Jan. 7, 2022

Garmin wearable technology internship fuels passion for helping others stay active

Kinesiology student encourages peers to broaden their horizons on work experience practicums
Josh Ballarin
Josh Ballarin

When Josh Ballarin started his studies in the Faculty of Kinesiology, he saw an internship posting at wearable technology giant, Garmin. Ballarin was a first-year student at that time and confessed he didn’t have the experience to apply. But he vowed he would apply if the opportunity presented itself again, and it did. Four years later, he applied and was accepted into his dream internship.

“Everything fell into place, I’m grateful for that,” says Ballarin, who started the Garmin internship in fall 2021. He has a longtime passion for technology and has been a lifelong promoter of healthy living.

“I want to help people going through a rough time. I like to help people after injury and thought Garmin would be the right fit as the company wants their clients to achieve their fitness goals,” he says, noting he has ideas and values similar to the company.

His work at Garmin and volunteering in physio clinics in high school and university in the summers inspired one of his final papers: Using tech in post-recovery plan and how individuals improve their life after injury. 

“The evidence is there for what you can do with technology. The way the technology is going these days, who knows what the next five to 10 years will bring.” Right now, he is applying to enter a physical therapy degree program, where he hopes to use technology as a tool to advance his profession.

Initial worries

Ballarin had some initial hesitation about the timing of the internship. He wanted to graduate with his friends but was worried the placement would hold him back. It took some juggling with his schedule, but it was worth it.

“The kinesiology advisers were great. I went to them when I learned I had the job. We sorted it out,” he says. He even took one course while working at Garmin and, in the upcoming winter term, he will take six courses.

“Everything went well on the grand scheme, and I am on track to graduate in June and I’m excited to do so,” says Ballarin. “What the heck — ­I got great work experience and graduated on time­ — there is nothing better in my eyes.”

Work experience is key

At Garmin, Ballarin works with technology with the focus on wearable technologies such as smart watches. He helps with new test projects, setting up what is needed to do the test and then helping analyze data. With a 40-hour work week, Ballarin has learned a lot about the company, gained technical skills, and learned work and life balance. 

The Garmin program supports second-, third- and fourth-year students in mechanical, software, and electrical engineering, as well as computer science and kinesiology programs.

“Students are given real problems to work on and valued just as much as full-time associates,” says Katie Littlewood, who works in Human Resources at Garmin. “On average we can have around 30 students working with Garmin at any given time. Garmin Canada takes pride in giving students real-world experience, which will help them through the remainder of their studies and in their future careers.” 

Ballarin says he encourages students to take practicums and internships. “As long you are in the workforce, in the field, doing what you love while you are studying, I think that is super important. I think every kinesiology student should look into doing one,” he says.

“I feel confident where my career is going after my degree and I recommend this internship to students that I talk to.”

The Faculty of Kinesiology is the No. 1 ranked sport science school in North America and No. 10 globally.