Samin Tavakoli

Learning beyond the classroom

As an international student from Iran, Samin Tavakoli was looking to make the most of her time at York and start planning for life after graduation.

“When I entered my program, I didn't know what career options I had,” says Tavakoli, a fourth-year biochemistry student. "When I learned about research and practicum opportunities through my advisors, I wanted to pursue these experiences.”

The first step was putting together a resumé based on the knowledge and experience she gained during a practicum course. Tavakoli shared the lab experience she gained through volunteer experience with a biology professor that taught her foundational laboratory skills, such as how to handle instruments, chemicals and more. She says this on-campus knowledge boosted her confidence ahead of entering her co-op position.

The support and encouragement that she received from professors also played a significant role in her experience.

“My professor’s expertise, passion and commitment to student success inspired my academic and personal growth,” she says. “They challenged me to strive for excellence, nurtured my curiosity and provided valuable mentorship, guidance and inclusive learning environments in the classroom.”

With help from her York support system, Tavakoli completed her fourth-year co-op over two consecutive terms as a quality control chemist at Apotex. She also gained useful tips on how to build a strong resumé and LinkedIn profile, as well as insights on the job application process with assistance from the Career Centre.

Through her practicum and co-op, Tavakoli says she had a chance to apply her theoretical knowledge to real-life instances, as well as gain a new skillset of learning outside of the classroom.

Her advice for incoming students: “It’s okay to put yourself out there and gain new experiences – even if it’s scary at first. Don't be scared to try new things even if they don’t work out,” she says, “You might learn something valuable that you can carry with you in your academic and professional careers.”

Explore some of York’s resources, available at the Career Centre, YU Experience Hub and more to help you learn about career options and how to gain experience in a professional atmosphere.

  1. Visit the Career Lounge for peer support: Chat with a Career Peer Educator about your career-related questions and have someone review your resumé or cover letter.
  2. Get in touch with an Experiential Education coordinator: Connect with coordinators from your Faculty to get personalized support about what is available for your program.
  3. 1:1 career support: Get personalized support including career counselling, resumé and cover letter feedback, job search, interview preparation, developing your professional brand and more.
  4. Online job search resources: Gain various tips and resources to help you jumpstart your job search.