Student Spotlight – Katrina

The day in the life of a DWA summer research assistant consists of starting your day with a very big cup of coffee and sitting down at my work from home space. Twice a week for around an hour, we have a 10am Zoom meeting with the Executive Director, Director of Research, and the other two research assistants that were hired. During my 8 week contract at the DWA, my responsibilities consisted of analysis and evidence-based research to inform decision-making, completion of literature reviews and environmental scans on priority sectors in Durham Region, to compile and analyze data pertaining to the priority sectors in Durham Region, identify challenges and opportunities in the planning process, network building and outreach to employers, program, and agencies, consultation of meetings, focus groups, surveys, and other means in a variety of formats to engage with community stakeholders.

Working Monday to Friday 8:30 am until 4:00 pm is new to me. This is the first job in which my schedule is consistent and not a part-time job with scattered shifts – and it is amazing. Due to COVID-19, the student summer research assistant position is stationed at home. Unfortunately, my home workspace is not completely renovated yet. but due to my school courses for the next year fully online my workspace is being updated to promote a motivational and productive workspace.

My first day at DWA was honestly intimidating, I had my first Zoom meeting with everyone, and I had a lot of nerves. I did not know what to expect; however, the people I have met and work with are great. They are understanding, fun, knowledgeable, and my superiors are dedicated to teaching and making sure my co-workers and I understand are tasks.

My first task was difficult because I could not understand how to start the literature review. I have done literature reviews before but I was stressed and felt intimidated and therefore I had writer’s block. After talking to my peers over a Zoom meeting, I was able to bounce ideas around and begin writing.

I am halfway through my contract and I am continuously researching my assigned three sectors; healthcare, film and agriculture. My research consists of keeping an eye on the media and literature updated daily on the impacts of COVID-19 and the workforce in my three sectors. With the new information I continue to update the literature reviews, the sector overview narratives and the contact lists. I am amazed by this job because I get to learn about where I live – Durham Region. I am excited to learn more about my sectors, especially the healthcare sector because that is my chosen field of study.