BA 2012: Double Major, English Literature & History

Where did Alice work?

Work Term 1 (4 months)
Program Assistant (Communications and Special Initiatives), Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives

Work Term 2-3 (8 months)
Junior Administrative Assistant, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)

Work Term 4 (4 months)
Research Assistant, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)

What did Alice accomplish?

Program Assistant for Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (formerly Volunteer Richmond Information Services)
Alice gained business writing and interpersonal skills through her position as a Program Assistant. She wrote, designed and produced communication and marketing materials including newsletters, advertisements, company forms and more to create awareness of Volunteer Richmond Information Services.  Furthermore, she administered volunteer programs and ensured their success by recruiting volunteers at community events, interviewing volunteer applicants, and organizing training materials.

Junior Administrative Assistant for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
After gaining experience and new skills working with a non-profit organization, Alice ventured into the public field as a Junior Administrative Assistant.  She utilized her critical thinking skills when conducting initial analyses of claims, creating case summaries and reviewing claim decisions. In this position, Alice assisted in the operations of the Independent Assessment Process, which compensates residential school survivors for incidents of abuse.

Research Assistant for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Alice utilized her knowledge of aboriginal affairs acquired from her previous co-op term as a Junior Administrative Assistant into her position as a Research Assistant. She assisted the case management teams by researching First Nations litigation claims involving the Government of Canada.  She performed case management duties such as reviewing court documents and editing briefing notes. Her hard work and research eventually channeled into a formal report for lawyers and case managers from Justice Canada and AANDC; this report will help inform these parties of key case issues.

What would Alice tell others about Arts Co-op?

Alice encourages students to apply for Arts Co-op as it provides “learning opportunities that you would never be able to find elsewhere” including “the opportunity to conduct legal and historical research for the federal government.”  Alice notes the importance to gain work experience before graduation: “By completing 12 or 16 months of work experience, you are already ahead of your peers in terms of career development, and you will have a much higher chance of finding a fulfilling and well-paying job after graduation”.

How did Arts Co-op benefit Alice?

Bridging the Gap between Academics and Work
Alice credits Arts Co-op for “the opportunity to see how Canadian history directly impacts government policy and legislation in the 21st century” and the value of studying History.  As part of her work as a Research Assistant with AANDC, she researched information on treaty issues.  Alice remarks that there is “nothing more exciting” than applying the research skills she gained in class.  Alice’s passion for history, her co-op experience working with AANDC and research skills eventually led her to be named as one of 24 Hours’ Top 24 Under 24 and also to be awarded the Best Student Essay in BC History designation by the British Columbia Historical Federation.

Building a Professional Network
Alice built her professional network through her co-op terms.  She met many different people in the organizations she worked in.  Alice expresses the importance of networking and reminds us that the “majority of job openings are not publically posted, but are filled internally or through networks and connections”.  Alice established a good network of contacts during her co-op terms, which will benefit her when she looks for employment after she graduates.

Where is Alice now?

Alice is currently pursuing her MA in History at Simon Fraser University, with a focus on Aboriginal history and health in Canada. Her co-op experience with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada provided her with the research skills and background knowledge of Aboriginal history, and acted as a compass for discovering her path in graduate studies.