuries (ex. sprains, tendinitis, bursitis). Another machine is the IFC machine. The IFC, also known as Interferential Current Therapy, is a popular therapy option used by many clinics to relieve pain and speed up the healing process. The high frequency signals of an IFC penetrate through the skin into deeper muscle tissues.

The most important skills I have learned since working at my placement have been time management and problem solving. The clinic is always very busy, meaning I need to problem solve and use time management skills to make sure all the machines can get to each client. Most days it is stressful due to the fact that every physiotherapist has many clients to attend to within a set time frame. My time management skills have improved so that I am now able to assist the therapists and meet all of the client needs within this time frame.

This Co-op placement has given me great hands on experience with all aspects of physiotherapy. I have been able to ask an endless amount of questions about everything related to the job and workplace. It has helped me look into specific programs at different universities around Canada. Finally, this placement has helped me determine what the best route in life is for me whether it be in athletic therapy, physiotherapy, massage, or any of the other related fields I have been exposed to.

Week of December 23, 2019

Student: Nicole Edwards, Grade 11

Placement: Captain R. Wilson Public School

I work with the Special Education Resource Team at my placement. I assist students that need extra help with certain subjects, helping them to form proper sentences, and complete worksheets and projects that they are doing in classes. I also help with administrative tasks such as photocopying for the teachers' lessons. I tend to work with the same three students that are in different classes and grades giving me the opportunity to experience what it is like working with students in different classroom dynamics and grades. Once a week I help with grade eight health and so far we have drawn meals and food that belongs in different food groups. I also scribe for the students and I am going to be taught how teachers plan lessons so I can run a lesson for the students I work with.

The most important skill I have learned is how to help children in different ways based on how they learn. This skill is most important because it helps me find the best way to help students as all students learn differently and need things explained differently. I have also enhanced my collaboration and communication skills in working with both staff and the students. I need to ensure I communicate clearly with the students I work with and make sure they understand what is expected of them.

Co-op has helped me make a decision and plan for post-secondary because I have been able to experience what it is like working in a classroom. Taking Co-op has confirmed my decision to pursue teaching as a career as I have been having so much fun during my experience so far.

Week of December 16, 2019

Once again we have 2 Co op Students of the Week

Students: Keily Blum and Victoria Hillyer, Grade 11

Placement: Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital

Both Keily and Victoria were successful in securing a very competitive placement at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. While at the hospital, they complete rotations in various departments so they can explore different areas of interest.

Keily’s experience is outlined below:

I have my Co-op at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and I am loving my placement so far. I was so excited to be able to have the opportunity to gain a placement at the hospital. I have had rotations in Diagnostic Imaging (which includes X-Ray, Nuclear Medicine and MRI/CT), Cardiology and currently I am in in-patient Rehab. In X-Ray, I learned about how the positioning of the body part affects the areas that show up on an image and how the amount of radiation given depends on the size of the patient. In Nuclear Medicine, I learned about the half life of isotopes, how the isotopes circulate through the body and how they use pharmaceuticals to guide the isotope to the area of imaging. My main tasks in Cardiology were retrieving patients from the waiting room and getting them set up so the nurse can start an IV. Every morning I would do quality control on the glucometer which is the machine that checks your blood sugar levels and I set up syringes for Persantine stress tests. Persantine stress tests simulate your heart as if it was working harder. This test is done for people who cannot walk or have arthritis making it difficult to use a machine to get their heart rate up. In addition, I gather materials for IVs and prep IV lines by running saline through them to make sure there are no air pockets and they work properly. I make copies of medicine lists and gather paperwork for patients as well. One of my newer tasks is to help conduct stress tests. For this task I input patient information into the computer, listening to the patient’s blood pressure and record the patient's heart rate and blood pressure throughout the test. My main tasks in Rehab are to help set up the common/dining room for events that will be taking place. When I go to my placement in the morning I set up for currents events or breakfast club. The set up includes decorating the table, putting out cups and napkins for cookies and beverages and laying out mind games. For current events, I talk to the patients, read them the newspaper and help them complete mazes and word searches. Most of the patients I work with are cognitively impaired so completing the mind puzzles and getting them immersed in conversation helps them improve and gain back their cognitive/social skills. For breakfast club, I set up the table with plates and cutlery and help prepare the food. Another one of my tasks is to pay close attention to the patient’s diet. For example, a patient with dysphagia can only be on thicken drinks as they have difficulty swallowing and the thicken drinks help ease the food down the esophagus.

