Sabrina Ibrahimi

Under the microscope: Velocity Science co-op

Each term, Velocity rounds out its team with three co-op students who play an important role in supporting science, marketing, and events functions. This blog post is part one in a series where past co-op students share their experiences working at Velocity and what they learned.

Sabrina Ibrahimi was Velocity’s first ever Science Assistant in Fall 2016, and used to think that entrepreneurship was dominated by engineers, but was surprised to see that startups are interdisciplinary, and include many different perspectives within a team. Sabrina heard about Velocity when she kept seeing laptop stickers and blue hoodies on campus, and decided to get involved.

Sabrina found her role matched well with her Biology studies background at the University of Waterloo. During her work term, she split her time between two programs, Velocity Science on campus, and the science lab at the Velocity Garage in downtown Kitchener. Both programs provide workspace, resources, and mentorship to science startups. Velocity Science, located in the Earth Sciences and Chemistry building (ESC 319) is a partnership with the Faculty of Science, and provides students interested in building a science startup with the lab access, mentorship, high-tech equipment, and basic consumables to safely run experiments and commercialize science research. At Velocity Science, Sabrina gained knowledge of science equipment, received hands-on experience working in a lab, and through the seminars hosted by Velocity Science, was even able to teach others within the lab about proper use of equipment and safety.

The creation of a brand new 2,500 square foot wet lab in the Velocity Garage created a unique opportunity for Sabrina to help implement and develop lab processes. She was also able to work on her public speaking skills by giving tours to student groups and the community throughout her work term, and at the official Velocity Garage grand opening this past October. She also attended many science themed events on campus, often sharing Velocity, and company news with fellow students.

In talking with Sabrina, one of the things that stood out was the opportunity to learn more about new companies and technologies, as well as the people and science behind them. But it’s important to have fun at work too, and on their last day of work, all three co-ops made sure to use all of the Tannery spaces they had access to for the final time, including the basketball court, gym, ping pong table, and slide.

In parting, Sabrina offered a few words of advice for future co-op students in any job:

“Approach everything with an open mind, and be flexible. If you do, it can be a thrilling experience!”

If you are a current University of Waterloo student, and are interested in the Science Assistant position, you can apply through Waterloo Works for the upcoming Spring 2017 term.