The team, who've each completed one or more co-ops, are also available for class visits to talk about their experiences with employers.
The 13 student ambassadors represent Life Sciences, Molecular Biology & Genetics, Biology & Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Chemical Biology and Earth & Environmental Sciences. Ambassadors have worked with a wide range of employers, including Shoppers Drug Mart, the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto, MEDUCOM Health, the SickKids Research Institute, the Region of Peel, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Avelia Injury and Pain Management, Trillium Health Partners, AlayaCare, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, McMaster Children's Hospital and several labs at McMaster.
Imtiaz helped Samantha Couch, Cooperative Education Program Manager, launch the ambassador program.
"I've loved the opportunity to connect with younger science students at McMaster," says Imtiaz about serving as an ambassador. "I've been a Co-op Mentor for two years now and it's been very rewarding to help third-year co-op students through their first application cycle and share what I've learned. I'm glad that as an Ambassador I can offer this help to students earlier on in their journeys."
Like Imtiaz, Richa has taken part in co-op information sessions. "it's been a rewarding experience because I gotten to speak with first and second-year students and answer any questions they may have about co-op, from a student perspective and help ease their concerns."
So what does Richa, who was named one of the Faculty of Science's Co-op Students of the Year back in April, tell students? "Being a co-op student allows you to apply what you’ve learned at school in the workplace. On top of that, I’ve learned tons of new skills on the job and also gained a good understanding of what areas of work interest me. As a student in the workplace, you are exposed to new projects and ideas, with increased responsibility but also have the room to make mistakes which is incredibly helpful, early on in your professional development journey. Work experience also enhances your learning when you come back to McMaster after a work term."
Imtiaz agrees on the benefits of co-op. "I think co-op is a great way for students to test out potential careers and more accurately determine whether it is the right path for them before they have already graduated. It can also introduce them to careers that they might not have even considered before, like how I discovered career services, which can be helpful for students who are unsure of what they want to do with their degree."
Richa and Imtiaz are completing their final co-op working with Career Development and Cooperative Education and have impressed Director Alice O'Carroll. " Richa and Imtiaz have been instrumental in developing many wonderful initiatives in our office, from the Co-op Café and our Co-op Advisory Group to our Co-op Alumni Event, and the Ambassador Program."