I have learned many different skills through my Co-op that can be transferred into my school life, work life and even in everyday scenarios. One of the most important skills that has carried with me is being able to work with others and communicate with co-workers and patients. In a hospital setting employees are very dependent on each other to help get things done. Working with others and communication are important skills to carry through life as there are many situations when they will come into play. I pick up on strategies that the nurses, technicians and doctors use with different individuals.

I am having a very hard time figuring out what to do in my future but my Co-op is helping me gain an understanding of what my future could hold. I know that I would like to go into the medical field but don’t know what exact sector I would like to explore. Through my Co-op I have been exposed to many different departments in the hospital, learning about what each job entails and gaining exposure to what the workplace is like. Having the ability to gain knowledge about all this information has helped me narrow down possibilities for my career choice.

Victoria’s experience is outlined below:

I’m absolutely loving my morning placement at OTMH! The different departments of the hospital I’ve experienced so far have been Patient Transport, Diagnostic Imaging and Cardiorespiratory Diagnostics. While I was in patient transport the main focus was on improving patient communication, safety and care in the new and quite possibly intimidating environment of a hospital. I also learned my way around the new hospital and got to see various parts of all the different departments that OTMH has to offer. In doing this, I was able to meet so many amazing people such as surgeons, physicians, nurses, volunteers and even other Co-op students like me!

During my rotation in Diagnostic Imaging, I had the opportunity to work with various technologists who taught me so much about CT scans, X-Rays, MRI’s and Nuclear Medicine. Through this I got to witness and analyze some of the many different diagnostic tests that are conducted at OTMH. Not only was learning in depth about the human body and systems so fascinating to me, but it was extremely interesting to be able to experience new discoveries everyday alongside the technologists and physicians. In Diagnostic Imaging we were constantly analyzing different illnesses in the body so it was really neat to be able to learn through firsthand experience as only a grade eleven student.

Now, I’m doing my rotation in Cardiorespiratory Diagnostics and it is so, so amazing! In this department, I’m shadowing one of the nurses and she has been so kind and has helped me grow my interest in healthcare even more. Every day I get to see IV lines put in, specialized drugs and treatments administered, Myocardial Perfusion Stress Tests and Echocardiograms as well as the occasional Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE test). I’m learning in depth about the heart, its effects and functionalities alongside Cardiologists, nurses and technologists.

Since I’m a Co-op student, I’m not able to provide any medical treatment for the patient, but I’m standing right there as it all happens! Additionally, the hospital staff have been so great about explaining, teaching and overall immersing me into the medical field. I’m having an amazing experience!

Now more than ever I can confirm how much healthcare is connected greatly to interpersonal skills and care. Every patient that I see has a different background, perspective and illness and it is so important to be understanding and compassionate towards everyone in order to provide the best treatment for them. Recovery and success is so greatly related to the patient’s outlook and the environment they are given to heal in. Having experienced this firsthand by being able to provide joy and help to so many people at such a difficult time has helped me grow my interpersonal skills and my admiration for others beyond words. Aside from growing my interpersonal skills, I’ve learned so much about identifying the origins of diseases in the human body. I know how certain common symptoms can point specifically to a malfunction in a certain system or organ. It's really interesting to see how all parts of the body are so interconnected.

My interest in healthcare has always been undeniable and I can only say how much more my interest has grown after being truly immersed into the medical field. Co-op has definitely helped me realize my future and all the learning possibilities I have. In the end, my Co-op placement at OTMH has been everything I wanted and more. I am beyond grateful for this experience!

Week of December 9, 2019

This week we have 2 Co-op Students of the Week!

