2021 Co-op Award Winners Announced

Posted on Monday, March 7th, 2022


Co-operative Education at the University of Guelph Announces the Recipients and Nominees of the 2021 Co-op Awards:

2021 Co-op Student of the Year Award Winners 

Headshot Photo of Award Winner NidaNida Ansari is the recipient of the 2021 Co-op Student of the Year in the BComm, BASc and BA category.

Nida is currently in her third year of the Psychology Co-op program and was nominated by Cyndy Moffat Forsyth, her supervisor at The Grove. According to Cyndy, “once in a career lifetime you meet a student who exceeds all expectations and performs their job as though they had twenty years of experience”. Nida demonstrated maturity, leadership, outstanding communication skills and the ability to work independently. She supervised a placement student and researched and developed a youth support training program used to prepare summer students hired to work in their three youth hub locations in Wellington County. She achieved this by strategically analyzing previous successful training modules, compiling best practices, and presenting them to a community working group of stakeholders for feedback and input. She then researched, drafted, edited, and designed 11 comprehensive models, with topics ranging from communication and active listening skills to boundary setting and mental wellness strategies. Her contribution is commemorated in an 86-page bound book that she can look back on for years to come and because of these achievements, she was invited back to complete another work term with The Grove.   


Headshot Photo of Award Winner NicNic Echakowitz is the recipient of the 2021 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. Nic is in their third year of studies in the Software Engineering Co-op program. According to nominators Michael Reed-Bennett and Sylver Kaczmarek of Evenica, Nic “demonstrated strength in technical, professional and interpersonal skills, as well as a phenomenal attitude and commitment to continuous growth.” They quickly became familiar with the new technology frameworks being used by the development team for the e-commerce site being developed and outpaced their peers in both quantity and quality of work. Nic’s exceptional work ethic, attention to detail and ability to anticipate the client’s needs contributed to the success of the project. Nic assumed a leadership role among their fellow co-op students, providing advice, guidance, and assistance. They encouraged collaboration and prompted discussion with their peers through every stage of the development process to ensure that, as a team, they delivered the highest quality work possible and ensured the success of the project for the client.


Headshot Photo of Award Winner NishaNisha Johal is the recipient of the 2021 Co-op Student of the Year in the BSc, BSc(Env) and BBRM category. Nisha, who completed her studies in the Biochemistry Co-op program in December, was nominated by Dr. Seth Parker of the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Nisha made significant progress on a research project that formed the foundation for a new direction in Dr. Parker’s lab. She demonstrated strong motivation and professionalism, an excellent work ethic, great communication skills and the ability to quickly comprehend complex topics. Nisha’s self-designed research project involved identifying the gene for mitochondrial alanine transport in pancreatic cancer cells and she developed an ambitious and detailed research plan. She also took the initiative to assist a graduate student with their project and managed her time effectively to progress both projects over the course of the work term. Nisha’s project was very successful in identifying two new amino acid transporters as potential therapeutic targets for cancer patients. Dr. Parker explains, “Nisha exceeded my expectations in every way” and as a result, she has established herself in the research community, has pending scientific journal publications and has been invited to return to Dr. Parker’s lab as a Masters student.        


Headshot Photo of Award Winner ClaytonClayton Wise is the recipient of the 2021 Co-op Student of the Year in the BEng category. Clayton is in his final year of studies in the Biomedical Engineering Co-op program and was nominated by Robert Lancefield with Cosm Medical Corp. “Clayton’s contributions in both work and staff morale have been critical to our start-up’s success, far exceeding our expectations of a co-op student”. During his time in the Cosm manufacturing lab, Clayton completed over 50 unique and critical project tasks, made recommendations to improve process and quality tracking for Health Canada and FDA approval processes, made significant contributions to the documentation of manufacturing and tracking, and implemented the updated processes in the manufacturing lab. His innovative work in the R&D department saved the company both time and money. He created the first-ever manufacturing prediction model that reduced the number of sample devices required and resulted in significantly reducing the volume of material used to make the sample devices. He completed the project more than two weeks ahead of schedule and received recognition from the CEO of the company. He also conducted new research and testing on a device under development and his collaboration in weekly meetings influenced testing plans and contributed knowledge to teammates’ projects.


Headshot photo of winner JadeJade Legare is the 2021 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. Jade is an extremely engaged student leader who has organized, promoted, and facilitated numerous networking and skill-building workshops for students to become career-ready; supported women in technology and promoted diversity in STEM. Additional contributions to the campus community include Events Manager and later, Co-president for Guelph Women in Computer Science (GWiCS). As a University of Guelph Ambassador, she shared her experiences with prospective students and their families and participated as a speaker at University recruitment events and numerous employer and student panels. Jade single-handedly started the Guelph chapter of the Google Developer Student Clubs where she has supported and coached the executive team on their journey to becoming more involved within the community and making a lasting impact as leaders in their field. Nominated by Co-op Coordinators Laura Gatto and Kate McRoberts, they sum up how Jade embodies the spirit of this award: “Like Collin, who was a natural leader and inspired others, she sets an example for other students to take risks and get outside their comfort zone to discover who they are and their place in the world.”


