Two students from the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University are headed to California in January where they will embark on a four-month co-op term at the American automotive and energy company Tesla.
Rashmeet Singh, a third-year international computer engineering student from India, and Mahrus Kazi, a third-year electrical engineering student from Mississauga, Ont., are the first students from Lassonde to land co-op positions at Tesla’s headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.
Singh and Kazi were among a cohort of eight students that embarked on the Lassonde Co-op & Internship Program’s Tech Tour in October, where students visited some of the world’s largest tech companies in Silicon Valley, Calif., including Tesla and Google.
The trip, which marked its third year, offers students the opportunity to network with industry professionals, make meaningful connections with employers and York University alumni, and learn more about the recruitment and interview process. It was organized by the Lassonde Co-op & Internship Program team: Bob Eichvald, Marily Molina and Mayolyn Dagsi. Costs of the tour were offset by $400 through a York International Mobility Award (YIMA), a travel subsidy provided to degree-seeking York University students in support of their participation in global learning opportunities.
“Through international co-ops and internships, students have the chance to connect what they learn in the classroom to practical, real-world contexts and in the process develop intercultural competencies and leadership skills,” said Helen Balderama, associate director of international partnerships and programs at York University. “Navigating new cultures or environments enhances confidence, independence and open-mindedness, ultimately contributing to creativity and innovation.”
Participating students said the experience offered them a better understanding of the interview process, and gave them direct access to engineers, recruiters and alumni, which helped in preparing applications.
In addition to face time with recruiters and employers, students met Lassonde alums who are building successful careers in Silicon Valley at companies including Google, Coinbase and Tesla.
“We met with Sriyan Wisnarama, a Lassonde alumni working full-time at Tesla,” said Singh. “He was so passionate about his work, and the healthy, fast-paced culture he described was appealing. It was inspiring to know that someone from your school is working in Silicon Valley at a big tech company, and is happy with their decision.”
The goal of the Tech Tour is to highlight Lassonde students’ skills and abilities and to create a pipeline between highly capable students and employers recruiting top talent, said Eichvald, associate director of co-op program and partnerships.
“A large part of this is maintaining relationships with alumni out in the working world, learning from their successes and career paths, and then taking these learnings back so we can evolve and improve our co-op programming, which is such a vital part of the experiential learning model at Lassonde,” he said.
Both students will begin their first day in sunny Silicon Valley in early January, working as software engineering QA interns. Follow their journey on Twitter and Instagram.
Instagram: @rashmeet4real and @mahrus_kazi
York U students interested in global learning opportunities should visit York International’s Go Global page.
For more information on Lassonde School of Engineering’s co-op/internship opportunities, visit coop.lassonde.yorku.ca. Alumni or companies interested in recruiting Lassonde students should reach out to Bob Eichvald, associate director of co-op and business partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org.