Students: Sydney Milan and Yara El Oneis, Grade 11

Placement: Reflections Dental

Both Sydney and Yara are doing their placements at Reflections Dental, located on Old Bronte Road. They offer services in family, preventative, sedation, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry as well as orthodontics.

Sydney’s experience is detailed below:

During my morning placement, I've learned about plenty of things that go on in the running of a dental clinic. Maintaining everything on record for every patient is immensely important. One of my responsibilities is to scan in treatment plans, referral reports, and any important insurance documents. Insurance companies play an immense role in dental clinics since most patients use insurance to pay for their dental bills. Another one of my tasks is to call insurance companies like Sunlife and Manulife to get an up-to-date plan break down for a patient. Sometimes when the dental assistant or hygienist needs help, I'll run the lines in their operating room and apply the barriers to their appropriate spots.

Throughout my Co-op, I've learned many fantastic things that will aid my decision of becoming a dentist. One thing that is very important in dentistry is sterilization. The dentist takes sterilization very seriously, and you must be trained on how to properly use the machines in the sterile bank. Because I am professionally untrained on how to use the machine, I am allowed to observe the steps taken to properly sterilize the instruments that have just been used in a procedure. For example, cassettes are wrapped and run through the autoclave. When it comes to sterilization, I do get to help with putting on new barriers after some procedures. When observing procedures you discover many critical skills a dentist must follow but, sterilization is number one.

There is plenty that goes on behind the scenes that most patients don't get to see. Being able to participate in an incredible program like Co-op allows students to make decisions about what pathway they want to follow before the end of high school. Reflections Dental allows me to observe orthodontics procedures, cleaning, dental procedures, and help out at the front. This helps identify what it would be like to establish and operate a practice. Thanks to my terrific experience with Co-op, I want to pursue a career in dentistry!

Yara’s experience is detailed below:

My placement is in the afternoon and my roles and responsibilities are making sure that the patients are first priority. As a result, I ensure the patient lounge is always clean because it is the first impression that patients see when they first enter the office. I also restock/unbox hygiene supplies, observe different procedures, and print copies of patient information for new patients to fill in. When it is slower, I water the plants, sanitize the front desk, refill the coffee table, and inform the receptionist if our office is running out of anything that needs to be ordered.

One of the most important responsibilities that I consider is showing initiative to prove my purpose in the dental office. I have demonstrated my learning and collaboration skills through taking initiative and asking questions especially while observing procedures. In order to retain all of this important information until I have reached dental school, I make sure to write down notes on a journal with respect to dental instruments and re-watch the same procedures I observed during the day on YouTube. I have enhanced my problem solving skills through valuing my safety and that of others by knowing what to do, what to avoid, and double checking with my supervisor if I am unsure of anything.

The things I find very rewarding and gratifying is when the patient is on their way out, they thank me and give me some golden motivational advice regarding my career goal (dentistry) since dentistry is a long post-secondary pathway. In addition, when my supervisor gives me feedback, it is very important to me because it can help to identify what further steps I can take in order to make the most out of my Co-op experience.

Since I spend three hours a day, five times a week at Reflections Dental, the things I learn on a daily basis have definitely influenced and enhanced my strong long term aspiration of becoming a dentist.

Week of December 2, 2019

Anna Klygina, Grade 11

Placement: Wood Canada Limited

My Co-op is at Wood, which is an engineering firm that specializes in renewable energy. Since my first day, I have been reviewing and correcting revisions in Excel. I have also been allowed to plot wind turbines in AutoCAD. Recently, I have started working on an independent project of my own. I am currently designing a prosthetic leg as I am considering a career in Biomedical Engineering in the future. I have been going through the design process, consistently revising my drawings, and have even created a mock Bill of Materials.

The most important skills I have learned are Microsoft Excel and AutoCAD. When I first began attending my placement, I had limited experience with Excel and no experience with AutoCAD, however, through practice, my confidence in both have increased exponentially. I could apply in an engineering career in the future. I have also improved my communication and attention to detail. Both are essential for engineering since small errors can have enormous ramifications in cost, construction and safety, while communication allows those errors to be resolved.

