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The World as your Lecture Hall: McGill's Macdonald Campus

The world as your lecture hall: 
McGill’s Macdonald Campus

From the classroom to the world

McGill's Macdonald Campus takes education to a new level, in part because of value-added opportunities such as Internships. As the Coordinator of the Bieler Family Internship Office, Lindsay O’Connell has the pleasure of meeting and interacting with students on a daily basis, and helping students find internship placements that match their interests and fields of study. Another amazing aspect for Lindsay is hearing the countless stories of Macdonald (‘Mac’) students who have graduated and moved on to successful careers as a direct result of their internship, such as Li Li.

Lindsay met Li in the fall of 2009, right around the time that the Internship Office opened. She was a second-year student in the Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry Department and was looking for help in finding an internship related to food quality control. Food quality control provides information on food characteristics and safety controls to ensure that consumer food supplies are safe and of good quality, while also ensuring that domestic food laws are respected. Li was one of the very first students to enroll in the internship course, offered through the Internship Office.

After spending time searching, an internship was finally found with a Montréal based company - an internship that was a perfect match between Li and the employer. Li spent the summer of 2010 at Da Vinci Foods, one of the largest pizza processing companies in Canada. During that summer, Li had the most amazing opportunity to learn and work in a hands-on environment, giving her real-life experience in her field of study. Upon her graduation in the summer of 2011, she was offered a full-time position with Da Vinci Foods, where she continues to work!

“This internship was a valuable experience for me because it provided me a great opportunity for on-the-job training in my field of study and helped me to gain professional work experience as a food scientist. Most importantly, it helped me to define my career goals.”
– Li Li, Macdonald Campus Alumni (’11)

The greatest benefit of the Bieler Family Internship Office is that students are able to take their studies beyond the classroom and into the world through internship placements. At McGill’s Macdonald Campus, internships can occur as early as the first year of academic studies, and this program allows students to gain practical, hands-on experience and develop skill-sets that are frequently in high demand by employers. The Internship Office offers value-added, customized benefits to students and national and international industries, as Lindsay works directly with employers and students to match talents and student goals with specific needs in industry. For employers, they have access to top-ranked students from the Macdonald Campus and may take advantage of a number of services the Macdonald Campus provides to promote their company and job postings.

Studying at McGill’s Macdonald Campus

“I chose to study at Mac not knowing quite what to expect, and what I found has fulfilled me in ways I didn’t know a university could. My program is incredibly stimulating, and the atmosphere keeps inspiring me to explore new areas of research. I know all my professors, and half the student on campus. Mac truly offers things that I couldn’t find at any other school, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.” – Emily McGill, Bioresource Engineering student

The Macdonald Campus offers more than internship placements. It is internationally recognized for teaching and training that advances knowledge related to agriculture, environment, nutrition, and food. In addition, its location, situated along the beautiful waterfront on the western tip of the island of Montréal, offers students a unique educational experience. Smaller class sizes, ideal student-to-teacher ratio, excellent research facilities and a strong emphasis on field and laboratory work, allow the Macdonald Campus to stand out and give each of its students the type of education deserving of Canada’s leading postsecondary institution.

“Smaller classes allow for more individualized help and feedback from professors resulting in an enriched learning experience.” – Marie-Stephanie Belisle, Dietetics student

A generous harvest of specialized programs

There are close to 2,000 undergraduate students, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows on the Macdonald Campus. Undergraduate students may choose from a wide variety of programs from which to focus their studies. By offering six majors under the Bachelor of Science, (Agricultural Economics, Agro-Environmental Biology, Environmental Biology, Food Systems and Environment, International Agriculture and Life Sciences), a Bachelor of Engineering, a Bachelor of Food Science, a Bachelor of Nutritional Sciences or by combining fields and enrolling in the 4-year Concurrent Degree Program in Food Science and Nutritional Sciences, the Macdonald Campus attracts the best and brightest students and professors in all of these disciplines.

“The enthusiastic professors, knowledgeable teaching assistants, and my exciting hands-on experience through the work study program are just a few of the reasons I have fallen in love with McGill’s Macdonald Campus. The professors I have met have reminded me of how much fun learning can be, as well as fully prepared me for my later years of university to come.” 
– Sophie Krolikowski, Environmental Biology student

In addition to the exceptional education offered, the Macdonald Campus also flourishes in the realm of research and innovation, offering students the opportunity to be challenged in the classroom, in the field, in the laboratory, and in their chosen career.

“As researchers and academics, we want to have an impact. The easiest way is to engage students in research early on. Students are so integral to the research process. They re-energize our work, they are the pulse on enthusiasm and hope that keep the university alive.”
– Dr. Murray Humphries, Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resource Sciences

Learning beyond Graduation: Continuing Professional Development

Today’s professionals live in a dynamic, interactive, and connected world. For many of them, such as individuals working in water resources management, enrolling in a course for training and continuing professional development has to come down to flexible learning. The familiar classroom environment for working professionals is shifting towards online learning, especially for training in fields in which the scale of the problem is global, such as water resources. “With global impacts on global water resources on the rise, training the right individuals in addressing these impacts is crucial,” says Eduardo Ganem Cuenca, who is one of the instructors for the online program in Integrated and Adaptive Water Resources Planning, Management and Governance. The online program, launched this fall, is helping professionals develop new skills and knowledge required to address the urgent needs in the water resources sector through online collaboration. “It is remarkable for me to experience the opportunity of seeing professionals from different countries and with different work experiences collaborate in such a fruitful manner,” says Eduardo. The online program is part of the office for Continuing Professional Development on the Macdonald Campus.

As local and global challenges are constantly changing, the Macdonald Campus seeks to continue training students and professionals through the most informative courses, hands-on internships, workshops and programs. For more information visit about the Macdonald Campus click here.