Casana’s Graduating Co-ops Share Key Learnings
Published: January 25, 2023
- short for cooperative education,
- a unique program that offers real-world experience before graduation. Through a Co-op program, students can gain practical experience in their field of study that they can use to improve their skills and work toward their career goals.
Since our founding, Casana has employed Co-ops each semester to help develop our product and support building our organization. Each Fall, Spring, and Summer semester, Casana welcomes a new cohort of students with majors ranging from biomedical engineering, to regulatory, to marketing and communications. As a start-up, Casana remains a small and close-knit team, and our Co-ops embody that mentality. Casana’s philosophy is that Co-ops are key members of the Casana team, just like any other employees. From the initial interview process, Casana strives to engage college students in a learning environment that prepares them to join the workforce with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
As our 2022 Fall ‘class’ of Co-ops return to school with their Casana Co-op experience in their back pocket, Casana is taking a look back at our success and the value both parties have obtained from this cooperative effort through the eyes of our ‘graduating’ Co-ops.
Introductions to our Co-ops
“Working at Casana is… chaotically positive.” – B.M
Our Fall cohort of Co-ops encompassed a large range of majors and positions which were filled by some of the best and brightest students our local (Rochester, NY & Boston, MA) colleges had to offer. Five of these Co-ops volunteered to provide Casana (and any future Casana Co-ops) feedback on what it’s like to begin their professional careers at a startup like Casana.
B.M. – Product Management Co-op
B.M. began their Co-op in June of 2022 and was situated within a team of developers to assist in the agile development of Casana’s clinician platform for our Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) product, the Heart Seat, while ensuring FDA & HIPAA compliance.
S.L. – Content and Strategy Marketing Co-op
S.L. joined Casana’s Go-to-Market and Operations teams in July of 2022 and focused on expanding company-wide engagement through social media campaigns and external facing events.
R.J. – Electrical Engineering Co-op
R.J. became a part of Casana’s Engineering team in June of 2022 to develop, test and debug prototype hardware, while simultaneously documenting test procedures and results in order to contribute to the effectiveness of the Quality Management System.
J.W. – Industrial Engineering Co-op
J.W. started at Casana in July of 2022 as a member of the Engineering and Supply Chain teams, working to oversee production schedules and coordinate efforts to maximize productivity when executing production and supply management procedures.
T.C. – Regulatory Affairs/Quality Assurance Engineering Co-op June
T.C. ‘s Co-op began in June of 2022 with Casana’s RA/QA team, directly underneath Kara Johnson, the VP of RA/QA. T.C. supported the development and oversight procedures for FDA regulatory documents as Casana prepared for submission.
“I was in the process of finding a Co-op and I applied to probably ten or fifteen places. None of them had gotten back to me. Eventually, I had one of my professors reach out to a few companies he was familiar with and he had great things to say about Casana.”– R.J.
How often we are hiring
Casana is constantly hiring. Due to the limited-time nature of Co-ops, we are always looking for candidates to fill a specific position in upcoming semesters. Casana hires during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters and there are cases where Co-ops may be extended or take up double blocks (two semesters in a row). It’s important to note that depending on the college, some schools break Co-ops into six-month terms (e.g. Northeastern) while others use a four-month block (e.g. RIT).
To know what positions are available and when, we encourage students to check Careers at Casana. Alternatively, we can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
From where we hire and how to get involved
“I found out about Casana through my Northeastern portal. It’s the regular core process for registering students. I would say, for this Co-op experience, I really wanted to work on my skills in marketing and content. And that’s exactly what this position was.”– S.L.
Beyond the recruitment platform mentioned above, Casana also has our available positions listed on popular websites such as Handshake, individual local college platforms, as well as LinkedIn, although the most comprehensive list lives on our Careers Page.
Events, where individuals can meet with representatives from Casana and discuss opportunities to get involved, are varied in nature. Our Rochester office participates in both Fall and Spring career fairs at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester, while the Boston office manages our engagement with Northeastern College. Though Casana attends events primarily at these three colleges—due to how we prioritize Co-ops that can work in either our Boston or Rochester office—we do not have a preference when it comes to which colleges Co-op applicants attend.
Beyond career fairs and hiring opportunities, Casana also runs many studies that students can participate in, as well as the general public. Rochester locals may be interested in visiting our SIT Lab or having the Heart Seat installed in their home. Those who live further may find our Virtual Survey an enticing opportunity to get involved.
Interview process (what to expect)
“During my interview, I was asked a lot of questions about projects and tasks I’ve done in the past, and honestly I hadn’t had any of the experiences they mentioned. Even in just my first month of working at Casana, I have already executed four or five of these assignments with my team.”– R.J.
