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Student stories

Love of sports leads RHEd student to to VANOC position

Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education

Kira Peterson

VANOC in Vancouver, BC

Kira Peterson has always had a love of sports, whether that meant competing in gymnastics as a child or snowboarding every weekend. When she joined UVic’s Co-operative Education Program as a recreation and health education student, she discovered another love—event planning. Peterson now combines her two passions as she helps plan one of the biggest sporting events of all time—the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Read the rest of this experience

Peterson, who is now working full-time for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) after graduating in 2008, first developed her event planning skills while working as a co-op student. She completed her first work term as a coordinator with Burton Snowboards’ Chill Program, which helps at-risk youth in Vancouver take part in snowboarding activities. After this experience, Peterson was determined to add more events to her résumé. She was set on working for Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique in Ottawa, so she approached the organization and successfully secured a co-op work term. “I worked as an assistant to the events coordinator and learned so much about organizing sporting events. I ended up taking most of my electives by distance education so that I could immerse myself in this position.” 

Peterson continued event planning in sports on her fourth and final co-op work term with the Canadian Snowboard Federation (CSF), which she also helped set up. “I really fell in love with event planning while working with the CSF,” she says. “By the time I planned the athletes’ after-party for the 2007 Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup in Calgary, I was fully hooked.”

Peterson’s relationship with the CSF didn’t end when she finished her co-op work term. As Coordinator, Freestyle Skiing & Snowboard, Sport for VANOC she works closely with her former employers and is using many of the skills she learned while with the CSF. “The biggest thing I learned while on my work terms was how to be flexible and adaptable. This has helped me in my job with VANOC coordinating volunteers, creating training material, and interacting with athletes.”

Whether it’s working with a team of 15 or a team of a thousand, collaboration is key for Peterson. Her work terms with Gymnastics Canada and the Canadian Snowboard Federation led to positive co-op experiences for herself, and also helped UVic Co-op and Career build relationships with these two new employers.

So what’s in store for Peterson after February 2010? She hopes to continue working in action sport events. “The experiences and challenges that I’ve faced in my co-op positions and at VANOC have been priceless and I’m positive that I can use them to create a future for myself.”

Update on Kira Peterson: After graduation, Peterson began working as alumni relations coordinator with UBC's Faculty of Medicine's Alumni Affairs office.

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