Congratulations On Your Acceptance To Science Co-Op!
Our SCCE Co-op staff are here to help. During your time as a co-op student, you are required to attend a number of orientation, training and development sessions. Information is sent directly to registered co-op students. All students need monitor their McMaster email account regularly, as well as join the McMaster Science Coop Facebook group (McMaster Science Co-op Students – Official) to connect with your peers and for program updates. All important forms, resources, and communications are available through Avenue. You will have access to the 3C00 Co-op Avenue course throughout the duration of your co-op program.
SCCE hosts a number of events only for co-op to give you the opportunity to network with others within our co-op community, or with alumni, employers and other stakeholders.
Registration for all events is on OSCARplus. A sampling of our events can be seen below:
- Gathering of the Minds: Our official kick-off evening for all new co-op students. A chance to mingle and speak to upper-year co-op students from your program and beyond.
- Work Term Presentations: Come listen to the 4th and 5th year work term presentations. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn what else is out there in the world of work.
- Co-op Cafe: A weekly chat with co-op students. A space to connect and meet your peers.
- Alumini Event: A networking event to introduce you to our Science Co-op Alumni. A great opportunity to learn about their experiences and career paths.
- National Co-op and Work-Integrated Learning Week: Coordinated by our National Co-op Accreditation Body, CEWIL, a series of events and social media campaign to celebrate co-op student and employer accomplishments, and foster awareness of co-op and work integrated learning.
Co-op Student of the Year Award
The Co-op Student of the Year Award recognizes outstanding students in the Science Co-operative Education program.
Our winners and nominees display exceptional job and academic achievements, and contribute in a meaningful way to cooperative education and extracurricular activities at McMaster and in the community. One Year 3, 4 and 5 winner is chosen each year, with the top scoring candidate being considered as McMaster’s nominee for the National CEWIL and Provincial EWO Co-op Student of the Year Awards. A call for nominations is sent in November each year to all employers.
Read about Rameen Jamil’s win here:
A leap of faith brought Rameen Jamil to the frontlines of COVID research and earned her provincial honours as Ontario’s top university co-op student.
A fourth-year Biochemistry student in McMaster Faculty of Science Rameen worked as a research assistant under the supervision of McMaster respiratory scientist and immunologist Dr. Manali Mukherjee, Ph.D.
Experiential and Work-Integrated Learning Ontario named Rameen Ontario’s 2021 University Co-op Student of the Year. Rameen also won a Co-op Student of the Year Award from McMaster Science Career & Cooperative Education.
From January to August 2021, Rameen worked in Dr. Mukherjee’s lab on two COVID related projects. Much of her work focused on collecting and processing more than 150 samples from approximately 50 intensive care unit patients on mechanical ventilation as part of a longitudinal, multiple-visit, single-centre observational study by McMaster and The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton.
“Rameen’s performance was outstanding,” says Dr. Mukherjee, an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Respirology. “She exceeded my expectations given she joined as a third-year undergraduate student with no prior experience. Rameen is not afraid of hard work and is an out-and-out team player. She has immensely impressed everyone in our research group with her detail-oriented keen approach towards research, communication and time management skills.”
In addition to her primary project, Rameen also worked on investigating autoimmune biomarkers in post-COVID patients. The data generated by Rameen was used in several research proposals, including one that secured $499,000 in funding from COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. While her co-op has ended, Rameen is staying in the lab to work on her undergraduate fourth-year thesis project under Dr. Mukherjee’s continued supervision. She will be presenting her thesis work at the prestigious American Thoracic Society Annual Congress meeting in San Francisco this May.
“Dr. Mukherjee took a chance and gave me an opportunity when I had zero experience and basically no lab skills,” says Rameen. “I barely knew how to pipette but she still gave me a shot and I will be forever grateful.”
Alice O’Carroll, Director of Career Development and Cooperative Education with McMaster SCCE calls Rameen a shining star and an inspiration to other students. “Rameen embodies all that is remarkable about McMaster Science students. We’re thrilled to see Rameen recognized as EWO Provincial Co-op Student of the Year. Her achievements demonstrate the fantastic contributions Science co-op students make to their employers and highlights the critical importance of co-op, experiential and work-integrated learning in integrating students with their future careers.”
