UVic News – University of Victoria

Day in the life: Natalie Haddow

More than two decades ago, Natalie Haddow traveled to Ballarat, Australia as a co-op student in the UVic Leisure Services Administration program (now known as Recreation and Health Education), where she spent the next four months planning events for the city. Now, 20 years later, with a bachelor’s degree and several career pivots under her belt, Natalie is back in Ballarat, this time as the new co-op coordinator for UVic’s School of Exercise Science, Physical Education and Health.

“I spent 20 years developing my career and, in that time, I was lucky enough to be a co-employer myself,” says Natalie. “When the opportunity to join a co-op team presented itself, it felt like the right move. I’ve always considered this job to be my dream job!”

Prior to returning to UVic, Natalie spent seven years with Canadian Morale and Welfare Services, where she hired UVic’s UVic co-op students to plan events and recreational programs for service members and their families. As a cooperative alumni, she understands the importance of empowering the students she supervises to believe in their own abilities. Now, she brings that coaching experience to work every day.

“Preparing students for the future doesn’t just mean training them how to apply for jobs,” he explains. “It’s about building their confidence in their abilities, training them to reflect on what they’ve learned and teaching them to tackle problems with creativity.”

Natalie manages the cooperative student experience in recreation and health education (her undergraduate program), kinesiology, coaching studies, leadership studies (graduate programme), curriculum studies and educational psychology. With such a diverse portfolio, every day looks different, from meetings to discuss students’ goals for their time in the program and the skills and experiences they wish to develop, to providing direct feedback on job application materials, to visiting students during their tenure. .

Having completed her own international tenure, Natalie encourages students to take risks too.

I really love conversations where I can encourage my students to dream big. I love creating international opportunities because I know how much my international collaborations affect me and my learning.”

—UVic cooperative coordinator Natalie Haddow

When she’s not spending time with co-op students, Natalie connects with potential co-op employers to help create job opportunities that are just as exciting as the ones she joined when she was a student.

After a career in health and recreation and, later, as a professional in work readiness for people with disabilities, the opportunity to return to UVic brought Natalie’s academic and professional experiences full circle. When she joins the co-op team, Natalie returns to work after becoming a parent.

“When I was at UVic as an undergraduate, I learned about myself. When I returned to complete my masters degree ten years later, UVic became about my quest for deeper knowledge, leadership, and understanding social injustice.” Now, as a co-op coordinator, it’s about nurturing the passion to learn and solve problems in the next generation.

As she gets to know students and employers, Natalie builds long-lasting relationships and empowers students to find what they love through collaboration: “My student time at UVic is supposed to be fun! I remember being a student and how influential and supportive my co-op coordinator, Nancy Reed, was. I just wish I could do the same for my students.”