Achieving Dreams: Meet Katherine Donovan

From the beginning of her studies, Katherine Donovan has always wanted to work for one of Canada’s ‘Big Four’ accounting firms. With Cape Breton University’s co-op program, she was able to make this dream a reality. Katherine is from Sydney and is completing her fourth year in the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program majoring in accounting. 

Katherine began her undergraduate studies at St.FX but transferred to CBU after one year. “The right move for me was to come home and attend university here in Cape Breton,” she shares. “I find myself more dedicated to my studies when I’m home with my family.” Katherine’s mom is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) who has always been there to help and offer advice. 

Other helping hands in Katherine’s studies are her professors. Katherine appreciates all of her professors but says Kaitlyn Mesics and John MacKinnon stand out to her. “I am one who does not shy away from extra help,” Katherine shares. “From late-night emails to Microsoft Teams meetings, they want to help you and see you succeed.” Katherine also thanks her Student Placement Officer in the co-op program, for her continued support.

Through the co-op program, Katherine has completed three work terms at Hunston Kachafanas CPA Firm. “I was responsible for bookkeeping, personal and corporate tax returns, notice to reader engagements, review engagements and assisting with audit engagements,” she shares. “I also assisted in creating content for the firm’s social media page.”

For Katherine, these work terms have provided countless benefits. “Looking back, my life would not be the same without the co-op program,” says Katherine. “The learning experience is something you can’t get from a textbook; co-op gives you the chance to be hands-on in the profession.” 

Katherine says it’s thanks to the co-op program that her resume was strong enough to accept a seat in the Graduates Diploma in Professional Accounting program at the University of Toronto. After this, Katherine will relocate to Halifax where she has landed a position at the Ernst & Young Firm, one of her original ‘Big Four’ accounting firms.

Katherine encourages all students to consider the co-op program at CBU. “When applying for post-graduate jobs, employers are looking for experience, which can be hard to achieve as a university student,” says Katherine. “The experience I have taken from my co-op program is priceless.” 

To learn more about CBU’s co-op program, visit