Students in the Faculty of Science completed more than 400 paid co-op work terms with 158 employers in 2020-2021.
Student Advisory Committee
A chance to impact the direction and activities of your co-op program.
A chance to impact the direction and activities of your co-op program. Representatives from each program will provide feedback from their program and help provide insight into the co-op student experience.
Personalized Job Search
Personalized job searching is an important part of the co-op journey and teaches valuable skills that will enhance your future career development and employability. When searching for personalized jobs, remember all co-op positions must be a minimum of 420 hours of paid full-time work per four month term. All positions must first be approved by the SCCE. The Personalized Job Approval form can be found on Avenue to Learn.
Where To Look?
- Job Boards: Job boards such as Indeed, Monster and Eluta are great tools for finding posted opportunities. Only a small percentage of jobs are ever posted. So this should not be your only method of searching. Most tools allow you to filter your searches – look for “co-op”, “intern” or “student” positions, and/or limit to specific sectors. Remember to track all of the jobs you apply to this way.
- University Faculty Directories: If you are interested in a research opportunity, searching through a university’s faculty directory can help you find a researcher whose interests align with yours. From there you can contact them and see if they have funds and the space to hire you.
- Network: One of the most effective approaches (but the one least used by students) is taking advantage of your network. Letting family and friends know that you are a co-op student looking for an opportunity may lead to unexpected connections and recommendations. Attending events, such as company information sessions, professional association meetings, conferences etc., can expand your network and introduce you to a wider group of people in your field. LinkedIn is also a valuable networking tool that can help expand your connections. Taking advantage of organizations like Ten Thousand Coffees or the McMaster Alumni and Partners Advisor Network will connect you with experts in your area and allow you to gather information about various career paths and industries.
- McMaster Work Program: Every summer McMaster offers hundreds of full-time jobs to students who demonstrate financial need. All Work Program postings go live on MOSAIC in March. Check out the details on eligibility for the program.
- Studentships: A studentship typically involves summer work on a research project. There are many studentships available both here in Ontario and around the globe. Below is a sampling of relevant opportunities:
|Summer Research Student||Women’s College Hospital||Website Link|
|Charles Hollenberg Summer Studentship Program||Banting and Best Diabetes Centre||Website Link|
|Undergraduate Summer Research (Pharmacy)||University of Toronto||Website Link|
|SickKids Summer research Program (SSuRe)||The Hospital for Sick Children||Website Link|
|Summer URSA||McMaster University||Website Link|
|Ward Family Summer Student Research Program||Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital||Website Link|
|Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships||American Physiological Society||Website Link|
|Summer Student Program||Sandra Rotman Centre and Grand Challenges Canada||Website Link|
|Summer Undergraduate Research||University of Toronto||Website Link|
|Starbuck Clinical Genetics/Genomics Research Studentship Award||The Hospital for Sick Children||Website Link|
|RTC Summer Research for Undergraduates||Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute||Website Link|
|Summer Studentships||Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation||Website Link|
|Keenan Summer Research Program||Keenan Research Centre – St. Michael’s Hospital||Website Link|
|NSERC Experience Award||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada||Website Link|
|Undergraduate Student Research Awards||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada||Website Link|
|Hannah Studentship||Associate Medical Services||Website Link|
|Canadian Blood Services Summer Research Scholarship Program||Canadian Blood Services||Website Link|
|Undergraduate Student Program||Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics||Website Link|
|Summer Student Program (Medical Biophysics)||University of Toronto||Website Link|
Interested in venturing outside of Canada for your work term?
Benefits Of International Co-Op:
Experience A New Culture
While travel can provide you with a snapshot of a certain location, there is nothing like working and living in a place to fully immerse yourself in the local culture. Working abroad exposes you to new foods, customs, traditions, business practices and social norms. Our students often take the opportunity to travel to neighbouring areas, actively participate in local activities, make lasting friendships and grow their global network.
