Velocity Garage lab space

An inside look at the Velocity Science 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.

Carlie Kong, a 4A Biochemistry student at the University of Waterloo spent her co-op term as the Velocity Science Assistant this past spring. In her role, Carlie split her time between two science labs, one on campus at Velocity Science, and one in downtown Kitchener at the Velocity Garage. Her responsibilities included making sure both labs were well stocked, organized, and running smoothly. She also responded to general inquiries, gave tours to community members, and attended events on behalf of Velocity Science, meaning no two days were ever the same. As the newest Velocity co-op position, the role has continually evolved since its inception, with students piloting new ideas and responsibilities often.

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

What is one word you would use to describe your experience at Velocity?

CK: Interactive. I got a lot of opportunities to interact with people I never thought I would, especially on the business side of things.

“I also got the opportunity to work in the lab, and work on different projects than previous co-ops in my role. For example, I did a study on what words science-based startups use in their pitches to engage people’s attention most – which was really cool.” – Carlie Kong, Velocity Science Assistant S17

Who or what was one thing you found particularly inspiring at Velocity? Why?

CK: I thought that the environment and community at Velocity were very inspiring. I had never worked for a startup incubator or anything similar before, and I thought that their way of doing things was very different from how ‘traditional’ companies operate. Everyone was very outgoing and nice, so if I had questions I found a lot of help from others, even if they weren’t in my department.

How do you think your Velocity experience compares to other co-ops you have had?

CK: Everyone is more relaxed. Everyone is still trying to learn more, and trying to grow their business, and it is the kind of environment where everyone puts everything on the table to talk it out. You get to learn so much, so I did a lot of things that I never thought I could do. Like I set up some sensors – I had never seen them before – but I had time to problem solve, and it really helped develop some valuable skills. Part of the beauty of the role was doing different things every day.

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

CK: Yes! Because I worked at Velocity, I now know there are so many resources available for students like me. And the available resources are free! So why not take advantage of it? If I do ever have my own idea in the future, I would definitely consider applying to Velocity and working on a startup there.

Do you have any advice for someone applying for this position?

CK: I would tell them to have an open mind and approach this role with a mindset willing to learn new things. Every day is going to different, so be willing to problem solve and work your way through it.

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