Change Lab Testimonials

Learn what past participants had to say about Change Lab!

How would you describe Change Lab?

“Civic Innovation Change Lab has been the highlight of my academic career. If you are coming from a place like me, uncertain if this program is right for you due to a lack of Business/Entrepreneurial background, please believe me when I say that you will find your place here. On top of making really great connections with my fellow cohort members, I am most grateful for the mentorship that happens in this program because my growth would not have been possible without engaging with other community leaders, social innovators and change-makers that genuinely want you to succeed. If you are open-minded and ready to be challenged to deepen your understanding on important topics that shape our surroundings, I highly recommend that you make time in your semester to incorporate Change Lab before you graduate- you will not regret it!”

Maria Belen, BA Health Sciences, Minor in Counselling and Human Development, Civic Innovation Change Lab Spring 2021

“I came into Health Change Lab with hopes of an amazing semester-long experience that would allow me to create positive change in the City of Surrey. Instead, I left with a completely transformed outlook on what it means to tackle complex community issues with equity in mind. From 6-hour zoom classes and all-night-turned-morning presentation prep to countless aha moments and much laughter, this experience was truly unforgettable. However, out of everything that I will carry with me out of the experience, one reflection stands out. As much as change-making is about creating impactful solutions in the community, it is equally about a transformation within yourself and a continuous learning journey. Impact work is hard and humbling work. I am leaving Health Change Lab with more questions to answer than I had coming in, and I think that is absolutely beautiful.”

-Emily Lam, Health Sciences Student, Health Change Lab Fall 2020

“Change Lab gives you a skill set that is very applicable to a variety of situations. For example, building a certain level of business acumen, expanding your perspectives, and understanding how to work well within a group dynamic. It’s much more fun than sitting in a classroom, and it opens your eyes up to a lot of cool projects that are happening in Vancouver. It’s a ton of work, prepare to work hard, but you’ll get a lot out of the experience.”

-Sarah Smith, Criminology Student, Civic Innovation Change Lab 2018​

“Change lab changed my perspective on what business could be. It gave me a ton of different insights from different viewpoints and ideas that I would never have considered. Ultimately, my outlook on business comes from Change Lab, and that was the greatest takeaway for me. Getting the opportunity to connect with industry leaders, community mentors, and people who are doing incredible work will really set you up with a foundation for success if you want to pursue anything in this line of work.”

-Cody de Leijer, Business Student, Health Change Lab 2017

“It’s unlike anything else you’ll experience in your degree. You get to use your SIAT skills and apply them to real-world problems, and it’s just a lot of fun! You become very close with your group, and you leave feeling very accomplished with what you’ve done.”

-Jesika Kula, SIAT Student, Health Change Lab

“I think everyone should take a course like Change Lab. You learn such a different skill set in comparison to learning in a lecture or seminar setting. You learn to engage and problem solve in a different way. It’s not just about addressing a health or a civic issue, but rather learning how to engage in a real-life scenario.”

-Benta Cheng, Health Sciences Student, Health Change Lab 2017

What were the most valuable things you experienced during Change Lab?

“I loved coming out of it with a community and creating a network with interdisciplinary peers and mentors. I loved the project aspect of it and working with people outside my degree. Learning about design thinking and about business models completely transformed the way that I approached my career in health science…”

-Benta Cheng, Health Sciences Student, Health Change Lab 2017

“…I know that design thinking and rapid prototyping are not things you get to learn outside of SIAT. Most courses require you to write a paper, but you’re not able to test your idea. That’s why I found this application-based method to be useful. Not only can you ideate, but you can actually produce a prototype and test it. Those skills are so useful! I use those skills currently even after graduating. I would not be able to things like developing an app, a website, and a blog with other friends without having learned those concepts. So much has come out of that experience, it’s hard for me to express my gratitude for that course. This isn’t even about learning about Health Science, it’s really learning about how to be a self-starter.”

“My experience in Change Lab was very different from the rest of my undergrad and traditional lecture-style courses. In Change Lab, it was much more of a two-way conversation – often very interdisciplinary and collaborative. The instructors were excited when we brainstormed ideas and were always willing to engage in discussion about complex topics.”

