Student stories

English and Slavic Studies student combines literary studies with AbeBooks co-op

Katie Yakovleva

AbeBooks; UrbaCity Challenge

A passion for literature and language didn’t just lead UVic student Katie Yakovleva to do a double major in English and Slavic Studies; it also led her to pursue a co-operative education (co-op) position in the marketing department for AbeBooks, an international online bookseller founded here in Victoria.

“I've always loved to read and write,” Katie says, explaining why she chose English as a program. Born in Ukraine and a native Russian speaker, Katie moved with her family to Canada when she was six years old and soon “lost touch with the Russian language.” When she got to UVic, she started taking Russian language classes and ended up majoring in the department.

Wanting to gain work experience during her degree, Katie applied for her first co-op position in 2016, a double work term as a project coordinator for the UrbaCity Challenge, where she did event planning for an Amazing Race-style charity fundraiser for the Island Prostate Centre. “Helping facilitate the UrbaCity Challenge has been one of my favourite experiences. My team was amazing to work with, and I learned so much about Victoria—a city I’ve always loved. Plus, I knew that my work was making a difference for a great cause!”

But it was Katie’s second co-op experience as a marketing assistant for AbeBooks in 2017 that really let her flex her literary muscles: “I love books! Helping with content marketing for all sorts of book-related things was awesome.”

Her responsibilites at AbeBooks included writing web content, creating and analyzing ads, coordinating sponsorships of various book fairs, and coupon budgeting and creation. You can check out a recent article she wrote for the AbeBooks website on 7 Reasons to Love Reading.

Looking back on her time with AbeBooks, Katie appreciates that “it was a great learning opportunity. I learned a lot about the practice of marketing and picked up lots of technical skills in social media, web design and photo editing. I also had a lot of independence in selecting and implementing  projects. It was really challenging to always be learning so much and to know that my work had the potential to affect the company and our customers in a big way, but I loved the challenge. It was a massive growing experience.”

Katie’s two co-op jobs have also inspired her to consider a career in marketing, a field that she had never considered before she started doing co-op. “I used to be under the impression that anything related to business was boring, which it certainly is not! The co-op program has given me a lot of skills that will help me in my job search post-graduation (both job-hunting skills and on-the-job skills). Plus, my co-op work experience has given me confidence that I do have skills to offer to the contemporary workforce.”

More about Humanities and fine arts co-op