2021 Co-op Employer of the Year Awards:

Axonify LogoAxonify is the recipient of the 2021 National Co-op Employer of the Year Award

Axonify was nominated by Marketing Management Co-op student Emily Smith. During her work term, Emily had many opportunities for both personal and professional growth through a Young Professionals program for co-op students that included personal and career development workshops, along with access to e-learning programs; New Hire Talks presented by executives from different departments; and the Professional Growth program offering education, exposure, and experience. According to Emily, “they go above and beyond to make the company feel like a community rather than a workplace” through weekly lunch activities and bi-weekly meetings where the CEO answers questions from employees and fellow employees recognize each other for their work or accomplishments. Emily developed her skills through various projects – both within her job description and geared toward her personal interests. She had the opportunity to build email campaigns, collect metrics for search engine optimization, design web pages and ads, and was mentored to assist with additional projects. Axonify continues to be engaged in on-campus job/career fairs, the Tech Showcase and various student association events.

Envison LogoEnvisionSQ is the recipient of the 2021 Guelph Co-op Employer of the Year Award

Bachelor of Engineering Co-op students Helena Kunic, Matthew Terry and Sarah Van Heyst nominated EnvisionSQ for the exceptional opportunities they were given to develop their research, design, and communication skills while working on a wide variety of meaningful projects related to air quality and disinfectant technologies to promote global health. The students all praised EnvisionSQ for fostering a dynamic, exciting, and supportive environment where the focus of the co-op student experience is personal and professional growth. During their work terms, the students gained invaluable hands-on problem solving and teamwork experience. According to Sarah, “through these experiences I have not only had the opportunity to directly apply knowledge from class work into real life, but I have also seen how the work I do as an engineer can have a positive impact”. In addition to actively encouraging feedback and suggestions on how to improve the co-op experience within the company, the students received outstanding mentorship, applicable technical experience through project work, along with invaluable career coaching and resume advice from their supervisor at EnvisionSQ

*Every day from March 13th - 19th, we will be celebrating our 2021 Student & Employer Award recipients by sharing their stories and experiences via Instagram. Join the celebrations by following @ExpGuelph to hear the winners and their nominators share impactful stories about their work terms and the U of G co-op program.

Congratulations to all 2021 Nominees:

Co-op Student of the Year Nominess:

