How a MacEwan University Social Work Student Gained Career Clarity Through Level UP

December 9, 2021

Passionate about creating social impact, Christine Wincentaylo is a student in MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Social Work program. Initially a volunteer with the university’s Peer Help Education Team (PHET), Christine learned about a position being offered through the Riipen Level UP program which would allow her to assist PHET with their program planning.

Through this project, Christine was able to develop skills relevant to her field of study while gaining clarity on her career goals and interests.

Project Scope

PHET is a volunteer program which supports students on campus to help them reach their academic and personal goals while making healthy choices. Christine’s Level UP project involved planning PHET’s programming for the upcoming year. This involved leading the organization of events, managing logistic such as event costs, and succession planning for future programs and teams.

While Christine had created program toolkits before, she did not have prior experience leading the development of a program from start to finish. This Level UP project offered Christine the opportunity to take on that task and as a result, Christine expressed how this role allowed her to develop crucial skills that would support her success in the future. The skills nurtured through this opportunity were also transferable to Christine’s newly acquired position focused on program planning with the YMCA.

Career Direction

Christine states that the biggest benefit she received through this Level UP project with PHET was a career clarity. Upon the completion of her project, Christine had a better understanding of her desired career path with real experience in the space to confirm her interest. Program planning is crucial to social work and this experience has allowed Christine to build her skills while reaffirming her passion for the industry.

While the compensation for her work was a welcomed bonus, Christine shared that the main reason she enjoyed working on this project was knowing that her work was going to help fellow students. Describing the project work as both fun and interesting, Christine enjoyed getting creative during the planning process. 

“It's been really cool just to have my own creativity flow and to see something that youth would want to do while they're in university, as well as the possible volunteer positions available,” said Christine.

How Work-Integrated Learning Stacks Up to Traditional Teaching Methods

When comparing work-integrated learning with more traditional teaching tools like exams, Christine finds work-integrated learning to be more effective. 

“I think it's been really interesting because I've struggled with doing online school, but with work-integrated learning, it's been easier to understand the type of sector I'll be working in and really getting myself into it before I even have an actual degree,” said Christine.

As a visual learner, Christine believes that having work-integrated learning options also allows for the accommodation of different types of learners. She believes that exams cater to a certain way of thinking that does not accurately determine if all students fully understand the course material. The offering of work-integrated learning provides additional options for students to test and apply their knowledge, especially for those that do not learn best through traditional methods of testing.


Thank you to Christine for taking the time to share her story with us. To get involved with experiential learning today, visit our website and keep up with Riipen on Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Riipen Level UP program is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiatives program. The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

About the Author
Aaron Chang is a Marketing Intern at Riipen, as well as a fourth-year Business student at Simon Fraser University. He is passionate about spreading positivity and creating connections with others. When he has the time, he loves writing short stories, binging anime, and having a little too much chocolate.

MacEwan University Land Acknowledgement:

We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.