My experiences in Co-op have been incredible so far, and have solidified my interest in going into the sciences. My Co-op has changed my perspective regarding post secondary, as my placement has employees from a variety of backgrounds. I have learned that there are many ways of getting to a dream career and that it is okay to not fully know my interests. I plan to keep this in mind for when I apply to university.

Week of November 24, 2019

Abhimanyu Jaglan, Grade 11

Placement: Promation

My placement is at Promation, an automation manufacturing and engineering company in Oakville that operates in three divisions: Nuclear, Automotive, and Industrial. My time there has been great, and I enjoy helping fellow co-workers out. I work with a lot with power tools and general engineering equipment. Some of my main tasks revolve around assembling fixtures, working on spreadsheets for materials, and organizing materials by their project number. I also help out with disassembling wooden cases and unused projects.

This opportunity has also been an amazing chance to gain some much needed experience. I have learned many skills which will help me further in my life. Some of the more hands on skills I have learned include, learning how to use a hand drill, a hand saw, a circular hand saw, a band saw, a sander, and becoming more adept at reading blueprints. My time at Promation has helped me become proficient in Excel, which is an important piece of any engineer’s life. I have also learned many important life skills, such as responsibility, as I have to be responsible to keep myself and others safe in my immediate area. I have gotten a lot more organized, as I have to organize many different materials and tools in a proficient manner. My time management ability has increased as well, as I have to wake up early at 6:40 - 7:00 am to be on time, and make sure to catch the bus on time when heading back to school.

My time at my Co-op has helped me get the experience I needed to reinvigorate my goals of becoming a mechanical engineer. This two credit course is also a component of Garth Webb’s Energy SHSM program which I am currently in and will help improve my resume for university and future jobs.

Week of November 18, 2019.

Zainab Siddiq, Grade 11

Placement: Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacy

At my Co-op placement my main tasks and responsibilities are putting away the order of medications everyday and knowing where all the drugs belong. Putting the order away means I have to know which products are generic, brand name, over the counter, injectables, topicals, etc. I also put ready to pick up prescriptions in the outbox and I check customers out when they are coming for their medication. This requires me to understand the computer system used by the pharmacist and the staff along with the Shoppers check out system. Another main responsibility I have is filling medications for customers. Filling requires that I know where everything is and knowing which products are brand name and generic by just looking at a label. It also requires me to know how to work the filling system on the Health Watch program used by the pharmaceutical staff.

The most important skill I have learned at my placement is attention to detail. In the pharmacy, it is very easy to miss something important. However, I have learned that it is necessary to take things slow and verify the work I have completed over and over again to ensure everything is done correctly. Another skill I have learned is staying calm under high pressure situations. Sometimes we have a rush of customers who need their medications right away and this evidently gets stressful for everyone working.

Co-op has guided me in a direction where choosing a future pathway is clearer. It has given me the opportunity to see how individuals in the medical field live their day to day lives and how different it is from a part-time job. I have learned that the job market is tough, however, working hard and setting goals you are motivated to accomplish is a vital part of your future. Co-op has helped me realize that I want a career in the medical field and pharmacy itself interests me very much. I went into the Co-op program unsure what I wanted to be when I grow up and which field of medicine I want to pursue. However, now it is more clear to me and the experience makes me even more excited about what the future holds. Speaking with my co-workers and asking them what programs and what schooling would be the best fit for me has also made my future pathway more clear. Not only has Co-op opened my eyes regarding the medical field opportunities but I have now learned that university is not the only option and that I could go to college and receive more hands on training, if that is something I am interested in. In Co-op we learn about different types of post secondary opportunities which makes me feel more open to do what I want in the future.

Week of November 11, 2019

Haris Aljic, Grade 11

Placement: Precision e-Business Group

My placement is at Precision e-Business Group, a software development company that offers transaction processing services for small and medium sized businesses. As I am learning how to develop/write software, my main tasks involve investigating different types of software the company uses and their usages across different applications/functions. When I’m not investigating software, I am writing my own. Currently, I am writing the code for a small Grocery List application, to get exposed to a programming language very different than anything I have ever seen before.

