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Unique experiential education opportunities have the power to transform learning and lives

Lassonde School of Engineering Dean Jane Goodyer with students from the Dev Degree program.

When Jeeven Dhanoa started his Dev Degree, he was challenged in a way he’s never been before.

“I was challenged to learn how to do things I’ve never even dreamed of before,” he says. “Learning requires you to make yourself vulnerable, to embrace the possibility of failure, and to be willing to take lessons from that failure with you forward.”

An innovative partnership between York University and Shopify is making waves as one of the most unique experiential education opportunities in post-secondary.

The initiative is part of the Lassonde School of Engineering’s Industry Partnership Stream, which blends program learning outcomes and experiential education. Students admitted to the stream complete both practicum credits and the course requirements leading to an honours bachelor of science degree in computer science.

“Shopify is one of Canada’s great success stories, combining innovative entrepreneurship with visionary leadership, and we are honoured to be their first university partner in the GTA,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton at the partnership announcement.

The benefits of Dev Degree aren’t just technical skills either. Each student is paired with a Life@Shopify mentor to help support their well-being and further their skills in communication, teamwork, and time and project management. Much like the company’s 3,000 employees, Dev Degree students are encouraged to reflect on their strengths and how they might continue to grow in the future.

Personal mentors support that journey and because the relationship isn’t tied to work performance or evaluations, students can share whatever they want, no strings attached.

​“I feel so incredibly supported at Shopify,” Jeeven says. “I can say without a doubt that during my time thus far at Shopify, I have always felt comfortable to make myself uncomfortable.”