Marion is one of the kindest ACE members with over 15 years as a Co-op Coordinator. If you have met her, be assured she will love to hear about you and you will love to hear all about her fascinating life- ask her about travels in Europe. Her students love her, and her colleagues tell us she receives standing ovations at the end of the career management courses she teaches.
Today we had the pleasure of interviewing Marion Oke from Thompson Rivers University.
How long have you been working in co-operative education?
16 Years with Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. and 2 years in Hazelton, B.C. working with NITEP, 6 years as an Education Advisor with NWCC, beginning my educational career with 3 years in the K-12 system also in Hazelton, B.C.
Where do you work and what is your job title?
My job title is “Co-op Coordinator” for Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Tourism, Bachelor Natural Resource Science, and the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Students – I call myself Co-op Coordinator of everything.
Do you have any specific area of expertise?
Very good at building employer relationships, and I take great joy in student successes. I feel I am very good working with students and nurturing them during the co-op work terms. My favaourite part is watching them blossom by graduation. I always work with the student to explore the learning out of every situation, even situations that did not go as expected for the student.
What are 3 words your coworkers would use to describe you?
I would say I am chronically late (working on that), often chatty – loves a good joke, and addicted to coffee. A random sampling of colleagues said; I am a passionate Tasmanian Devil that is nurturing to my students.
Did you grow up in BC? If not, where did you grow up?
I grew up in Toronto and Peterborough, Ontario, but also in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Bristol, England.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve been given and by whom?
In my 20’s I had no idea what I wanted to do, no one able me good career advice, that is when I decided to go to University and get educated. The career advice I give to students is don’t fret it – enjoy the time now, keep moving forward and doing what you want, it will all work out!
Briefly, what is your favourite student story?
While I have many stories of student success I’d like to share, the funniest story is of the student who returned to the workplace with a huge dent on the hood of the work truck and a messed up windshield. His story of what happened was so funny that it made the company newsletter.
He was travelling back from the block when a large eagle carrying a very large fish took off from the side of the road ahead of him. The eagle was having difficulty getting lift with his heavy load, and he dropped his catch from midair. It landed squarely in the middle of the hood, made a huge dent, and then splattered all over the windshield. The student couldn’t see for the pieces of fish and guts and blood all over the windshield so he stopped and removed the dead fish and cleaned the windshield.
When he got back to the office he had a hard time convincing his colleagues of what actually happened until the mechanic fixing the truck found bits of fish etc. in the engine.
I love that story. It makes me laugh every time I think about it!