Student stories

Professional communications student connects to Indigenous community through co-op

Jennifer Polack

Victoria Native Friendship Centre; CIRCLE; Animikii

A series of co-op placements has allowed professional communications student Jennifer Polack to kick-start a career in communications and build a network of contacts in the Indigenous community. An Indigenous student herself, Jennifer is particularly interested in lending her skills to Indigenous-led businesses and projects, and Co-op has given her the ability to do just that.

Jennifer did her first co-op term in summer 2016, working as a promoter for the Victoria Native Friendship Centre’s Siem Lelum housing project. During her time with the centre, she designed a fundraising website, created a video and other promotional material, directed a crowdfunding campaign, and planned fundraising events.

Her second co-op term was in spring 2017 at UVic’s Centre for Indigenous Research and Community-Led Engagement (CIRCLE). There, she worked as an assistant on the International Journal of Indigenous Health, restructuring its peer-review database and copyediting the journal.

Her third and final co-op term will be in summer 2017 doing content management for Animikii, an Indigenous-owned tech company in Victoria. Jennifer landed the position after meeting with the CEO of the company in 2016 for an article she wrote about why Aboriginal Day should be a national holiday, an article that ended up being published as an op-ed in the Globe and Mail.

Looking back on her time in UVic Co-op, Jennifer says that she has been able to develop highly sought-after skills and experience in business writing, copy-editing, social media management, and promotion: “As soon as I started picking that up and marketing myself as having those skills, I didn’t ever have an issue finding a job or finding someone who needs some freelance work done.”

She explains that “everyone needs a writer, and everyone needs someone to copy-edit what their writers have written.” And she stresses that an ability to write and edit makes you a better job candidate in any industry. “Any field that requires words,” she laughs, “needs people who have those skills.”

After graduating, Jennifer hopes to continue working in communications and with Indigenous-led projects.

More about Humanities and fine arts co-op