Skip to the content of the web site.

Monday, May 30, 2011

  • Co-op story: student built skills in every job
  • Notes: a vision for Stratford, one for Grebel
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Co-op story: student built skills in every job

From Glasgow to downtown Toronto, from hectic start-up to structured company, from team of five to full-fledged organization, Jessica Konzelmann, a 4B Science and Business student, has seen just about everything co-operative education has to offer. Five work terms later, she’s ready to cross the threshold into alumni-dom and grab her degree.

Konzelmann has a full-time consulting job lined up at Deloitte. Through diligently participating in Waterloo’s graduating student employment process, she got herself the job by October of last year. She thanks co-op for this success — not only did her work terms allow her to build a unique and diverse skill set, but they also gave her the confidence to shine in her interviews. Konzelmann’s work terms typify the sort of eclectic education a student can gain through co-op, and she’s made sure to learn from each one of her experiences.

For Konzelmann, customer service at Petro Canada was an excellent first job. She experienced life at a large corporation and discovered ways to make the most of the opportunity. “It’s easy to just do what you have to do,” she says. “As a co-op student, it’s really important to communicate with your bosses and let them know what it is that you’d like to focus on. I think a lot of students don’t do that and they miss out on opportunities.” She knew her first work term was “a good place to build fundamental skills. With co-op, you can explore different fields and that allows you to make a better decision about what you want to do, full-time.”

She says her favourite work term, “in terms of sheer fun”, would have to be the one in Scotland. With Edge Consulting,  she and five other co-op students travelled to Glasgow. There, they were split into different teams, each composed of one Waterloo student and four others — “there were students from Poland, out west in Canada, the States, China.” Each team was tasked with consulting two clients.

Breaking the language barrier in Scotland

Konzelmann loved the experience, not only because she got to travel on weekends, but because she feels international work significantly strengthened her communication skills. “There definitely was a language barrier, which was in a way a good thing, because you learn to communicate differently. You don’t notice the cultural differences until you’re actually working with people from a different country, in their country. And in Scotland, it’s like night and day compared to North America. They’re so relaxed — to them Waterloo students had the reputation of being gung-ho about everything.”

If you’re a student and you’ve heard of CampusPerks you have  Konzelmann to thank. CampusPerks is a product of Redwood Strategic Inc., a start-up company founded by a former science and business student and brought to life by a dynamic team of co-ops, new grads, and young professionals. Konzelmann did her last two work terms with Redwood, helping translate CampusPerks from whimsical ideal into tangible reality. She fearlessly approached big-name companies — RIM, Tourism Australia, Loblaws — with a simple proposal: sign up with us and we’ll help you connect with students. With Konzelmann’s aid, CampusPerks hooked up with these companies and others, providing discounts and giveaways for students who sign up on their website.

Eight people, staff of Redwood StrategicRedwood Strategic (the same guys who brought you the FroshPerks lanyards) share a flat with two other quasi start-ups in Toronto. “You’d swing your chair around and some person was right behind you,” Konzelmann relates with a laugh. “You got to know the people you’re working with really well.” (Left, the Redwood team; Konzelmann is at far right, back row.)

With only five people in the company during her co-op term, it was what she called a “high stress” environment. “Clients would ask for something and want it back in 24 hours. If you’ve got five people asking for that it’s gets a little crazy.”

Five years later,  Konzelmann is mere months away from graduation and full-time employment. She’s found success and has a few tips to share with other students who hope to do the same:

  • Start early. Deloitte had an info session the first day of school. Do your research the term before and be ready to go in September.
  • Extracurriculars and volunteering help, especially when you’re after a full-time position. Employers are constantly looking for that well-rounded student. By the time you’re in fourth year, you should have a lot of leadership roles; you should be engaged in your community.
  • Maintain a reputable average. It’s always a good idea.
  • If you’re in first or second year, get involved right away. Start networking, go to conferences on campus, go to conferences at other schools.

[From a feature story in the winter 2011 issue of Inside sCoop e-newsletter for  Waterloo co-op students]

Back to top

Notes: a vision for Stratford, one for Grebel

On the evening of Wednesday, May 25, friends and partners of the University of Waterloo, Waterloo Stratford Campus, and the City of Stratford gathered in the Church Restaurant in Stratford to listen as Ken Coates, dean of arts, shared his vision for the future of both campus and city.

Attendees and speaker at Stratford May 25 eventAmong the many who came to listen and mingle were, top left, Gary Maavara, Corus Entertainment and Jerry Brown, PwC — that's Ken Coates at top right — and, front, from left: Ellen Réthoré, associate vice-president, Communications and Public Affairs, and Celese Fletcher, Fletcher Consultancy. (Photo courtesy of Natasha Jennings, Waterloo Stratford Campus.)

