Brendon DeGroot (BSc Co-op '21) will graduate with his Bachelor of Science majoring in biological sciences and psychology this spring. Brendon's most memorable experiences came from his co-op work terms. First he worked for eight-months at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Lethbridge Research Station before accepting another eight-month work term at Defence Research and Development Canada. Currently Brendon is working with Aurora BioSolutions in Medicine Hat researching mesenchymal stromal cells and hopes to pursue further education in the future.

What is your most memorable uLethbridge experience?
Looking back at my experience as an undergrad, I would have to say my most memorable experiences at the U of L were my co-op work terms and the people I met throughout my degree. Joining the co-op program helped me gain valuable experience while also teaching me my likes and dislikes. It really helps solidify what it is like working in your field and whether it is the right fit for you.

Tell us a bit about your co-op work terms.
My very first co-op work term was at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Lethbridge Research Station for an eight-month term. Here was my first experience actually working in a lab (besides undergrad courses with a lab component), and I was helping an amazing team research bovine respiratory disease. After this work term was complete, I was not ready to return to classes yet, so I accepted another eight-month work term. This time my co-op was at Defence Research and Development Canada, where I worked with yet another fantastic group of people researching biothreats and medical countermeasures.

What was the best thing about co-op?
What isn't there to love about the co-op program? The people who work at the Career Bridge office are absolutely incredible and are there for you every step of the way. Co-op allowed me to apply my knowledge from the classroom and gain hands-on practical experience working in research labs. It opens up a world of new and exciting opportunities and helps build connections and a killer resume for future endeavours. Everyone graduates with a degree, but the co-op program helps you build those connections and allows you to gain that experience that future employers will be looking for.

What is the most important lesson you learned during your time in the Faculty of Arts & Science at uLethbridge?
To get involved!!! Make the most out of your university career. Join co-op, do independent/applied studies, and get to know your classmates and professors. These things make the university experience much more than just an education.

Is there someone specific who had an important influence on your uLethbridge experience?
There is a handful of people who had a huge impact on my uLethbridge experience. I have to give credit to both my friends and family for sticking by me for these past six years and keeping me motivated. I would also like to thank Lukas Neamtu for being the best co-op coordinator I could ask for.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?
I am currently working with Aurora BioSolutions in Medicine Hat researching mesenchymal stromal cells and am excited to continue my career with them. In the future, I do see myself obtaining a master's or some form of further education.

What advice would you give to those who are about to begin their journey at uLethbridge?
My best advice for those about to begin their journey is to get out there. uLethbridge has so many incredible opportunities for their students, some of which I missed out on during the earlier years of my undergrad. My best advice would be to get to know people, get to know your professors, participate in class, get involved with the wide variety of clubs on campus, do an independent study, apply for co-op, and most importantly, enjoy your time at uLethbridge (it goes by quicker than you think).