Summer Co-op Experience Student Reflection: Brandon Tai 

BVG News, Home page, Upper School

During July 2023, a dozen Bayview Glen students participated in a co-op education experience, facilitated by BVG’s Student Services Department in collaboration with external organizations. 

Mount Sinai hospital in downtown Toronto served as the backdrop for one placement. A second unfolded at a research lab at the Toronto Zoo. A third experiential opportunity came courtesy of Qvella, an international clinical diagnostics company headquartered in Richmond Hill, Ontario.  

That’s where Grade 11 student Brandon Tai chose to spend a month, observing, listening and learning about the latest in microbiology technology, among other areas. 

Brandon shares highlights of his experience and its impact in his own words: 

What made you want to take the Cooperative Education course?  

Currently, in Grade 11, I am considering both the Computer Science and Business fields. By participating in this programme, I wanted to gain valuable experience from professionals. By working collaboratively with professionals, I was able to gain knowledge and skills that I could not learn in a classroom. For example, by working with professionals at Qvella, I was able to learn concepts and knowledge pertaining to supply chain management that are not taught in business/economics courses here at Bayview Glen. Furthermore, I wanted to join this course so I could gain an understanding of what the business field is like and determine whether or not this is a job I want to pursue in the future.   

What drew you to the specific industry in the placement you chose?  

Although supply chain management is predominantly business focused, I decided to choose this industry because I would be able to engage in Computer Science and Business, which are two of my passions. Moreover, I chose this industry because I would be able to gain brief insight into both fields. For example, I had the opportunity to take a look at the engineering drawings for each part of the Qvella FAST (Field Activate Sample Treatment) Machine, while also helping fill out NCR and PO Line reports.   

How would you describe the application preparation process, prior to your interview?  

The Cooperative Education course prepares you extremely well for the application process. Every Friday we had class, and the very first unit was on preparing for the application. We went through interview and resume tips as well as cover letters. This unit significantly helped me land my placement at Qvella.   

What has surprised you most about your placement?  

 What surprised me the most at my placement is the amount of parts that are used to create the system. On my first day walking into the warehouse, I was extremely surprised to see all the cables, nuts, bolts, and circuit boards that make up this one unit — especially after I was required to do an inventory count for every item in the warehouse, I was able to see the number of parts that Qvella stores in their warehouse!  

Could you provide some examples of things you have learned that have impacted you?  

I used Microsoft Excel for various aspects of supply chain management including creating BOMs. BOMs stands for bill of materials. It is a document which contains a comprehensive inventory of materials, assemblies as well as quantities required to create a specific part of the product. By creating BOMs I have been able to develop my Excel skills, which will allow me to use these skills in classes and in future jobs. I was also able to go into the cartridge assembly room and see how each cartridge is made.  

Additionally, I also had the opportunity to talk to other interns and learn about their university experience. For example, I got to talk to a Computer Science student at Waterloo and I was able to learn about the program itself and the overall culture at the university. This information will help me decide which university I will be attending in the fall of 2024.   

Has this experience influenced your outlook (career, future)? If so, in what ways?  

After this co-op experience, my goals have changed a little bit. Prior to this program, I intended to pursue a career in Computer Science/Engineering. However, after completing this programme I have realized that I should consider jobs that will allow me to combine my passions for all three subject areas (Computer Science, Engineering and Business).   

This story is part of a series on the Bayview Glen Summer Co-op Education experience 2023.  

Related links: 

A Summer to Remember: Co-op Experience Impacts