BA 2007: Major English Literature


“Grab as much experience as possible! Current co-op students are in a very advantageous position to gain firsthand knowledge of the different work industries available to them.”

For Christina Mate, her co-op experiences helped her realize her passion for technical writing. “I began to pursue job leads that would turn this interest into a skill,” says Mate.

Mate’s first co-op job with the Burn’s Bog Conservation Society, as a Desktop Publisher, gave her the opportunity to compose and design newsletters, submit press releases and PSAs to the local media, and design the Society’s annual report. “Working for Burns Bog was a memorable experience. A work term with a non-profit organization teaches you passion and resourcefulness,” says Mate. She continued to explore her career options in her next term with the Arts Academic Advising Services office as a Research Assistant. She gained transferable skills in coordinating and organizing large-scale events, such as Beyond Second Year. However, it wasn’t until her last co-op term that Mate realized her true passion for technical writing. As a Technical Writer for the Kodak Graphic Communications Canada Company, Mate wrote and edited sections of instructional documents, created a single-sourced project to streamline two online help systems, and maintained and updated Help web pages. This job gave her the key transferable skills she needed to find work after graduation.

Mate is currently working for SNC-Lavalin as a Proposal Writer. She takes part in, “developing proposals for multi-million dollar infrastructure and transportation projects in Canada and around the world.” Furthermore, she updates the company newsletter with ongoing projects and maintains the company database to ensure it is up-to-date and competitive.

“My co-op experience definitely played a huge part in my job search. It gave me the confidence to pursue a wide range of writing and editing jobs, and garnered interest from a number of high-profile companies,” says Mate. For Mate, the most exciting part of her current job is knowing that she has “had a hand in winning a major project for [her] company, and in turn, contributing to the improvement of transportation systems around the world.”

Mate hopes to continue to pursue her career in technical writing. She has even taken some editing courses through UBC’s Continuing Education department. “My BA gave me the necessary and basic writing skills that I could transfer to the workplace. My BA reminds me that I love to read and write. It reflects in my co-op terms and in my current career choice,” says Mate.

Mate’s co-op experience taught her what she “wanted out of a job and company.” She learned how to maintain positive working relationships and she continues to apply the same resume and cover letter writing and interviewing techniques the co-op program taught her. “They definitely pay off,” says Mate.

For current students Mate says, “Apply for different types of jobs, and talk to and learn from supervisors. The information taken from a work term makes a huge difference when applying for jobs after graduation.”

Mate leaves all students with this final piece of advice, “Apply to the program. There is nothing to lose and so much to gain.”