Thompson Rivers University

How a co-op student nailed a full-time contract

April 12, 2021

Lorelei Guidos, 2020 Co-op Student of Year, shares insights from four consecutive work terms.

As a fourth-year Bachelor of Engineering student currently on her fourth co-op work term at Raptor Integration, a company that specializes in sawmill automation and optimization, Lorelei Guidos’ favourite part of the experience is seeing how her “programs and designs influence the physical world in a tangible way.”

Even though she has yet to complete her final year of university, Guidos recently signed a contract to return to Raptor as a full-fledged employee. “I love the company and thoroughly enjoy the work, so much in fact that I’ve already signed a full-time contract to work with them after graduation.”

Raptor Integration is so committed to fostering professional growth that her employer has collaborated with Guidos on her capstone project as part of her final year of study.

Being an enthusiastic ambassador for TRU comes easily to Guidos, who says, “The engineering program and university are two things I really believe in. I’m very excited to watch and help them grow.”

Throughout her degree, Guidos often volunteered with the engineering program countless times for open houses, technology fairs, future student recruitment, and promotional material. She was the TRUSU Engineering Club co-founder and was the vice-president before she started her first co-op term.

“Lorelei is a phenomenal student,” says Engineering Advisor and Accreditation Co-ordinator Kammi Madsen. “She’s always so willing to help us promote the program. There’s no hesitation; even though she’s busy, she makes it work in her schedule.”

Those who worked closely with Guidos celebrate her tenacity, initiative and drive.  Tara Bond, engineering and architectural engineering and technology co-operative education co-ordinator, says, “Lorelei uses her networking strategies effectively — she created her own co-op opportunity through networking with one of Raptor’s partners at a tech event. She says yes to every opportunity thrown her way!”

Madsen continues, “Lorelei has really got her act together; she’s very organized and upbeat. I can’t wait to see what she does next.”

As the 2020 Co-op Student of the Year winner, Guidos wants to share the wisdom she’s cultivated from experience and mentorship to bolster others as they carve out their professional pathway.

Networking is key

“Put yourself out there. Be present and be conscious of you are interacting with to make an impression.”

Keep your profile up to date

“If you’re actively networking, make sure your LinkedIn profile is ready for review.”

Veer off course (but take the lessons with you)

Guidos spent her first year of post-secondary education as a business major before moving to engineering. “I appreciated business, but wanted to do something more technical, but I learned a lot about communications that was helpful in the transition.”

Be curious

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. “It shows that you’re actively listening, reflecting on your performance and thinking about the work.”

Own your professional development

“You can’t wait for opportunities to be hand delivered. It’s essential to take the lead in your own life.”

Defend your work, but don’t be defensive

“Be confident with what you’ve done, explain your process, but understand that conditions change and impact the results, and you can’t take that personally.”

Make a move (and grab a cup of tea while you’re at it)

Movement is a means to shake up a tired brain. “You don’t have to go for a run; just get out of your seat,” Guidos says. “If I ever feel stuck, I’ll step away from my desk, fix a cup of tea, take a quick walk and connect with another colleague, and then get back to work.”

Prepare to succeed

To manage her tasks and organize time, Guidos uses a prioritization matrix to gauge projects’ importance and urgency.

Be open to feedback

“Don’t take critiques too emotionally — it’s not an attack on your character; it’s an opportunity to grow. It’s called constructive criticism for a reason.”

Catch her Instagram Live interview on TRU Student Life to learn more.

Check out the website to learn more about Co-op programming and Co-operative education.

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