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One way to get involved in the Department and gain hands-on experience is to volunteer in a research lab. We generally discourage students from volunteering in their first year of study, as it takes some time to get adjusted to the demands of university. A great time to start would be in your 3rd year, once you’ve taken some upper-level courses that have a more specific focus (and are taught by faculty members with expertise in that area).

If you are doing well in the course, you can reach out via email or in person to see if there is a possibility of volunteering in their laboratory. Alternatively, you can read about each faculty members’ research by visiting our Faculty page. Just click on each faculty member to read about their research, and email a professor who you might be interested in working with. Try not to get discouraged if you don’t receive a response. The world is full of people that don’t answer emails, and academia is definitely no exception. We recommend a polite and professional email follow up a week or so after the initial contact. Alternatively, you can pay a visit during office hours or if you notice an open door. After one attempt at following up, if you still don’t receive a response or reciprocated interest, then move on to someone else.

Something to keep in mind is volunteer opportunities in a lab require a significant level of commitment, and if you do start helping with a research project, you will be expected to show up and provide assistance as required. It takes a lot of time to train and set up a volunteer position, so please make sure you are dedicated before beginning.

Here is a list of organizations that may offer volunteer opportunities of interest:

Charity Village: Apply to volunteer listings on Charity Village in your area.

Recovery Day Ottawa: Recovery Day is an annual community event in the month of September. The purpose is to help reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and raise awareness about recovery in our community.

The Royal Ottawa: The Royal is one of Canada’s foremost mental health care and academic health science centres. The volunteer positions at The Royal provide opportunities to develop new skills and work with a diverse group of people within a mental health care setting,

Carleton Student Experience Office: Check out the Carleton Student Experience office page for opportunities open to all Carleton University Undergraduate students.

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO): CHEO’s program opportunities are based on the needs in different areas of the hospital, and so CHEO will match applicants’ skills, availability and experiences to their current needs.

The Ottawa Hospital: Check out The Ottawa Hospital’s volunteer page for opportunities to get involved in a health care setting.

Canadian Mental Health Association: The CMHA offers two different volunteer programs. Check out the website if you would like to provide support to individuals going through serious mental health problems, or you would like to join a youth program dedicated to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

Hopewell Eating Disorder Support Centre: Hopewell offers flexible scheduling and an opportunity for you to use your skills and talents to make a difference in the community.

Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health

Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre

Carleton University
Health Sciences Building
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6
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Phone: 613-520-4020