Hone Your Language Skills
Chances are if you’re planning on working abroad, one of the major draws may be the opportunity to interact in a foreign language. There is no better way to learn than to dive right in, and you will have a fantastic opportunity to learn or improve your written and verbal communication skills.
Being on your own in a foreign country can be nerve-wracking for some, while exhilarating for others. By embracing new challenges over the course of your experience, you will have the opportunity to further develop many important skills, including problem solving, independent thinking, research, communication and resiliency.
Graduate School Admissions
Like future employers, graduate school admission boards look very highly on abroad experiences. Students who work or study abroad display diversity and show that they aren’t afraid to seek out new challenges or put themselves in difficult situations.
Unique Life Experience
For many students, this may be the only chance to travel abroad, and live and work in a foreign country. Many nations are supportive of temporary student work experiences; full-time postgraduate positions may be much harder to secure. Students are encouraged to embrace this unique opportunity.
Eligibility For An International Co-Op
All work term positions must be preapproved through the Science Career & Cooperative Education office. Students must consult with the SCCE before accepting an offer and receive signed approval from the SCCE Manager or Co-op Advisor.
Visa Eligibility: Students must be able to secure a work visa in the country of employment.
Security: The country must not be on the “Avoid all travel” or “Avoid all non-essential travel” list issued by the Government of Canada
Securing An International Co-Op Work Term:
After you have met with a member of the SCCE team to discuss your international co-op plan, your job search will follow the same strategies and principles that you learned in SCIENCE 2C00 and 3C00.
Your primary strategy will be catered to your interests. Use your personal networks and apply to positions in the hidden job market and targeted web searches.
- For example, you can look into different university websites to obtain background and contact information for the research labs within the institution. EUROScholars is a good reference for 7 major universities.
- You can also connect with companies and organizations via LinkedIn, e-mail or company websites.
Websites And Organizations With An International Focus
- Each country you are interested in will have unique career websites and job boards. Check these regularly for updated postings. Examples Include:
- REED (United Kingdom)
- SEEK (Australia)
- EURES (Europe)
- Quite a few organizations help connect students to work opportunities abroad. Please note there may be an additional charge for their services, which is your responsibility to pay:
- International Science Scholarships:
- Each country you are interested in will have unique career websites and job boards. Check these regularly for updated postings. Examples Include:
OSCARplus Job Board
The OSCARplus Science Co-op and SSC’s main job board occasionally post positions outside of Canada, so keep an eye out for international opportunities. Your co-op coordinator can also connect with you when opportunities arise if they are aware of your interest in working abroad.
The Ambassador Program allows prospective students to get in touch with current co-op students. It is a great way to ask questions, learn about real experiences, and determine whether co-op is the right option for you! Be sure to check this page and follow the @mcmasterscce Instagram for details on upcoming events the ambassadors will be taking part in!
Information Box Group
Alicia Minden – Earth and Environmental Science Talk with Alicia
Hey everyone! I’m Alicia and I’m in my fourth year of the Earth and Environmental Science Co-op program here at McMaster University. For January 2022, I secured an eight-month co-op working with Vale, a mining company, in Sudbury Ontario. My main responsibilities included core logging, which is the process of analyzing rocks to help determine where and how to continue the expansion of the mines. This required working in an industrial setting so throughout the term I have done a lot of safety training, including how to properly operate smaller forklifts. I have also had a few opportunities to go down into various active mine sites. Over four thousand feet underground, I would either assist with geological work, or tour the drills and ore that was about to be extracted. I really liked the schedule I had with this position, which allowed me to go hiking and camping on my free time. If you have any questions or if you want any more information, feel free to reach out!!
Alicia Wong – Life Sciences Talk with Alicia
Hi everyone! My name is Alicia, a 5th-year Life Science co-op student. For my first co-op term in 2021, I worked at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) – a nuclear research facility as a Radiobiology Student specializing in cancer biology. I started working remotely writing a literature review and in the summer months, I relocated to work onsite in the lab assisting with cell and animal experiments. This year, 2022, I am working as a research assistant in the Protein Metabolism Research Lab with Dr. Stuart Phillips at McMaster. I had the opportunity to help run human clinical trials and continue to fine-tune my lab skills to understand human skeletal muscle metabolism. Some fun facts about myself ~ I enjoy playing tennis (although not the best), sailing, trying new recipes, and spending time with friends and family. If you have any questions about the co-op program or future career opportunities in Life Science, feel free to reach out to me.