-Leah Karlberg, UBC Urban Planning Student, Civic Innovation Change Lab 2019

“Critical thinking and interdisciplinary group learning. It was really interesting to have people with a variety of perspectives to challenge each other’s thoughts. I think having those kinds of challenging discussions are really beneficial for personal, academic, and professional growth.”

-Sarah Smith, Criminology Student, Civic Innovation Change Lab 2018​

“Learning about design thinking, gaining the confidence to get things started, being able to talk to various stakeholders, and cold messaging. Discovering that you have the power to make real change! Not only do you get access to a network, but you gain access to resources and mentorship during this hands-on experience. It provides you with a risk-free framework to try new things. In Change Lab you can take risks, try something new, and not be penalized financially for it.”

-Michael Le, Business Student, Health Change Lab 2019

“Change Lab made my degree richer. It allowed me to use my SIAT skills in ways that felt like I was making a tangible impact. Of all the entrepreneurship classes, it is unparalleled in terms of collaboration. Because it’s so intensive, you really get a chance to put your collaboration skills to the test and really gain valuable insight through working with people from other faculties and other perspectives. These are really valuable skills that you don’t really learn until much later, if at all. In Change Lab, you get to be part of this wonderful collaborative place where you’re working together and you have a lot of interdisciplinary people helping you achieve your goal.”

-Jesika Kula, SIAT Student, Health Change Lab 2017

“Exposure to this large network of people in the social enterprise/innovation space and mentorship opportunities were really valuable – the instructors were such good mentors. Enhancing skills in Change Lab went beyond the more traditional improvement of written communication skills. What I learned to like about Change Lab, was that it went beyond academic skill-building through to personal growth. The emphasis on personal growth during the program was really important because I feel like many projects lack empathy – especially ones that tout sustainability or community-focus. The fact that they were honing large aspects of that was really important to me. It was such a great experience! I made so many friends and became close with so many of my classmates throughout the semester. I still meet up with my group every now and again two years later.“

-Katrina Jang, Health Science Student, Health Change Lab 2017

What are you doing now? Did Change Lab have a direct or indirect role in helping you achieve your current position?

“I’ve graduated now and am currently working in urban planning for local government. When I participated in Civic Innovation Change Lab, I actually met the person who is now my boss at the Hubbub event! I think that’s the great thing about programs like Change Lab – they invite people like that, people who are working in civic engagement. I also think he was impressed by the calibre of work we were doing.”

-Leah Karlberg, UBC Urban Planning Student, Civic Innovation Change Lab 2019

“I work in research now and Health Change Lab taught me how to interview people – which greatly benefits me in my work right now. The program also helped propel me to where I am in my career now. I’m starting occupational therapy school this year and I talked about my experience during Health Change Lab in my applications for grad school. I talked a lot about interdisciplinary team work, as those are really big things in my field of interest. They must’ve liked my responses because I got in!”

-Katrina Jang, Health Science Student, Health Change Lab 2017

“My current position is Manager of Partnerships at Enactus. Having Change lab on my resume really helped me apply for positions because I was able to talk about my experience in actually starting a business venture. Even if that venture didn’t work out, I still went through a 13-week process of building one out, and I was able to talk about that in my interview.”

-Cody de Leijer, Business Student, Health Change Lab 2017

“After participating in Change Lab, I discovered the Charles Chang Certificate for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Luckily, all the Health Change Lab courses filled most of the certificate. So by that point, I was only 4 courses away from getting another certificate! I wanted to pursue the qualification because I get a little extra something out of it in addition to my SIAT degree. The Change Lab program set me on the course towards social entrepreneurship and learning how I can use that for my future career, which has so far led me to the Chang Institute. I now work for the Change Institute as Communications Champion, and I probably wouldn’t have found out about any of this until much later in my degree.”

-Jesika Kula, SIAT Student, Health Change Lab 2017


If you have further questions about Civic Innovation Change Lab, please send them to, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.