Abby Kinnear handing out audience prize at Velocity Fund Finals Pitch Competition

An inside look at the Programs Assistant Co-op

The time to apply for co-op jobs is just around the corner, and at Velocity, we are excited to hire three new co-op students for the Winter 2017 term. The three positions available are Marketing and Communications Assistant, Programs Assistant, and Velocity Science Assistant. This blog post is one of three in a series where past co-op students reflect on their experiences working in this one-of-a-kind workplace.

Abby Kinnear, a Psychology student in her 3A term at the University of Waterloo spent her first co-op term as Programs Assistant this past spring. In her role, Abby helped the Programs team plan the logistics of events and Velocity Residence programming. There was never a dull moment, as Abby worked with the team to plan and support large on-campus events, like the Velocity Fund Finals pitch competition, and weekly startup workshops in Velocity Start.

We sat down with Abby to get her perspective on her 4-month work term.

What is one word you would use to describe your co-op experience?

AK: Enlightening. I always thought the startup world was really interesting, but never had that insider look. The way that the Velocity team works shows that you don’t have to be stuck in cubicles – work can and should be fun, and you should want to be there! The innovation, the freedom, and the cool stuff that happens there are what makes you want to stay and work hard.

What inspired you while working at Velocity, and why?

AK: I would say, Crista Renner, a Business Advisor at Velocity. I don’t know her educational background, but her role is to mentor social impact businesses. As someone in a Psychology program, she inspired me to know that someone with a more social background can thrive in the startup industry.

How do you think your experience compares to other co-ops you’ve had?

AK: This was my first work term, but compared to other jobs I’ve had outside of the university, this was the first one where I really felt like part of the team and not just someone who will only be there for four months. Once you’re there, you feel ‘in’. Everyone is really inviting. This was the first job where I felt like I wasn’t just helping someone else, I was contributing to the team. My manager Nur made it very known that she wanted to help me get to where I wanted to go.

Do you think you will pursue something in the startup world after your experience?

AK: I would really love to work for some kind of social impact startup – that’s the end goal. Doing something that’s innovative, and helping someone somewhere. Finding the big problem *laughs*.

Do you have a favourite memory of Velocity?

AK: One specific memory is when the Programs team did a retreat, and we talked about what could be revamped, what was good, and what could change. 

“That was the first time I realized ‘oh hey, my opinion really matters as a co-op student.'” – Abby Kinnear, Programs Assistant Co-op S17.

Do you have any advice for someone in this position?

AK: Always be willing to put yourself out there. Experiences are what you make of them. I tried my best to be really outgoing and introduce myself to people. One reason was for networking purposes, especially since I have future co-op terms. Another reason was to just enjoy my time there. It’s really nice to see familiar faces. Make sure you are making those connections.

If you are a current University of Waterloo student and are interested in a unique opportunity, consider applying to the Programs Assistant co-op posting through WaterlooWorks!