Arianna Gokul – Molecular Biology & Genetics Talk with Arianna
Hi, I’m Arianna and I’m in my fourth year of the Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op Program! For both of my co-op terms, I have been working in The Wright Lab in the Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster. The main focus of our lab is antibiotic resistance, in which our research surrounds studying the molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and identifying new antibiotics and strategies to combat the problem of resistance. In this position, I’ve been able to learn and practice so many laboratory skills, such as molecular cloning, DNA and plasmid isolation, analyzing antibiotic activity, and so much more! Working in the lab has allowed me to meet so many great people that also have so much knowledge and experience to share. It is really great to be able to have this experience and to discover all the possibilities for my future career, which is why I would highly recommend this program, especially to those who are uncertain about what they want to do after graduation. Outside of Co-op, I am really interested in doing makeup, reading, cooking, playing video games and spending time with my friends and family. I would be happy to share my experiences with you all, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
Autumn Arnold– Biochemistry Talk with Autumn
Hi everyone! My name is Autumn Arnold and I am a fourth year co-op student in the Biochemistry program at McMaster. My first co-op placement was as a lab tech at a company called MG Chemicals in Burlington. There, I was fortunate enough to be actively involved in the quality control, research and development, and content creation departments. This gave me the opportunity to explore a variety of roles in my field of interest and find which kinds of tasks I enjoyed the most. Prior to joining the co-op program, I did not understand the value of gaining real working experience during school. However, I am now so appreciative of not only the transferable skills that I’ve developed, but the insight that I have gained about how I want to shape my final years at McMaster, and what I wish to pursue in the future. I became a co-op ambassador so that I could share these experiences with others and hopefully bring more awareness to the benefits of co-op, especially at a school where the co-op program is less prominent. In my free time, I enjoy playing piano and guitar and singing, bouldering, and cuddling with my cat. Please feel free to reach out to me, I am looking forward to connecting with you all this year!
Chloe Wu – Chemical Biology Talk with Chloe
Hello! My name is Chloe and I’m a Level V Chemical Biology Co-op student with a minor in Sustainability. I spent my first 8 month co-op term working under an industry/academia collaboration between Suncor Energy and the Hoare Lab here at McMaster’s Chemical Engineering department, formulating antibacterial coatings and doing some biological testing. For my final terms, I’m working at Apotex as a supply chain coordinator (lots of project management!). My interests mainly lie in the CPG industry and how sustainable change can be carried out to benefit not only our environment but society and economy. I’m super passionate about planning, personal development and experiential learning. Be curious, grasp every opportunity that comes your way and have a plan! I really struggled to narrow down my interests (still struggling), so I’m always open to sharing my experiences and answering questions. Don’t hesitate to reach out ?
Emily Stevens - Molecular Biology and Genetics Talk with Emily
Hi everyone! My name is Emily, I am in my fourth year at McMaster and am in the Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op program; working towards a minor in anthropology as well. I started out at McMaster in Life Sciences, specialized in Molecular Biology and Genetics in second year, and was accepted into the co-op program in my third year of study. For my first co-op term, I had the opportunity to move to Vancouver, BC to work at STEMCELL Technologies as an Organoid Research Co-op student. Working on the Kidney Team in the Research and Development department, I focused on culturing both 2D and 3D kidney organoids. I learned and improved on various laboratory protocols including aseptic technique, qPCR, immunocytochemistry, and functional testing. Working at the largest biotech company in Canada, I not only gained valuable lab experience, but furthermore gained confidence and expanded my professional network. I really enjoyed my first co-op term at STEMCELL, along with the opportunity to move out of province and discover a new city and lifestyle that Vancouver provided. Some of my interests outside of school include running, yoga, travelling, rock climbing and hiking. Please feel free to reach out as I would love to connect with you and share my experiences!
