Co-op, Clubs, and Confidence

Berlin Pang shares how clubs and co-op prepared her with the confidence to collaborate effectively in the workforce.

By Greg McIntyre Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business

What do dance, design and marketing have in common? For Berlin Pang (BGBDA’ 22), earning a degree was about far more than what she learned in the classroom. Extracurriculars, work experience and hands-on challenges gave her a solid foundation for her career.

Berlin, danced competitively since the age of seven, and it was important for her to continue to dance in university. In her first year at Waterloo, she joined the UW Dance Company. "Dance has always provided a space for me to express myself, work in a team, develop my creativity, build a community, and source inspiration," notes Berlin. Her love for creating became evident in dance as she spent time choreographing, leading a team, and seeing a vision through. Encouraged by an upper-year Global Business and Digital Arts student, Berlin became Head of Media for the club and used her marketing skills to build greater awareness and foster deeper relationships with the campus community.

Ready for work

During her work term, Berlin joined STINTR, a startup in its growth stage. This allowed her to be influential in identifying their platform’s target audience, marketing opportunities, and user experience. Waterloo’s focus on real-world projects and team-based learning gave her experience sharing her ideas and leading group projects.

"My co-op work term experience pushed my learning even further and let me test my strong academic foundation against real-world challenges. It allowed me to hone my skills and assess what I needed to develop in my final term of school before finding my first long-term job," she said. Berlin’s academic foundation proved extremely valuable as her employer nominated her for the Co-op Student of the Year award.

In her co-op position, she became the primary liaison between the developer and business leadership, offering relevant suggestions from each perspective. She effectively communicated with technical designers, developers, and business and marketing leaders due to the breadth of Waterloo’s programs.

"I have seen how both my business and design courses intersect within the workplace and have provided me with a diverse skill set that will help me reach my future goals," notes Berlin of her experience.

"In the capstone course, we don’t just design an app, we design an app, and then we design a business plan on how that app would actually come to fruition, and how it would work and function in society."

Upon returning from her work term, Berlin commented that she felt more confident working with other people and taking on leadership roles because she had experienced what she was capable of. "My co-op nurtured my abilities to problem-solve autonomously within a fast-paced workplace," she says.

Leaving her mark

As a student representative on the Global Business and Digital Arts curriculum committee, Berlin is leaving her mark at Waterloo to develop a plan for the program’s future and optimize learning outcomes. The committee exemplifies Waterloo’s commitment to developing talent for a complex future. Berlin comments, "I really enjoy working with the program staff to problem-solve and am grateful I get to share my experience, perspective, and ideas in a pedagogical space."

Berlin is confident that Waterloo has prepared her for what comes next, stating, "It’s important I find a workplace that is diverse, thoughtful, and prioritizes strong collaboration." We look forward to celebrating with her and the Faculty of Arts Class of 2022 at the Spring Convocation.


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