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Originally published by Co-operative Education Program & Career Services announcing the 2020 Award Recipients. Photo: by Amee Longprè.

When fourth-year business student Jadyn Isaacson first started her program at UVic, she aspired to travel abroad and work in the fashion industry. Three co-op jobs, several changes of career goals and a global pandemic later, she is a thriving young professional in the Victoria tech sector.

Over the course of her degree, Isaacson has built an impressive portfolio working for highly-acclaimed tech companies in Victoria including LlamaZOO, Used.ca and, most recently, Shift, a Redbrick portfolio company. At Shift, she worked as a customer success co-op student, supporting clients with software support, troubleshooting and guidance. Soon after starting with Shift, Isaacson’s supervisors noted her exceptional capabilities and began trusting her with additional responsibilities. “Jadyn has been such a dependable, positive light for our team,” says co-op supervisor Jessica Huebner. “She has risen to every single challenge and always exceeds expectations.”

The ability to rise to challenges has never been more important than in the past year, when the world was thrown into a cycle of changed plans and shifting priorities. For Isaacson, the pandemic not only meant starting a new co-op job remotely, but altering her plans to finish her degree. “Upon finding out that my final academic term—originally scheduled to take place in Fall 2020—was postponed until April 2021, Shift offered me the opportunity to extend my co-op term,” she says. “Altering my life plans to work at Shift has enhanced my career, as I will have now obtained a full year of experience at one of the top employers in Canada!”

When she finishes her final co-op term, Isaacson is looking forward to going on her previously scheduled international exchange at Wesada University in Tokyo, Japan and then to graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Next up on her career development list is a Master’s degree in Supply Chain Management that will prepare her to contribute to a more sustainable business world.

Despite the twists and turns of her academic and professional journey, Isaacson feels that co-op has equipped her with the skills and confidence she needs to exceed at whatever she does next. “The co-op program has created meaningful turning points in my personal, academic, and professional paths,” she says. “These turning points pushed the boundaries of what I previously expected of myself, and I am now more confident than ever in my abilities.”

Watch the video below to learn more about Jadyn’s co-op experience and to meet the other UVic students who received the Co-op of the Year Award in 2020.