Campus Life

Co-op experience the key for Chowdhury


Subir Chowdhury is no ordinary student. With one year left to complete his degree he has already gained two years of experience in the working world, and after graduating will be able to pursue any job he wants within his field.

Chowdhury was able to gain this competitive edge through the U of L's Arts and Science Co-operative Education Program. With a major in Computer Science and Geographical Information Systems (GIS), he decided to participate in the program early in his university career.

"I was interested in learning how I could integrate my GIS knowledge with real life projects," explains

Subir Chowdhury, foreground, used the U of L's Co-operative Education Program to gain valuable experience in a work environment. His brother Sudipto has now enrolled at the University to follow suit.
Chowdhury. "The people at the co-op office were very encouraging and inspired me to participate in the program."

The Co-operative Education Program at the University of Lethbridge works to create a partnership between students, the University, and the employer, and allows for an extended learning environment as well as the ability to network with employers. Students can integrate academic semesters with work terms, and can apply skills learned in the classroom directly to the workplace and vice versa.

Chowdhury completed a co-op work term at Yukon Geological Survey and another at Alberta Geological Survey. He was able to learn a multitude of technical skills through these work terms and had a wide variety of responsibilities. While with Alberta Geological Survey, Chowdhury worked on two major projects: the Peace River Landslide Monitoring Project and the Turtle Mountain Monitoring Project.

The goal of the Turtle Mountain Monitoring Project is to try to understand what caused the rock avalanche of 1903 that buried the town of Frank, and to determine whether a second rock avalanche will occur. Chowdhury had an important role in this ongoing project. He worked in the resources branch of Alberta Geological Survey in the Geohazard section, Groundwater Inventory section and Knowledge Management section.

For the Geohazard and Knowledge Management sections, he developed a web-mapping application for the project, using an ArcGIS Server application development framework. He also developed a dynamic charting application for Turtle Mountain sensor networks and web-based three-dimensional models for LiDar images and high-resolution satellite images. Chowdhury's work contributed to an understanding of the risks associated with living in this and other such areas, and will help to warn residents before disaster occurs.

Chowdhury also developed a web-mapping application for the Peace River Landslide Monitoring Project (a shared project with the University of Alberta), and even co-authored a publication for the project.

Because of the benefits that Chowdhury gained from the co-op program, his brother Sudipto decided to follow his path to the University of Lethbridge as well – specifically for the co-op program.

"The life experience I gained from the co-op program has been really valuable, so I encouraged my brother to do it too," he says. "The people at the co-op office helped me learn how to market myself and get into the job market, and they were always supportive and willing to answer any questions I might have. I really feel like they care about the students."

For more information on the co-op program, contact the Faculty of Arts and Science Applied Studies/Co-operative Education and Internships office at B610, or phone 403-329-2000.