Emma Adamson-De Luca - Biology & Pharmacology Talk with Emma
Hi everyone! I’m Emma and I’m a fourth year student in the Biology & Pharmacology Co-op program. I am completing my first work term in research & development at a Femtech startup company. I have previously worked part-time tutoring and on research projects in the McMaster Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where I gained transferrable skills that translated to my co-op position. So far my co-op experience has been an incredible learning opportunity that has allowed me to explore my passion for women’s health and hone my research skills. This position has exposed me to the industry sector and I have come to appreciate how business and science can work synergistically to drive innovation! Outside of work you’ll find me reading, baking, and drinking enough coffee to rival Rory from Gilmore Girls. Studying in the BioPharm program has pushed me to grow academically and professionally; I’m always happy to chat about my co-op journey and experiences, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
Erin Szeto - Environmental Science Talk with Erin
Hi! My name is Erin, and I’m in my fourth year of the Environmental Science co-op program. I’m currently on my work term with Environment and Climate Change Canada under the climate research branch. This branch looks at methane emissions throughout the Greater Toronto Area, tests new technologies, and monitors stations which measure greenhouse gas concentrations across the country. I’m in charge of looking at data received through local experiments involving methane. I mainly work with Polyphemus which simulates atmospheric transport of methane and enables me to look at data more closely. Prior to the co-op program, I had no real experience in my field besides academia. So I’m very thankful to this program for allowing me to explore multiple work environments to see what I might like to pursue as a long term career. From this particular work term I’ve gained a lot of insight regarding my future career options, valuable skills and connections. Outside of science, some of my interests include online shopping, bubble tea, travel, and Netflix. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, including but not limited to, Environmental Science, the co-op program, and academia.
Hasan Khaleel- Chemistry Talk with Hasan
Hello! My name is Hasan and I am going into my fourth year of the Chemistry Co-op program. I spent my first work term at McMaster working in the Ayers Lab, where I helped develop a software package that uses computational chemistry and machine learning to explore chemical space and select diverse drug-like molecules. For my second work term I had the opportunity to work at Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, where I helped conduct studies on different pesticides and herbicides. I was responsible for carrying out the trails and collecting samples for testing to determine if the pesticides could be approved in Canada. A fun fact about me is that I know how drive a tractor because of my second Co-op! If you are interested in research or industry jobs don’t be afraid to reach out, I would love to answer any questions you might have.
Lauren McKay - Actuarial and Financial Mathematics Talk with Lauren
Hello! My name is Lauren McKay, I am in my fourth year of the Actuarial and Financial Math Co-op program. I completed my first co-op placement at Canada Life, working as an Actuarial Student for 8 months. I was on the Individual Customer Process Innovation & Regulatory Change Team which is a part of the Chief Actuary business unit. A majority of my work was focused around supporting the transition from IFRS4 to IFRS17. I gained a strong working knowledge of MS Access, Excel, GGY Axis and SQL. In my free time I enjoy working out, going for walks and spending time with friends and family! Please feel free to reach out with any questions, I look forward to chatting!
Jaimini Patel – Biology and Pharmacology Talk with Jaimini
Hi everyone! My name is Jaimini and I am a fifth year Biology and Pharmacology co-op student. The co-op program has been a really meaningful experience to me as it has given me a chance to explore a diverse range of careers in science. I encourage all students to be open to things outside of your comfort zone (whether it be projects, clubs, or even entire jobs) as you may stumble across something that interests you that you previously did not think of pursuing. My co-op experiences so far have been in the industry and government sector. As a science student, I expected my work to be very lab-based, but there was so much more to learn that I simply had not been exposed to in an academic setting. I loved learning more about these non-traditional aspects of science since these skills – which we are not necessarily exposed to in academia – are actually relevant to lots of science jobs! Outside of science, I enjoy journaling, going on nature walks, and reading!
