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July 2016

The Destination Project; Building careers from cooperative education placements

By | Community | No Comments

Building the cutting-edge home for future generations of scientists isn’t the only thing the Destination Project is helping to develop. Nicole Meurs (BMgt ’16) and student Nick Gabbin are two budding project managers who say their cooperative education placement with the Destination Project has helped build confidence and given them a glimpse into their future career paths with real-world experience.

Destination Project Program Director Brian Sullivan overlooks plans with Project Coordinator Nicole Meurs and cooperative education placement student, Nick Gabbin.

 

“Getting to see how your skills from the classroom transition into the workplace is something I am so thankful I had the opportunity to experience. My placement allowed me to take on real responsibilities for the project, but I also felt supported by the entire project team because I was working and learning in a teaching environment too,” says Meurs.

When Meurs’ cooperative education placement came to an end in December, Destination Program Manager, Brian Sullivan hired her as a full-time project coordinator for the term of the build, something Sullivan says was a great thrill for him and the rest of the project team.

“When you see students grow and develop their skills throughout their placement, it brings a real sense of pride and joy because you’ve helped them along on their career path and it’s always nice when you can offer them their first job too,” smiles Sullivan.

For Gabbin, his placement will finish up in December and he is hopeful to also earn a spot on the Destination Project team. Gabbin says the experience he’s gained working in a cooperative education placement is invaluable and something he’d never expected to get as a 23-year-old student.

“Being able to experience responsibility on a job as big as this is just incredible and not just in terms of the work. Learning how to manage relationships and communicate with a team under the leadership of folks like Brian who have been at this for years is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Gabbin.

Sullivan believes the students he’s hired over his 30 years at the U of L have all showed a dedication to their placement positions and attributes their success to how their ability to think independently and have the responsibility to get the job done.

“A co-op placement teaches you how to be part of a team and how to transition from student to worker. It’s a unique opportunity that we’re able to offer and for those that get to work on this job in particular, it’s especially unique,” says Sullivan.

With construction ramping up as the Fall semester approaches, both Meurs and Gabbin are excited to see how their peers will engage with the rapidly changing landscape on campus and the possibilities it will allow for future co-op students.

“Markin Hall was my home while I was a management student and I can’t imagine what my education would have looked like without it so by working on this project, I am just giving back to future students who are going to make amazing discoveries in the building I helped to construct,” said Meurs.

You can watch the construction of the Destination Project come together before your eyes thanks in part to the efforts of Gabbin. His first task working on the Destination Project was to set up live web cameras that continuously stream. Be sure to check out the progression of the build at destinationproject.ca.

All creatures, great and small

By | Sustainable | No Comments

Some of the campus’ most curious residents decided to stop by the Destination Project construction site recently to see if they could lend a helping hoof. Three new deer fawns were found to be making themselves comfortable in the site’s construction fencing after escaping the watchful eye of their mothers.

Destination Project coordinator, Nicole Bach said while the fresh little fawns were definitely the cutest addition to the project’s team, they were relieved of their duties soon after they were discovered.

“I phoned Fish and Wildlife services and Officer Corey Craig came out to the site. Officer Craig took over from there and was able to capture and carry out each of the fawns and reunite them with their moms” said Bach.

Wildlife Officer Cory Craig was able to capture and carry the fawn out of the construction site to be reunited with Doe. June 6, 2016. 2nd Fawn. Doe anxiously running towards the fence to the fawns screams

Wildlife Officer Cory Craig carrying the fawn to be reunited with it’s mother.

PCL construction staff and Fish and Wildlife worked with great care and interest to ensure the construction fencing was moved to allow the fawns an easy path out of the site. PCL Superintendent Daryl Campbell says while the University and PCL take every measure to ensure that wildlife is protected from the site, sometimes curiosity gets the better of some of the animals on campus.

Listen to Nicole and Daryl as they explain how the environment plays such an important and unique role in the Destination Project.

“We work on very diverse projects throughout the province and throughout the country as well as North America. In all of those areas we have different habitats that we have to work with and it’s certainly a priority of ours to ensure that we’re symbiotic with nature in terms of what we’re trying to achieve,” says Campbell. “We have a job to do but from an environmental point of view, it’s paramount to us to ensure that we have the least amount of impact on the environment that we can.”

The very same week a feathered expectant mother was also discovered to be making herself right at home on the site. A Mallard duck was found nesting with 11 eggs firmly under her protective watch. The Destination Project’s excavation area fell just short of where the duck had made her nest and yet again project staff came to the rescue. After Fish and Wildlife identified the duck was indeed a Mallard, the soon-to-be mother was given a wide berth and lots of room to relax and wait for her ducklings’ hatch.

Mother mallard

Mother mallard

“Fish and Wildlife said the ducklings would take a few weeks to hatch so PCL just took over and said they encounter this type of situation all the time,” said Bach. “Not only did PCL enclose the space they also added a perimeter fence inside of it with red tape to ensure people knew to leave the area alone. They were just wonderful about it, to see these big, burly guys taking such care around this little duck and her eggs was so cute.”

When the construction crew noticed the duck moving around and away from her nest, Bach followed the new mother around to find 10 ducklings following in a neat little line behind her.  Bach then worked to ensure there was a clear and safe path out of the construction zone so the ducks could find their way down to the river. The new little family of 11 were seen enjoying their new surroundings and splashing about safe and sound in the Oldman River shortly afterwards.