Love of science leads to affirming community partnership

Laura DeJong, grade 12 student at Hamilton District Christian High, has always loved the sciences. In particular, she likes to learn about biology and kinesiology. A career in the medical profession seemed like a logical choice. Or did it?

laura2Laura decided to test the waters by trying out a half-day co-op placement at Dundas Medical Imaging with an emphasis on ultrasound and x-ray. She was skeptical at first, but soon fell in love with the profession and all of the knowledge and skills that go with it.

From day one, I was treated as part of the team. I got to have a voice and give my input. All of the staff was patient teaching me about their jobs, and I was valued as more than just a student.” Laura

Laura got to see a wide range of patient ultrasounds and x-ray images; some that were normal, and some that were very serious and had a lot of diseases. She was able to get a better understanding of what to look for in these images and detect when something was wrong.

Laura was taking a kinesiology course at the same time as her co-op. This enabled her to see and understand some of the anatomy and concepts that she was learning in that course by seeing the same anatomy on the x-ray and ultrasound images. I was very impressed with how much Laura learned and the intelligent and relevant questions she asked.” Sandra Larose, Clinic Manager

With the help of Mr. Apers, Laura has officially applied to two different colleges for x-ray and two different colleges for the ultrasound program. Both of these programs are extremely competitive, but they are both great career choices.

“Both are in the medical field that I’m interested in,” said Laura. “Both can give me the satisfaction of knowing you can save a life through your knowledge and medical performance. The hardest part is going to be deciding which one I like better.”

The co-op program at Hamilton District Christian High comes highly recommended by both Laura and her supervisor. The program links the academic learning process with the workplace through practical work experiences that are integrated with the learning objectives of the program of study. It provides students with the opportunity to develop significant networks and relationships with qualified professionals. For Laura, the experience has put her miles ahead of other students applying to programs in this field.

I’ve learned so much and have gotten great hands-on experience. Whether you know exactly what you want to do after high school, or are completely unsure, co-op is so helpful to confirm your career choice. Through co-op you will learn so much more about a career than just looking it up online. Co-op allows you to interact with experts in an authentic work environment and gives you the opportunity to enhance skills and learn new things.” Laura

At the same time, Sandra would agree that co-op placements provide an equally useful experience for employers.

“I look at co-op as a learning opportunity for the student as opposed to free labour for our company,” explains Sandra. “My co-op students are told that their only job during their time with us is to learn as much as they can. For the technologists in our clinic, it is beneficial to teach and answer student questions. It reaffirms understanding of everyday skills, and is a great way to serve as a mentor to youth while promoting our profession.”

The co-op department at HDCH is always seeking new community partnerships. If your business would be interested in mentoring a student or hosting a workplace learning placement, please contact Richard VanEgmond, Director of Co-Op Education at For more information on the program and how you can get involved, visit

CHoneCharlene Hone
Communications Specialist