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Celebrating student experiences in co-op and career programs

By Geoff Ash

Memorial University brought together students and community partners this past December to thank them for their contributions and dedication to student career and co-operative education programs, including more than $12 million in provincial government funding over the past 10 years.

Students shared their own personal experiences with career and co-op programs at Memorial, and Joyce Mullins, soon to be a social work graduate, brought many in the audience to tears recalling her challenges as a single mother balancing school and work.

"Having the chance to work around my class schedule here on campus has made it possible to gain experience while also not having to take away that extra precious time with my little girl," she said.

Engineering student Matthew Dinn shared his own experience with co-op placements at local Newfoundland companies. Thanks to these opportunities, Mr. Dinn now has a job waiting for him upon graduation. During his remarks, Mr. Dinn summarized the entire purpose of the event, and the significance of co-operative education and career programs in post-secondary education, by stating that the most important impact the university has on community is "to supply graduates with work in all aspects of our economy."

Joan Burke, minister of Advanced Education and Skills, brought greetings on behalf of the provincial government. Minister Burke spoke of the importance of the provincial government working with community partners, and emphasized the importance of the students in the continuum of career and co-op programs.

"Through the determination of the students here, their talents and their creativity, the students are contributing to the province and they are an important part of our current and future success," she said.

Minister Burke also congratulated Memorial on "continuing to provide tremendous learning opportunities for people and for using innovative approaches to help students become top performers in the workplace."

Posters of Memorial's co-op and career program participants lined the walls, putting faces and stories behind the funding, partnerships, and the day-to-day work involved in making sure the programs remain successful, as well as serving as reminders of the purpose of these and other student-centered programs at Memorial.