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Cassie Phaneuf (left) and Kristi Perrin (right)

Cassie Phaneuf and Kristi Perrin.

Asper co-op program makes students shine

November 6, 2019 — 

The Asper Co-op Program helps connect interested students with a job in a field they are studying. Co-op gives students hands-on experience, and the opportunity to make connections with potential future employers. Students from all faculties can learn more about co-op here.

Cassie Phaneuf and Kristi Perrin are Asper students, and participants in the Asper co-operative education program. Both Cassie and Kristi are members of the Indigenous Business Education Partners (IBEP) program.

We asked them some questions about their experiences in the co-op program. 

What impact has co-op had on your personal and professional development? 

Cassie Phaneuf (CP): Co-op taught me how to make my resumé stand out.  I gained the confidence to show my personality in an interview and most importantly, I gained professional work experience.  My work enhanced my knowledge, letting me connect the dots between academic theory and business issues. 

Kristi Perrin (KP): Co-op allowed me to “try on” different career paths and develop skills in a variety of disciplines. Recruitment gave me the confidence to get involved in other areas and programs. Interviews don’t scare me anymore!

How did co-op help you integrate more fully into the Asper community? 

CP: Co-op facilitated connections with students, faculty and people in the business community. The advisors helped me take a shot at my dream internship, reach out to a potential mentor, and set goals to achieve what I want.

KP: The co-op program made me a more confident leader. I learned to work effectively with people, to network and to market myself. Being a student leader was definitely not something I thought of when I first started university. Having someone see the potential in me gave me the confidence to take that leap. I took on roles with the Commerce Students’ Association, joined the Indigenous Business Education Partners (IBEP) and the University of Manitoba Indigenous Commerce Students (UMICS) group. I also completed an exchange in Croatia, which was the perfect opportunity to take the skills I learned through co-op and put them to use in a new environment.

What lead you to take on leadership roles and how has this involvement contributed to your growth and the Asper community? 

CP: What inspired me to become VP of UMICS was the sense of belonging I felt from IBEP when I arrived at Asper. The financial and educational support IBEP has given me, and the connections I’ve made through UMICS, its affiliated student group, made me feel at home.  I wanted to support other students to feel that same sense of belonging at Asper.

KP: IBEP and UMICS truly were home for me these past five years. From being a first-year Asper student, to now getting ready to graduate, this community has been there for me every step of the way. I watched strong Indigenous student leaders pour their talents into making UMICS the community it is. They worked to indigenize our campus and make inclusion accessible for everyone. I experienced the difference they made because I benefited from their efforts. I found my closest friends in UMICS. I knew that becoming president was something I wanted to do to give back to the community that made my Asper experience what it was.

What advice would you give new Asper students?

CP: Get involved! The experience you get from being on committees and leading teams is going to be equally as important to your career as the classes you take. Being involved will help you find connections between the classroom and your future career, which makes class way more interesting.

KP: Well, I remember the day I was sitting with my mom at a local restaurant talking about how excited I was to be starting at Asper. Someone at the next table overheard me and interjected to say if there was one thing I should do at Asper, it was to join the co-op program. I’d like to offer that same advice to any new students reading this.  As a student leader, I would encourage students not to wait to get involved. Don’t be afraid to try new things and find your place in the Asper community – it truly has space for everyone. Study hard but remember that you won’t regret making time for professional and social events. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and enjoy the ride!

Each year, 5 seats in the Asper Co-op Program will be allotted to the Canadian Indigenous Ancestry Category. This category is intended for all First Nations, Métis, and Inuit applicants who have attained a minimum DGPA of 2.75 and met all other requirements for application to the Asper Co-op Program.

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