Traky Deng Recipient of Science Co-op Award 2019
The annual Co-op Student of the Year award recognizes three students who display exceptional job and academic achievements, and contribute in a meaningful way to cooperative education and extracurricular activities at McMaster and in the community. Traky was among the 383 students who were registered in co-op programs and completed 507 work terms with employers across North America in 2019.
Cooperative Education is an integrated approach to higher education that enables highly motivated students to alternate academic terms with paid, relevant work experience. Science co-op students complete a standard academic degree program, as well as 3 or 4 co-op work terms in jobs related to their studies.
Traky completed summer and fall co-op work terms with Toronto Dominion Bank as part of her Actuarial and Financial Mathematics program.
“In addition to Traky’s strong technical skills, one thing that impressed me was Traky’s business acumen,” wrote Michael Mcdermid with Corporate Actuarial Life & Health at Toronto Dominion Bank. “We rarely see students with either technical or business skills as strong as hers; to have both at that level is truly exceptional.”
AWARD-WINNING ADVICE FOR STUDENTS AND EMPLOYERS
What’s the most important lesson you learned through your co-op?
Find the right niche for your talent. Being the right person for a job matters more than being the most capable. Find your spot and be the authentic you.
What was the best part of your co-op?
There were ample opportunities given in and outside of my daily work responsibilities to tackle new challenges, meet new people, participate in corporate initiatives, and explore different career options within the organization.
What advice would you give to employers who are thinking of offering a co-op work term?
It is an efficient way to introduce your organization to a new generation of the workforce. Analogous to a language exchange, the co-op students will pick up the “language” (i.e. work style, core values) of your organization quickly and share their experiences with their peers. Additionally, your organization may benefit from the affiliation with the university and the co-op tax credit offered by the government.
What advice would you give to students who are thinking about doing a co-op?
If it fits into your academic planning, I would highly recommend doing a co-op. Everyone gains something different. You may or may not find your “true calling” through your co-op terms, but you will benefit from the professional network and all the “ah-ha” moments whether it is a new finding about yourself or about the profession.