During the first semester of the 2018/2019 school year, the science co-op course took place at Riverside for yet another year. 26 grade 11 students were led by Mrs. Debra Mackenzie-Pearce and Ms. Heidy Tilsner through a whirlwind of science material. The entirety of Chemistry 11, Pre-calculus 11 and Physics 11 were taught for the first four months of the semester and the rest of the co-op course will be spent in a work placement the students chose individually based on their interests and future career paths. The students must complete 90 hours shadowing a professional and learning about their everyday roles and THE responsibilities of their job.

Zayd Abbas is doing his work experience at a company called General Fusion. The goal of this industrial research organization is to build the first fusion reactor using clean nuclear power. “I chose this place because I myself am interested in electronics and would like to see what an actual research environment looks like,” said Abbas, “So far, I have gained many skills (using machinery such as oscilloscopes, and learning proper safety protocols), and I think this info is very useful, and applicable to almost all situations.”

Maya Patel is completing her required hours at Eagle Ridge Hospital shadowing a nurse who works primarily in the ER department but also deals with administrative work. “I basically just get to observe while we are on the floor in the ER. I also get to attend some administrative meetings with her, and she has given me a couple of small assignments to complete in our spare time,” said Patel. Patel chose this placement because she is interested in medicine and nursing and wants to know more about it as a possible career choice for her.

Shannon Bowden is at the Douglas college Coquitlam campus in the combined sciences program. She chose this program so that she could experience a variety of different sciences with different professors instead of just one. “Each science subject is with a different teacher, so I do different kinds of tasks concerning that specific area but I’m mostly helping the professors out with things they need done. For example, once I was helping an ecology professor and for the whole day we were working in the garden,” said Bowden. Bowden will be participating in shadowing professors who study the subject’s Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry and Veterinary Technology.

“This opportunity is really beneficial for my students as it gives them a very good idea of what they like and what they don’t like. Sometimes, they have an idealized idea of what a certain job is, and then when they really do it, they find out that it’s nothing like they thought it would be. Other times, this experience can really ignite a passion within them and inspire them to continue on with a certain career choice.” said Mackenzie-Pearce.

Some other examples of work placements include the Vancouver aquarium, local animal clinics, elementary schools (shadowing a speech pathologist) and hospitals.

Photo courtesy of General Fusions