Coates spoke of the progress the City of Stratford has made in just five years — it’s been described as the ‘Stratford Movement’ — that earned it the title of one of the world’s Most Intelligent Communities. This dedication to becoming a major player in the field of digital media led to the birth of the Waterloo Stratford Campus. Coates identified the strong sense of place that characterizes the Stratford community and their desire to “make the future here and now" as one of the integral components of their success.

Grebel looks to the past, plans for the future

Planned Grebel buildingPlans for the new Library/Archive and academic facilities (left) at Conrad Grebel University College will be on display in Grebel's Great Hall, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

More than 70 years ago, historian Lewis J. Burkholder traveled the province to collect a “Mennonite box” of documents. His box, now the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, continues to expand, with over 780 linear metres of papers, photographs, audio and film recordings.

Laureen Harder-GissingGrebel's new “Mennonite box” will triple its capacity to store and preserve these records. Spaces will be created for displays and enabling technologies.  Students, historians, family researchers and artists will also have new space to open the archival boxes, and reveal what’s inside.

Archivist Laureen Harder-Gissing (right) from the Mennonite Archives of Ontario (and a Grebel grad, BA ’91) will speak at the event.

[From Conrad Grebel University College website. For details contact Fred W. Martin at 519-885-0220, ext. 24381. or ]

And finally....

nest with goose eggsAlong with all the fuzzy goslings enjoying the lush spring grass on campus with their protective adults (the original helicopter parents?) standing guard, there are always a few casualties. This abandoned nest, on a lower roof of Needles Hall, was photographed last week by philosophy professor Shannon Dea.

CPA staff

Back to top

Link of the day

Indianapolis 500

When and where

Co-op employer rankings (pharmacy students) for fall work term opened May 27, results May 31.

Co-op employer interviews for fall work term (main group) continue through June 16.

Start-Up Chile program presentation by Nicolas Shea, Gov't of Chile advisor. Monday, 9:30 a.m. - noon, Needles Hall room 1101. RSVP

Career workshop: “Interview Skills for Academic Positions” today, noon, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Final date for fee arrangements, spring term, Tuesday.

May Court Club of KW lunch & learn about volunteering. Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302. Details.

Career workshop: “The Power of LinkedIn” Tuesday, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

United Way of KW and Area annual general meeting and breakfast, June 1, 7:30 a.m, Forbes Family Hall, RIM Park, Waterloo. Details.

Library workshop: "Find Books and More" June 1, 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Career workshop: Business Etiquette and Professionalism, June 1, 10:30 a m – noon, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details

Library workshop: "Introduction to RefWorks” June 1 at 1:30 or June 2 at 3:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Faculty Teaching Philosophies” June 1, 2:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Perimeter Institute lecture: Freeman Dyson, Institute for Advanced Study, “Living Through Four Revolutions” June 1, 7:00, Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Details.

FedS free talk: "Introduction to Rails Development for Web Developers" hosted by FedS IT manager Eric Gerlach, June 1, 7-10 p.m., Student Life Centre room 2143. RSVP.

Country presentations: St. Maarten, June 2, noon, Needles Hall room 1116.

Career workshops June 2: Work Search Strategies, 2:30 - 4 p.m., Tatham Centre Room 1208; Exploring Your Personality Type, Part 2, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1112. Details

Optometry continuing education weekend June 3-5, 2011. Details.

Warrior hockey PA Day camp for students aged 7-12, Friday, June 3, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Columbia Icefield, information ext. 32635.

Child care festival organized by day care centres, guest performer Erick Traplin, Friday, June 3, 9:45 a.m., Village green.

Midnight Sun X solar car unveiling June 3, 11 a.m. (car unveiled at noon), Engineering 5 first floor (garages).

Spring Rainbow Social, a get-together for LGBTQQ faculty and staff and allies, Friday, June 3, 4:30-6 p.m., University Club Burgundy Room.

Bobier Lecture by Dr. Susan Barry, a.k.a. "Stereo Sue," Friday, June 3, 5 p.m., Optometry building room 1129. RSVP by June 2. Details

International Development student fundraiser: Roy Sesana, Botswana medicine man, speaks (with interpreter) on land claims issues in the Kalahari. June 3, 7 p.m., Davis Centre room 1350. Donation requested.

Niagara wine tour sponsored by staff association Saturday, June 4, tickets $75 (members), $85 (non-members).

Commuter Challenge June 5-11. Register here; questions to Mark Lisotto-Smith, ext. 38257.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses: continuing students, June 6-11; for first-time students, July 11-24; open class enrolment, July 25.

President’s Golf Tournament in support of Athletics Excellence and Awards Fund, Monday, June 6, Westmount Golf and Country Club. Details.

Matthews Golf Classic (21st annual), Monday, June 13, Grand Valley Golf Club. Details.

Friday's Daily Bulletin