Applying for a position at Casana can start from several different touch points. Some candidates may simply apply online by submitting their application, resume, and relevant documents. Others might meet with Casana employees at career fairs to schedule interviews. Whichever way applicants use to initially engage with Casana, the hiring process is the same.
Depending on how far in advance your application is submitted for any given position (applying for a job that starts three months from now versus eight) the time it takes to receive a reply may differ. In general, you can expect an acknowledgment of your application immediately, and an offer or decline to interview within one to two weeks.
Different positions require varied amounts of interviews. In general, the initial interview via Zoom (virtually) is meant to determine if the applicant is a good fit for the company and understands the requirements of the position. Regardless of past working experience, individuals capable of expressing a growth mindset and willingness to learn are greatly prioritized throughout interview rounds. If there are no concerns after that point, interviewees are likely to receive an invitation to schedule a second interview that will go further in-depth about capabilities, testing, and general vetting procedures. Co-op positions will usually never involve more than three interviews, but permanent positions can often require more.
Working at Casana
“I love the startup culture. I’ve tried larger corporate organizations before and I just prefer the collaborative environment of a smaller company, and that’s exactly what I have here. It’s a small enough team that allows you to get hands-on experience and advice, but there’s still a good amount of variety in roles so if you want to branch out into different departments you’re able to do projects, or collaborate, with almost anyone.”– S.L.
Not your Average Internship
Although sometimes used synonymously, Co-ops and internships are not the same things. While there is no singular definition for Co-ops or what they should entail, there is a baseline understanding that they approach the learning process with the ultimate goal of providing a more realistic preview as to what it would be like to work a regular full-time role.
Internships tend to reduce onboarding and training time that would otherwise eat up much of the internship period, and instead assign the intern work that will naturally end after the completion of the internship. This means that internships sometimes fail to help a student know whether they would like the actual day-to-day work at a certain company, since their workload is not equivalent to a full-time role.
The difference between working at a startup and a corporate company is often similar. Due to the size of Casana and the pace at which we progress and develop, every employee is a crucial part of our team and our team’s success. Co-op’s are not just side project resources, they are a core part of the team whose fresh perspective is critical to our work at Casana; and those who work with us get to see the effect they have on a daily basis.
Small but Mighty, the start-up difference
“Casana is at the perfect stage right now, where if you join in, you will be able to see the scale and the growth, while making sure that your inputs are accounted for. It’s not like a traditional internship, which other companies go for.”– B.M.
Cooperative education opportunities at Casana are unique in how we integrate Co-ops into our teams and workflows, as if they are full-time employees. There is a full onboarding process that explains in detail the company, our mission, and where each role fits into the larger picture.
The projects done by our Co-ops affect Casana at a foundational level. How we decide to pursue FDA validation, the code used by the Heart Seat, the marketing strategy, and more are all influenced by the efforts of our Co-ops. Though their placement at Casana is temporary, the difference they make can still be seen in the company months and years after they have left. Likewise, the network and connections gained at Casana stay with our Co-ops as they break into their respective industry as young professionals.
Is Casana right for you?
“I’d say, yes, if you are ready to learn. Even though I’m just a Co-op, my manager really takes my opinions and my input as if I’m an equal, or as if I’m always giving them something worth looking into. I think anyone who wants to join Casana–join the chaotic positivity–-should, in order to learn as much as you can.”– B.M.
Depending on what each student is looking to get out of their Co-op experience, the conditions that need to be met can be quite different. Geographically, Casana offers Co-op roles in both Boston and Rochester and maintains a hybrid work environment that can be especially helpful to those with educational commitments during the work period. Working for a start-up, and at Casana specifically, gives students the opportunity to dive into the workforce without making a blind commitment.
The ability to try new roles, to experiment, and to test your limits can give individuals insight into what it is that they like and what it is that they’d rather not spend their time on. In a start-up where your work matters, you have more responsibilities than you typically might in a large corporation. This also means that you are given a higher degree of autonomy to complete your projects in a way that best helps you learn. Your unique point of view and skillset are highly valued, but the ways in which you can grow and develop are also the priority for the managers who will be guiding you.
If the opportunity to become a core member of a team building a product with the potential to improve the lives of millions of patients and their loved ones—all while learning a tremendous amount from real work experience—entices you, then chances are that Casana is the company for you.
Interested in our available positions? Check out Careers at Casana. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Apply to our General Application role or email info@casanacare for more information. Newly opened positions appear in our newsletter first, sign up today!
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