Prior to starting my high school co-op placement, I was very unsure of what I wanted to do in the future such as what program I wanted to study, what University I wanted to go to, and my long-term career goals. During high school, I discovered that I love mathematics and science. Sometimes I even wake up thinking about derivatives or equilibrium questions. My love for mathematics and the sciences that involve mathematics motivated me to take all of the courses offered at my high school that fit this criteria (except biology since that just isn’t for me).
By focusing on my strengths and interests, I knew I wanted to pursue a program that incorporates math, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that program should be. Actuarial Science caught my eye because I knew that it involved statistics and that I really enjoyed the Data Management course I took in Grade 10, but I also knew there must be a world of other possibilities for me.
I chose WEtech Alliance as my cooperative placement because in my search for possible future paths I knew that WEtech would help me find out more about STEM fields. The only exposure I had in science and mathematics was from my high school courses and I had no exposure to engineering or computer science. In asking people for ideas over the years, many suggested that I would probably enjoy computer science, but my understanding of computer science ended at programming in HTML. WEtech was my plan for finding out more.
My cooperative placement at WEtech Alliance was an extraordinary experience. Throughout my time at WEtech, I attended various events with Yvonne Pilon. WEtech has given me great exposure to technology and the tech community. Here are some examples.
At Centreline, I learned about what they do, some of their machines and their PinPoint Solution machine.
At the Techstars Demo Day in Detroit I was introduced to various businesses that are bringing unique and innovative ideas to the marketplace in the tech community.
During Tech Week YQG which occurred in October, I attended various events that were hosted. There were workshops on coding in HTML and CSS, A-Frame, and Processing. There was an event called Move the Dial in Tech and Beyond, and lastly there was a Tech Mobility Day event.
At the workshops on coding, I learned the basics of coding in HTML, CSS, A-Frame and Processing. I learned that there are so many different coding languages. I learned the difference between HTML and CSS: HTML is used to create the content of a website, and CSS is used to design a website. A-Frame is an open source framework for developing WebVR and it uses HTML. Processing is a coding language created for artists and designers.
At the Move the Dial in Tech and Beyond, I learned the importance of connecting, inspiring and empowering women in Tech and Innovation. Move the Dial wants to create a more diverse ecosystem in the tech community promoting women entrepreneurs.
At the Tech Mobility Day event, I learned all about a company called Miovision that is trying to improve mobility and livability in cities.
At the ScaleUP Pitch, the Regional Allaince’s goal was to collaborate and help entrepreneurs to scale their companies. I learned about various companies trying to make a good impact in Windsor by fixing food waste problems, or improving greenhouses’ productivity for example.
At the Vibrant Communities Live Lab, I learned about different things that people would like to see happen to Windsor to make it a more desirable community to live in. For example, most people ask “why Windsor?” because they are not proud of living in Windsor, but the Live Lab’s goal was to figure out ways to make people ask “why not Windsor?”. A large and common goal that people had was to improve public transit, and to get rid of the stereotype people put on it. Another common goal people have for Windsor is to improve our health care to make Windsor a medical destination.
Finally, I was part of a podcast called “Debunking Computer Science” where I learned all about Computer Science. I learned that job opportunities are high, and that it doesn’t involve just sitting in front of a computer and coding all day. Computer scientists are computer experts as they try to figure out how technology can be improved, help us better understand computers and make use of their full potential. As a computer scientist, there are many subjects that someone can specialize in such as language programming, hardware design, artificial intelligence, and computer-human interaction. Computer science is continually evolving.
Overall, my time working with WEtech Alliance was very memorable. I was given so much exposure to the tech community that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else. I learned about so many vibrant and interesting things that are happening in Windsor-Essex.
I also improved on many soft skills. Meeting so many people in the tech community and working alongside WEtech Alliance team members, I became a better communicator and became better at working within a team.
Since I am finished high school at the end of January 2020, I plan to find a full time temporary job to gain more work experience in addition to my part-time jobs and my harp business. I have applied to the University of Windsor, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, and McMaster University for the Computer Science program and Western University for Actuarial Science. My horizons were definitely broadened and regardless of which University and program I choose, I will be anchored in the tech community.
I am so fortunate that my co-op placement at WEtech provided me with information, a network, improved business soft skills, and most importantly the knowledge I need to map out the future that matches who I really am.
Nicette Scott is a Grade 12 student at St. Joseph’s High School. She is completing a co-op placement at WEtech Alliance where she will gain exposure to the tech community. Nicette works with youth as a camp counselor and volunteer group leader, and she tutors other students. She plays several instruments and volunteers as a harpist at non-profit events. Nicette plans to pursue post secondary education and a career in STEM.