The most important skills I have learned have definitely been my efficiency, as well as my communication skills. I have grown to be more efficient in my work, and this is evident by the fact that I managed to reduce the file count of my application from six to one. Although this appears to be a very specific example of my efficiency, it is something I have learned, and can be applicable to many different organizational scenarios/purposes. Communication skills that I am continuing to work on are the real take away from my Co-op placement. Communication is key at the workplace so making sure you are networking, and getting messages conveyed in a proper manner is very important.

The main reason for taking the two-credit Co-op was to see if my current plan of taking Computer Science at the University of Toronto was something I wanted to follow through with. My time at my placement has only reinforced my initial plan, making my future pathway plan my goal for post-secondary.

Week of November 4, 2019

Student: Emilie Mendes, Grade 11

Placement: Lakeshore Road Animal Hospital

Throughout my time at Co-op, I have learnt far more than I would have ever imagined. During the first few weeks, I observed how to take blood from both a dog and a cat, how to insert an IV catheter, how to get rid of ear mites, how to take a dog's temperature, how to sedate an animal and finally, how to stain a slide to look under a microscope. I now have the opportunity to prepare and set up materials for bloodwork, IV, and intubation. I have been restraining animals when they are in for a procedure and managing inventory by putting away all orders and ensuring records are kept up to date. Lastly, I have had the opportunity to observe procedures and just recently I was able to observe my first surgery which was a feline spay. This was the best thing that has happened to me so far, because I got to stand in the surgical room with the vet and technician to see if being a vet would be something well-suited for me. I learnt how to prep both the surgical room and the patient for surgery which consists of multiple steps that are all equal in importance.

I have demonstrated collaboration skills through listening to the technician’s and vet’s instructions. I am never afraid to have a conversation with the vet or technicians to learn more about what treatment or procedure is going on, in order to find out the reasoning behind it and to learn more about what courses of action are taken for different injuries, infections etc. I have demonstrated problem solving skills through doing research, if I find myself in a situation where I am unsure of things.

One thing I find particularly satisfying or rewarding while working at my Co-op is seeing an animal recover after being very sick or injured. Knowing that I helped both the vet and technicians attain that positive outcome, makes me feel very fulfilled especially when the owners thank you afterward.

My Co-op has exposed me to many new learning opportunities which will help me when pursuing my career objective of becoming a veterinarian.

Week of October 27, 2019

Student: Chanel Blom, Grade 11

Placement: Wentworth Halton X-Ray and Ultrasound

My placement is at Wentworth Halton X-Ray and Ultrasound located in the Palermo Medical Centre on Old Bronte Road. My roles and responsibilities include helping at the front desk by confirming appointments and booking ultrasound appointments. I spend most of my time observing x-rays and ultrasounds. Working alongside the technicians has enabled me to ask questions and to learn more about the human anatomy. When the clinic is quiet I will help out with the laundry, usually drying and folding, and then putting it away.

Some of the key skills I have learned and/or enhanced thus far are my communication and collaboration skills. You are in direct contact with patients and need to ensure you communicate professionally and also make them feel at ease by engaging in small talk. This has helped make me a more confident person.

In Co-op, I get to work hands on in the field I am interested in. I am able to work with actual patients and get to see all the procedures conducted at the clinic. I am exposed to all the ups and downs in the field and I then get to decide if it is something I am actually interested in pursuing as a possible career.

Week of October 20, 2019

Student: Olivia Jones, Grade 11

Placement: Average Joe Sports Club

My placement is at Average Joe Sports Club, which organizes co-ed recreational sports leagues for the Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, and Hamilton areas. After the first month at my placement, I have completed and/or been involved in testing equipment so that it can be used again for future seasons, creating a spreadsheet of competitor prices and comparing them to Average Joe prices, and calling recreational centres to see if they had gym space available for booking. I was also tasked to call teams to inform them about an upcoming basketball/volleyball tournament and even signed a member up for the tournament.

The most important skill that I have learned so far is that when you make decisions you need to be flexible, because things can come up at any moment and change the original plan.

In general, I have learned that for a future pathway I want to make sure that the job I am doing will in some way help improve the client experience and contribute to the overall success of the company.