Did you know that the Office of Academic and Research Safety (OARS)  offers co-op positions every semester?  OARS’ co-op program is an exceptional opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience  through its Biosafety, Laboratory Safety, and Learning Design & Communications co-op positions. To gain more insight on OARS’ co-op program and their offered positions, read the job descriptions and co-op testimonies below! 


The OARS biosafety co-op provides a unique and enlightening experience for students in the fields of laboratory science, biology, bioengineering, and more. The biosafety co-op gains hands-on experience with NIH registration reviews by working closely with the NU Biosafety Officer and other specialists. From conducting risk assessments to ensuring compliance with federal and institutional regulations, this co-op equips students with a comprehensive understanding of the crucial role that biosafety plays in the execution of ground-breaking research with biological materials. Biosafety co-ops develop strong problem-solving skills, are exposed to the wide range of exciting biological research on campus, and directly contribute to the advancement of research safety and compliance on campus   



“My co-op at OARS changed my mindset of how important safety is when working in a lab environment. I used to work in a lab, so I was told how to follow safety guidelines, but not necessarily why it’s important. Now I understand that safety is important for the growth of the science world. Good science is safe science, and safety improves the quality of research.”



“OARS prepares you for administrative roles through in-office interactions, but also for laboratory roles. Learning about the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE), spill cleanup, and other safety regulations really prepares you to work in a lab.

Laboratory Safety

The lab safety team plays a central role towards OARS’ mission of maintaining a safe and secure research environment.  In addition to working alongside OARS’ team of safety professionals, lab safety co-ops conduct safety inspections, perform risk assessments, and assist in incident responses and investigations. Students are equipped with an essential research skillset by applying classroom knowledge to real-lab situations. Through this enriching co-op experience, co-op students not only help to create a safer academic and research environment at Northeastern, but also lay a strong foundation for their future careers in scientific research and laboratory safety and compliance. 




“I love learning about science, so getting to go into labs and spaces that normally I never would have seen was really cool. I felt like a kid in the candy shop.”




This co-op is very close to research. My favorite part of the job was to do lab inspections, which I did with my supervisors. [The OARS staff] are very nice and always teach me something new.”




“OARS helped me come out of my shell. I’ve been an anxious person my entire life, but in this line of work, we have to talk to people: Principal Investigators (PIs), students, and faculty. Interacting with people, both in the office and on-campus, helped me conquer my fear.

Learning Design & Communications

Do you have a talent for communication and explaining complex ideas and details? This co-op upholds OARS’ goal of supporting safer academic research through its curation of instructional media about laboratory hazards, safety strategies, and best practices.   

Learning Design & Communications co-ops contribute to the design of courses completed by thousands of faculty, staff and students every year. These projects challenge co-ops to utilize creative skills in real-life applications by exercising their expertise in design, video editing, photography, writing, web design, and more.  Students enhance their communication skills and gain invaluable hands-on expertise in learning design while building their portfolios. 




“OARS got my foot in the door. Because of my co-op there, I landed the job that I have right now as a product designer. I kept some professional pieces from OARS in my portfolio, which was instrumental in my job application process. Overall, it helped shape me as a designer because I can do a little bit of everything, whether it’s user, learning, or experiential design.




“To this day, I still talk about my co-op at OARS. It was the first job where I really liked what I did. It made me think that after I graduated, I could do what I loved and that I didn’t have to settle for any kind of job.”




“This co-op presented a breadth of different mediums for me to work with, which helped me build my professional portfolio. I built upon my experience in journalism and design, but I also challenged myself by making safety training courses. Because of the opportunities that OARS gave me, I have a larger pool of job opportunities that I can pursue.

The OARS Team Experience

The Office of Academic and Research Safety boasts a fantastic team of kind and welcoming members who are dedicated to creating a safe and supportive research environment at Northeastern. Our staff is not only knowledgeable and experienced in their field, but also caring and approachable, making them a true asset to the university. Former co-ops at Northeastern have testified to the wonderful sense of community and kindness that OARS fostered.  Their positive interactions with their coworkers shaped and brought meaning to countless co-ops’ experiences at OARS.

It was nice to talk to co-workers and fellow co-ops in the office. It felt like a cute little family.

~ Ariel Nolan

I got along very well with my boss, both on a professional and personal level. I never felt unwelcome in the office, and was always excited to come into work.

~ Lina Petronino

I really loved working with my supervisors. I genuinely looked forward to coming to the office and working with not only them, but with everyone at OARS…. I know I’m not going to have a bad day when I come here. My supervisors treat me as their equal and they always accommodate me and help me work through tasks. It increases my confidence as I’m working and makes me want to do better so that I can live up to the respect that they have for me.”

~ Mahira Farhin

“Working with our new director, Andrea, is a really big perk to the job because she has many, many years of experience in the EHS field. Every interaction I have with her, every task that I go to perform with her, I learn something new. In a lot of office,  the person who is the head of the department is typically not as reachable or approachable as she is. Watching intelligent women in positions of power is really inspiring for girls like me who are just getting into our professional lives.” 

~ Mahira Farhin

I loved working with my boss because she was so kind and understanding. Under her guidance I became a better worker. She helped me flourish in the office and she set me up for success after I left by helping me develop my portfolio.

~ Anna Deng

If you are interested in a transformative and educational co-op experience involved in research safety, apply today to work at the Office of Academic and Research Safety!

As a vital component of our mission to foster a culture of safety, you will:

  • Collaborate closely with seasoned professionals who are passionate about their work.
  • Gain hands-on experience in various safety disciplines, from biosafety to lab safety and beyond.
  • Sharpen your problem-solving and communication skills.
  • See your creative ideas be valued and applied to create a safer and more secure environment..
  • Contribute to the development of cutting-edge safety protocols, engaging training materials, and effective communication strategies.

Joining our team as a co-op offers a unique opportunity to make a real impact on the safety and well-being of the academic and research community.


Rosalina Petronino interviewed participants, wrote and edited this page with assistance from OARS.