2019 Co-op Award Winners Announced

Posted on Thursday, February 13th, 2020

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 5th, 2020, at Cutten Fields.  

The Co-op Student of the Year award recognizes excellence in a wide variety of student achievements including job and academic performance, contributions to their employer, to Co-operative Education, and to the community at large. This year there were a total of 68 student nominations.


Alison Darling is the recipient of the 2019 Co-op Student of the Year in Commerce, Applied Science and Arts. 

Alison is currently in her third year of the Psychology Co-op program and was nominated by Ciara Fragomeno, her supervisor at St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph. “Alison is an incredibly motivated individual who reliably uses her skills and nature to not only perform above our expected standards, but also to improve staff and client morale. She completes all duties with grace and perseverance and actively seeks out opportunities for personal growth”. During her time as a Junior Programmer at St. Joseph’s, Alison unfailingly provided clients with meaningful engagement and interaction and her strong communications skills proved to be very beneficial to the team dynamic and client strategy planning. She confidently led and supported practicum students and other staff when she observed them struggling with a client and her achievements have redefined the standards of co-op student performance potential at St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph. 


Shannon Fenwick is the recipient of the 2019 Co-op Student of the Year in Engineering. 

Shannon is in her final year of studies in the Biomedical Engineering Co-op program and was nominated by Susan Van Gorder with Siemens Canada, Ltd. “Shannon is a well-rounded employee through not only the focus and achievement in her core job but also supporting the social committee and employee engagement activities”. Over eight months, Shannon assisted with operational excellence reporting, Quality Culture initiative communication, document controlprocess improvement and various continuous improvement projects. She worked on a regional Cost Out initiative driving documentation and validation of cost out projects resulting in over 5M Euro in reported savings. Shannon conducted analysis and developed reporting packages for Executive Management; developed On Time Delivery reporting for the largest key client in Canada and identified process deficiencies in data collection and documentation and presented a corrective action that improved the on-time delivery metrics for client specific reporting by 10%. She created regional communications to drive Quality Culture initiatives; supported onsite field service Project Managers with the development of Inspection and Test Plans and enhanced the document control aspects of over 2200 Engineering Inspection record sheets.   

Morgan McLellan is the recipient of the 2019 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. Morgan is in her final semester of studies in the Software Engineering Co-op program. According to her nominator Kumanan Gopalasamy of Magnet Forensics, “Morgan is always willing to learn and improve our current team process. She has been a huge influence on a lot of our testing automation and has great knowledge into our automation and is continuously finding ways to improve it. She actively participates in team meetings where it is often forgotten that she is a co-op student and not a full time Tester who has been with us for years”. During her work terms with Magnet, Morgan had several tactical and strategical responsibilities; she displayed a positive attitude, demonstrated autonomy in her decision making and had a strong influence on the team dynamics. She was hand picked to travel to the Ottawa office to assist with the training of a new Tester and she represented Magnet at external events, including speaking with numerous high school students and their parents about her experiences in high tech. 


Megan Farkas is the recipient of the 2019 Co-op Student of the Year in Biological, Physical and Environmental Science.

Megan, who is in her fourth year of studies in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Chemistry Co-op program, was nominated by Diane Poulin of Johnson & Johnson where she was a Technical Writer in the Manufacturing Science and Technology and Research and Development departments. Megan wrote protocols and reports for process and method development, validation activities and stability studies; she assisted formulators in the production areas with sampling and testing; and she was assigned a high-profile global project where she independently managed all documents related to the project, a task never before assigned to a student. “She managed this with professionalism, independence and proficiency. The magnitude of this project and the way Megan has risen to the challenge, truly stands out in her performance”. She was the sole technical writer for a cost improvement project that resulted in a $12,000 savings for the company, and was assigned the role of scribe for an auditor, another role that had previously never been given to a student, where she efficiently assisted in executing a very successful audit. Megan also volunteered with various J&J groups and events including Meals on Wheels, Mental Health Day, Take Your Kids to Work Day, and the Heart and Stroke Big Bike event.   

Matthew Bebis is the recipient of the Collin Cureatz Memorial Award for Co-op Student Involvement.

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. 

This award is presented each year to a student who mirrors the outstanding qualities and  talents that Collin possessed. Matt, a Software Engineering Co-op student, has significantly contributed to the University of Guelph through his involvement as a Career Services Peer Helper where he enthusiastically provides his fellow Co-op students one-to-one support and represents the Co-op program to employers and prospective students at events such as Fall Preview Day, Tech Meet and Greet and information panels. He volunteered for several resume blitzes where he helped promote Experiential Learning Hub services to new students and he developed resources that are used by Peer Helpers and the Career Advising team to support student job search and networking skills. Nominated by Brittney McManus, Coordinator, Student Programs and Laura Gatto, Co-op Coordinator, Matt “fosters a sense of community and is a fabulous mentor to new Peer Helpers” and “demonstrates excellent leadership and interpersonal skills” in all of his interactions with fellow students and staff.

ecobee is the recipient of the 2019 National Co-op Employer of the Year Award.

Software Engineering Co-op Student, Ori Talmor, nominated ecobee for their dedication towards fostering Co-op student knowledge and individual growth. As a Site Reliability Engineer, Ori became the subject matter expert in everything related to his role and was given the opportunity to work with multiple teams on various projects with relevant and interesting tasks. A mentor provided guidance and was instrumental in supporting his learning.  He attended a conference to further develop his work-related skills and grow his network of like-minded peers.  During the term, Ori worked on new cloud software as it was being released and was able to “learn so much in the field of networking and cloud architecture that I don’t think I would have ever learned in school”. This is a testament to the way ecobee views its co-op students as vital members of the company and their supportive nature to empower the younger generation with the tools to succeed.  





McLaughlin Library, University of Guelph is the recipient of the 2019 Guelph Co-op Employer of the Year Award

Since 2013, the McLaughlin Library at the University of Guelph has provided 22 Co-op work terms where co-op students have experienced excellent training, supervision and mentorship. Nominated by Marketing Management Co-op student Rebecca Pottage, Emily Jones, Manager, Communications at the Library “advocates for our personal, academic and career development to ensure that we are getting the experience we want out of the position”. During her work term, Rebecca was challenged to become a better writer, creator and employee and was given concrete work experience, applicable to the fields of communication and marketing. Rebecca worked independently and autonomously on social media content development and analytics as well as numerous website articles. She was involved in several committees, allowing her the opportunity to work with many different people and providing a well-rounded picture of the overall function of the McLaughlin Library.      

Congratulations to all of the 2019 Co-op Award winners and nominees.