2018 Co-op Award Winners Announced

Posted on Friday, February 8th, 2019

Each year, Co-operative Education at the University of Guelph recognizes the success of Co-op Students and Employers with seven different awards. These awards will be presented at the Co-op Awards reception to be held on Thursday March 7, 2019, from 4-6pm at Cutten Fields.  

Michelle Duong receiving award from employer

Michelle Duong is the recipient of the 2018 Co-op Student of the Year in Commerce, Applied Science and Arts. Michelle is currently in her final year of the Marketing Management Co-op program and was nominated by Shelley Mohamed of RBC. “Michelle brings energy, knowledge and a great work ethic to the team and has been able to deliver over 35 assignments. She is a fantastic ambassador for RBC Innovation and an absolutely shining example of the Co-op program at Guelph”.  During her time at RBC, supporting the Innovation team, Michelle leveraged her marketing skills to drive awareness and branding for the team, and was a key resource for the Agile symposium; designing the space, working with vendors and coordinating the team’s role at the event. Michelle was also highly involved with extra activities, including her role as a dedicated Student Partner, writing articles and speaking at the March Break Technology Camp, co-leading at the Best of TechTO booth and presenting at the Enterprise Architectures Town Hall Information Session. 

Adesh Kadambi is the recipient of the 2018 Co-op Student of the Year in Engineering. Adesh is in his final year of studies in the Biomedical Engineering program and was nominated by Senan Ebrahim and Dr. Sydney Cash with the Massachusetts General Hospital. Over eight months, Adesh conducted research on mesh electrodes where he significantly improved the methodology for the implant surgical procedure and taught other researchers his technique; he led all aspects of a nano-scale drug delivery project including designing experiments, analyzing data, and presenting the results; and conducted analysis of circadian timing of seizures in epileptic model organisms. He initiated and led a collaborative project with a lab in Brazil, spending a week in the country to lead a methodological exchange. “Adesh has defied our expectations of performance for an undergraduate researcher”, and as a testament to his exceptional ability as the first undergraduate ever invited to work in the lab, the employer has since updated their lab policy to now consider employing other undergraduate co-op students.

Keefer Rourke is the recipient of the 2018 Ian Pavlinic Memorial Award for Innovation Co-op Student of the Year in Computing. This award, established in 2018 by Tulip in honour and remembrance of exemplary Co-op student Ian Pavlinic, recognizes a Co-op student in the School of Computer Science who has demonstrated innovation, collaboration, and made a positive impact during their work term. Keefer is in his third year of studies in the Computer Science program. According to his nominators Dr. Jason Ernst and Rachel Cheng of Left Inc., “Keefer has made significant contributions to the project, our development process and improved our code base.” Using his passion for privacy and security, he helped establish a task force and formulated efforts to improve security throughout the different systems; he took on the final leg of separating the codebase by platform, enabling the team to scale and develop on multiple platforms faster; and he reviewed and wrote supporting materials towards a grant proposal that was awarded $2.13M. During his time at Left Inc., Keefer made an impact by enabling collaboration, encouraging best practices through security and documentation, and set up efficiency through automation. Keefer also volunteered with the Local Beach Clean Up in support of Left’s commitment to community engagement.

Stephanie Wong is the recipient of the 2018 Co-op Student of the Year in Biological, Physical and Environmental Science. Stephanie, who is finishing up her studies in the Food Science Co-op program, was nominated by Jonathan Aleong of Puratos Canada Inc. where she was a member of the R&D team. “She has far exceeded our performance expectations as a Co-op student and made numerous significant contributions to our team and company as a whole”. Stephanie assisted with numerous projects, including helping the company win new business and maintain current customers, and over the span of 8 months was responsible for the planning, execution, and approval of 15 reformulations of products via sensory panel. Following this, she conducted multiple presentations to provide learnings and other useful information regarding specific raw material replacements. During a temporary vacancy, she stepped in to learn a new role to keep the sample department functioning, then independently planned and executed a thorough training and on-boarding process for the new hire.

The Collin Cureatz Memorial Award recognizes a co-op student who has contributed to the betterment of the University of Guelph co-op program or to co-op student life during 2018. Established in 1999, the award was renamed in 2008 in honour and remembrance of exemplary co-op student Collin Cureatz. During his years at Guelph, Collin achieved excellent marks, was an outstanding co-op student, an enthusiastic Peer Helper and a dedicated volunteer within the community. This award is presented each year to a student who mirrors the outstanding qualities and talents that Collin possessed. 

Madeline Gabriel is the recipient of the Collin Cureatz Memorial Award for Co-op Student Involvement. This award is presented each year to a student who mirrors the outstanding qualities and talents that Collin possessed. Madeline has significantly contributed to the University of Guelph through her involvement as a Peer Helper in Learning Services, a Note Taker for Student Accessibility Services, and her participation in University recruitment events, Tech Community Meet Ups and Conferences. She helped put U of G Computing on the map within the Tech Industry through her successes in numerous Hackathons. Madeline regularly volunteers her time to run activities that promote women and girls in computing, including Code Girl, a program that teaches young girls to code. She is the founder and Co-President of GWiCS – Guelph Women in Computer Science and was the main event planner for a Women in Development panel and Year End Celebration for the Club. Madeline excels both academically and in the workplace during her work terms, as evidenced by her nomination for the 2018 Co-op Student of the Year Award. She was nominated for this award by Laura Gatto, Co-op Coordinator and Luiza Antonie, Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science.

Canadian Wildlife Services (CWS) – Environment and Climate Change Canada is the recipient of the 2018 National Co-op Employer of the Year Award 
Computer Science Co-op Student, Brandon Edwards, nominated The Canadian Wildlife Services division, under the leadership of Dr. Adam Smith, for the efforts they took in supporting Brandon’s interest in pursuing ornithology. In addition to being tasked with model testing using a 6 million entry data set, Dr. Smith and the leadership team at CWS trusted Brandon to undertake and lead an additional project that the division will use in the future to help with statistical analysis of breeding bird survey data. In his nomination letter, Brandon explains how “they trusted me enough to develop an R package from scratch, to pitch the idea to fellow CWS employees, and to co-lead a meeting with the United States Geological Survey”. As a result, Brandon and Dr. Smith are co-authoring 2 scientific papers based on his work, one of which Brandon will be the lead author. Brandon’s work term at CWS greatly shaped both his undergraduate coursework trajectory, along with his future career path, and represents the unique opportunities that can arise from such a highly supportive employer and a thoughtful, integrated learning environment.  

Linamar Corporation is the recipient of the 2018 Guelph Co-op Employer of the Year Award
Employing close to 50 Co-op students each year from a variety of programs and year levels, Linamar Corporation has been an outstanding supporter of the University of Guelph’s Co-op program and their employees have been involved in numerous on-campus initiatives, including conferences, job fairs and student-run events. Nominated by Engineering Systems & Computing Co-op student Mitchell Kent, Larry Walsh and his team at the Linamar Innovation Hub provided Mitchell with the opportunity to develop skills in machine design, automation, and control systems while working on a project to develop and launch an automated monitoring system for the factory floor. Mitchell was welcomed into the dynamic, inquisitive team, led by Larry, where he received mentoring on his technical expertise and leadership skills.  The experience allowed Mitchell to learn and grow on both a personal and a professional level.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees. See a full list of student and employer nominees on this page

For more information about the co-op awards, please visit the Co-op Awards page