Jasmine Silvera - Environmental Science Talk with Jasmine
Hey guys! My name is Jasmine and am a 5th year student in Environmental Science. Since early May, I have been completing my Co-op term with The Bay, working under the sustainability team! One of my favourite parts about being a student intern is that I am able to gain firsthand experience and insight regarding how large companies operate in terms of corporate sustainability. I am also able to contribute to the development of internal projects and innovations which direct the company onto a green path to help ensure a sustainable future. So far, my placement with The bay has been a great learning experience thanks to my supervisor and manager who have been extremely supportive along the way. In September I will be starting my Next placement with Environment and Climate Canada working as a Junior Nutrients Officer regulating the great lakes. I’m very excited for this placement as I will be working with the government in efforts to address water quality and pollution. In terms of my hobbies and interests, other than the environment, I also enjoy working out and have recently taking up powerlifting which is extremely fun and exhilarating! Can’t wait to meet you all!
Isabelle Sauvé - Actuarial and Financial Mathematics Talk with Isabelle
Hi everyone! My name is Isabelle and I am in my fourth year of the Actuarial and Financial Mathematics Co-op program and am pursuing a minor in economics. For my first co-op placement, I worked with The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) as an Actuarial Intern. In this role, my main project was to complete lapse and claims studies, and work alongside the analytics teams to solve various account issues. Through data obtained in these studies, we were able to compile the information to formulate Scotiabank’s yearly models. In this opportunity, I was able to see if I preferred to work in the insurance industry and the inner workings of a large scale bank. It exposed me to various sectors of the bank such as wealth management, personal banking, etc. and provided valuable employee insights on available career opportunities. The co-op program has allowed me to explore my interests during my degree and helped me narrow down what I would like to do post graduation. It has helped me hone soft and hard skills necessary in the workplace and exposure to networking which is a vital method of communication in this field. I hope through being an ambassador, I can provide helpful information on my experiences as a co-op student and aid prospective or current students on anything they may need. In my free time, I love to read, travel, watch movies, and participate on McMaster’s competitive dance team. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions and I look forward to connecting with you all!
Maryjo Antonio - Life Sciences Talk with Maryjo
Hello! My name is Maryjo Antonio. I am a fourth year Life Science Co-op Student. Throughout my first co-op work term, I worked at the Hamilton General Hospital as a research student. Our research team worked on clinical trials that focused on improving catheter-based treatments for cardiovascular diseases. Some of the main goals of our work group was to help patients understand the purpose and benefits of the research studies, to check on the wellbeing of the patients throughout the studies, and to collect data. I thoroughly enjoyed working in clinical research at the hospital as I gained many professional skills, patient experience, and knowledge of various health services in the field of interventional cardiology. Apart from my academic life, I enjoy going to the gym, reading, and spending time with my french bulldog, Kiro! If you have any questions about the co-op program, I would be more than happy to answer them anytime. ?
Michelle Barabasz- Mathematics and Statistics Talk with Michelle
Hi! My name is Michelle and I’m in my fifth year of the Mathematics and Statistics (Statistics Subplan) Co-op program. For my first two work terms, I worked for Peel Reginal Police as a Business Analyst. In this position, I worked with my team to create innovative dashboards and improve existing methods used for data collection. I got a lot of coding experience during this placement as well. I knew after this placement I wanted to try something different and so, for my third work term, I am currently working at Statistics Canada where I am working on the creation of a survey. A large part of my role is collaborating with others and taking initiative to meet timelines which are great skills to have for future employment. As the survey progresses within the next few months, my responsibilities will change to include testing and analyzing the results. Co-op is an amazing opportunity to learn skills that cannot be learned in a classroom, and I highly recommend it. Please reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat. I look forward to connecting with you all!
