Meet Katherine Idzik:
Katherine Idzik is a University of Guelph student in her third year, studying Mechanical Engineering. She is a current co-op student, having completed her first work term in the Summer of 2020, in which she was able to work in-person for a couple of months for Viking-Cives Ltd. and transitioned to working from home for the last half of her work term. While in this work term, she not only learned technical skills in engineering, but she also grew her initiative and professional skills while adjusting to the new work-from-home life. Katherine discusses her co-op role, what the transition to working from home was like for her, and some memorable moments from her time in the co-op work term. She also talks about the impact co-op and the Experiential Learning Hub have had on her academic and professional life, sharing that she “used the Experiential Learning Hub’s resume reviews and mock interview help as well as the help of co-op coordinators to lead to multiple successful applications and interviews.”
Where was your most recent co-op work term and what was your role?
“Last summer, during my first co-op work term, I worked at a snowplow manufacturer, Viking-Cives Ltd., in Mount Forest, Ontario. I aided their design team with their 3D modeling of custom orders, as well as managed the ERP system. My focus was specifically in the snowplow body team, but I reported to many different coworkers so I worked with many aspects of the snowplow. I worked from home for two months and worked in the office for two months.”
What was it like transitioning from working in-person to working from home?
“Transitioning to working from home was an amazing adjustment as it gave more opportunity to work independently while also developing more initiative to seek help when it was necessary. When you have to send an email to a co-worker to ask for help, you really need to step out of your comfort zone more than when their desk is next to yours.”
What did you learn throughout your work term?
“Throughout my work term, I learned not only about mechanical engineering, but manufacturing and business as a whole including the process from raw materials to finished products. Viking-Cives helped me learn more about my place within manufacturing and where I should gear my future co-op opportunities towards.”
“That work term allowed me to not only develop technical mechanical engineering skills, but also independence within the workplace, which has allowed me to learn more effectively in my online studies.”
What was your most memorable experience?
“My most memorable experience was bonding with my co-workers who had graduated from mechanical engineering at U of G. It was amazing to talk to them about what electives they thought were useful as well as what co-ops they completed before joining Viking-Cives.”
What has the impact of co-op been on your academic, professional, and/or personal life so far?
“Co-op allowed me to understand the difference between classes and real-life experiences. On the job calculations were always roughly created and instead tested for real life practically. I realized that you are able to choose whether you want to work in the theoretical work, similar to midterms and exams or practical work similar to labs, based off of what jobs you decide are for you.”
“I believe that working co-op work terms in engineering allows you to really see other values of your degree, for example, management, finance or many other jobs you would have never considered.”