Nashita Ahmed - Sustainable Chemistry Talk with Nashita
Hi! My name is Nashita Ahmed and I am currently a fourth-year co-op student in Sustainable Chemistry. I had the opportunity to complete the first four months of my co-op term at Stantec where I collaborated with multidisciplinary engineers and consultants to attend project client meetings and apply chemistry, biology and environmental science concepts to support and identify the eligibility of R&D activities to maximize client’s benefaction from tax credits. I also independently prepared the Canada Revenue Agent’s official Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) claims and a summary of key technical information in accordance with SR&ED tax incentive program guidelines. My other co-op experience was this past summer at Zymewire where I utilized data aggregation software to retrieve pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry news content from several companies’ web sources and process it via machine learning systems to bring them into Zymewire to be made actionable for users. Through these experiences, I’ve met lots of people, developed new skills and gained more clarity in my interests which are biotechnology and environmental consulting. One tip I love to give students is to be open to learning and ask questions to help in their professional development. I’m always open to sharing my experiences and answering questions, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Natalie Yuen - Biochemistry Talk with Natalie
Hi everyone! My name is Natalie, and I am a fourth-year Biochemistry – Biomedical Research Specialization Co-op student! For my first co-op term, I worked as a Laboratory Assistant at the Human Immune Testing Suite, right here on campus in the McMaster Immunology Research Center. My main duties included processing clinical samples (i.e. isolating PBMCs), assisting senior technicians with their projects, helping with quality assurance tasks, and general lab maintenance. I love co-op because while you may face many challenges, the program is so rewarding in the end. Over the past year, I’ve learned so much about myself – my strengths, weaknesses, and what future careers I may be interested in. I’ve also gotten the chance to develop many skills which I hope to continue improving in upcoming job searches and work terms! In my free time, I enjoy drawing, painting, and spending time with my family and friends (and dog!). If you have any questions or just would like to talk, please feel free to reach out!
Rebecca Sun- Chemistry Talk with Rebecca
Hello, friends! My name is Rebecca Sun, and I am a level 4 chemistry co-op student. My previous co-op work placements took place at the McMaster Lab Stores located in the ABB building. The Lab Stores is the main supplier supported by the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology that provides common chemicals and lab consumables to the research scientists across campus as well as other McMaster-affiliated research centers. As an introvert with no prior customer service skills, it was beneficial to have my co-op placements at the Lab Stores. The most I improved in are communication and interpersonal skills. I am now able to pick up phone calls confidently and solve one’s concerns, whereas before I was always nervous about doing so. I was also able to meet and know many of the graduate students and professors whom I had seen before but never had a chance to interact with formally. (This is also how I secured a thesis position for next year even though the official deadline has already passed!) Outside of co-op, I love listening to K-pop music. (Especially BTS~) Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions for me!
Scott Holtshousen - Physics Talk with Scott
Hi everyone, my name is Scott. I am a fourth year Honours Physics student interested in studying theoretical and computational physics in graduate school. During my first co-op term I researched a solution for a problem in oral cancer surgery: the tumour depth problem. The question was, how can we produce a 3D model/rendering of an oral cancer tumour prior to surgically resecting it? My position involved extensive research into the physics of light transport, and how we can use the wave properties of light to collect 2D images at depths varying up to 5mm. I wrote and fine-tuned a deep learning algorithm which could be used, in conjunction with our 2D depth images and the optical properties (i.e., light transport properties) of the tissue, to learn the depth of oral cancer tumours prior to resection. I have had a fair degree of uncertainty about whether co-op was right for me (my field of interest really requires a masters or PhD: why delay my progress with something only partially related?), but I have persevered and am thankful for doing so: the experiences I have had, good and bad, have all helped me learn and figure out more about myself and my path forward.
Stefanie Markevich - Medical and Biological Physics Talk with Stefanie
Hi, I’m Stefanie! I am a 4th year Medical and Biological Physics co-op student. I just finished my first 8-month work term where I did research in downtown Toronto at the University Health Network. There, I focused on building a prototype fluorescence imaging system, as well as creating tumour models in the wet lab, also using artificial intelligence to accelerate how quickly we could get quantitative results with our imaging system. Although I may not know exactly what I want to do after graduating, I have a better idea of the things I do and don’t like. For example, I am really interested in scientific communication! I am extremely grateful for all the experience, connections, and memories I have made so far in this program. Outside of my studies and co-op, I enjoy mentoring younger students and helping guide them through their own journeys, in addition to activities like reading, discovering new music, dancing, working out and, perhaps most importantly, spending quality time with friends and family. Please feel free to reach out, I would love to help!