  • Nabeel Abu-Mahfouz, Biomedical Engineering - 4P Academy Inc., Guelph, ON
  • Huda Ameer, Biomedical Engineering - VHA Home HealthCare, Toronto, ON
  • Andrew Archer, Computer Engineering - Eclipse Automation Inc., Cambridge, ON
  • Harleen Bains, Management Economics & Finance - Intellijoint Surgical, Kitchener, ON
  • Isobel Barlow-Busch, Biochemistry - Environment & Climate Change Canada, Alert, NU
  • Madeline Baron, Biomedical Engineering - Health Sciences North Research Institute, Sudbury, ON
  • Abigail Belisle, Real Estate and Housing - Royal LePage Royal City Realty, Guelph, ON
  • Jubril Bello, Environmental Geomatics - Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, Peterborough, ON
  • Nicole Bevan, Marketing Management - Office of the Vice-Provost (Student Affairs), University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Dipto Biswas, Software Engineering - Eclectic Connoisseur, Victoria, BC
  • Dave Bos, Marketing Management - Glen Dimplex Americas, Cambridge, ON
  • Oliver Bullingham, Marine and Freshwater Biology - Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph,  Guelph, ON
  • Aleana Chao, Food Science - Guelph Food Innovation Centre, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Jocelyn Coulombe, Biological and Medical Physics - Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Chalk River, ON
  • Breanne D’Aguiar, Mechanical Engineering - Tenneco, Cambridge, ON
  • Leah Davis, Biomedical Engineering - Sonova Canada Inc., Kitchener, ON
  • Jonathan Dunford, Real Estate & Housing - Public Services and Procurement Canada, Toronto, ON
  • Chaya Edelist, Microbiology - Sanofi Pasteur Limited, Toronto, ON
  • Lilla Eperjesi, Political Science - MPP Mike Schreiner Constituency Office, Guelph, ON
  • Daniela Florea, Management Economics & Finance - Fidelity Investments Canada ULC, Toronto, ON
  • Greg French, Computer Science - Cast App Inc., Toronto, ON
  • Juliana Gignac, Psychology - St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Ryan Gilmartin, Marketing Management - Suncoat Products Inc., Guelph, ON
  • Benjamin Greaves, Management Economics and Finance - RLB LLP, Guelph, ON
  • Samuel Guilbeault, Software Engineering - CANImmunize Inc., Ottawa, ON
  • Sandra Hanna, Biomedical Engineering - Royal Canin Canada, Puslinch, ON
  • William Hawkins, Mathematical Economics - Statistics Canada, Ottawa, ON
  • Lauren Hinchcliffe, Real Estate & Housing - Coldwell Banker Neumann Real Estate, Guelph, ON
  • Yara Ibrahim, Ecology - Norris Lab, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Reesha Jagdeo, Marketing Management - Versapay Corporation, Toronto, ON
  • Lukas Kemp, Real Estate & Housing - Canacre Ltd., Toronto, ON
  • Emma Klooster, Microbiology - Sleeman Breweries Ltd., Guelph, ON
  • Caitlin Kroetsch, Food & Agricultural Business - Grain Farmers of Ontario, Guelph, ON
  • Hailey Lavoie, Environmental Engineering - Pinchin Ltd., Sault Ste. Marie, ON
  • Calista Liotta, Marketing Management - Versapay Corporation, Toronto, ON
  • Natasha Lisitsky, Environmental Engineering - Strategies for the Environment Inc., Toronto, ON
  • Steven Litt, Mechanical Engineering - Bruce Power, Tiverton, ON
  • Madeleine Ludlow, Biomedical Engineering - Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, ON
  • Sophia Matuzic, Biomedical Toxicology - Lou’s Kitchen - TMF Foods Inc., Stoney Creek, ON
  • Zion Maynard, Biomedical Engineering - Stryker Canada, Burnaby, BC
  • Matthew McArdle, Software Engineering - Magnet Forensics, Waterloo, ON
  • Elizabeth McKenna, Computer Science - City of Guelph, Environmental Services, Guelph, ON
  • Tomson McKenzie, Accounting - RLB LLP, Guelph, ON
  • Sejal Mistry, Environmental Engineering - SONAIR Environmental Inc., Vaughan,ON
  • Eric Morris, Biological Engineering - SAF-Holland Canada Ltd., Woodstock, ON
  • Jordanne Mueller, Biomedical Engineering - Stryker Canada, Waterdown, ON
  • Destinee Muir, Biomedical Engineering - Sonova Canada Inc., Kitchener, ON
  • Ameer Mushani, Software Engineering - ComPeters Inc., Guelph, ON
  • Jacquelyn Ogata-Bean, Biochemistry - Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Aaron Palmer, Management Economics & Finance - Nutrilawn Corporation, Toronto, ON
  • Bhumiben Patel, Biomedical Engineering - School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Dhairyakumar Patel, Management Economics & Finance - GWL Realty Advisors Inc., Mississauga, ON
  • Megan Pfeiffer, Marketing Management - Guelph Police Service, Guelph, ON
  • Charlotte Pickering, Marketing Management - Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville, ON
  • Liam Ramshaw, Mathematical Economics - The SheaButterMan Shoppe, Guelph, ON
  • Katelyn Roe, Biomedical Engineering - Johnson & Johnson Clinical Operations, Toronto, ON
  • Amanda Rothblott, Marketing Management - Freightzy, Guelph, ON
  • Ethan Rowan, Computer Science - First National Financial LP, Toronto, ON
  • Jonessa Sargent, Marketing Management - Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Annaliese Schropp, Computer Science - ComPeters Inc., Guelph, ON
  • Alyssa Scott, Hospitality & Tourism Management - Courtyard by Marriott Burlington, Burlington, ON
  • Simran Sekhon, Management Economics & Finance - Budgets and Resource Planning – IRP, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Dev Vipulkumar Shah, Political Science - Riverwood Landscape, Guelph, ON
  • Kierra Singh, Biomedical Engineering - School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Leila Stevens, Marketing Management - Siemens Canada Limited, Oakville, ON
  • Jeffrey Stevens, Environmental Engineering - C3 Water Inc., Breslau, ON
  • Kyler Swanson, Computer Science - Tulip, Kitchener, ON
  • Marie Tamptse, Software Engineering - Ddrops Company, Woodbridge, ON
  • Rory Wanvig, Marketing Management - Reachsight Inc., Richmond Hill, ON
  • Ethan Watt, Nanoscience - Precision Nanosystems Inc., Vancouver, BC
  • Hannah West, Marine and Freshwater Biology - Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Avery Whyte, Environmental Sciences - Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ottawa, ON
  • Graham Wilmot, Food and Agricultural Business - RLB LLP, Guelph, ON
  • Chloe Wilson, Management Economics & Finance - Office of Institutional Research and Planning, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Matthew Wright, Marketing Management - Department of Athletics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Helen Xu, Food Science - Taste of Nature Foods Inc., Markham, ON
  • Clare Zavitz, Adult Development - College of Social and Applied Human Sciences Dean’s Office, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Noah Zeidenberg, Biochemistry - Environment Canada, Burlington, ON
  • Zenghaoyu (Harry) Zhang, Computer Science - Ministry of Transportation, North York, ON

Collin Cureatz Memorial Award for Co-op Student Involvement Nominess:

  • Jinal Manek, Microbiology
  • Zion Maynard, Biomedical Engineering
  • Matthew Ng, Computer Science

Co-op Employer of the Year 2021 Nominess:

  • Bruce Power, Tiverton, ON
  • City of Guelph – Environmental Services, Guelph, ON
  • Freightzy, Guelph, ON
  • International Recruitment/Admission Services, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • Laboratory Services Division, Soil & Nutrient Team, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • MPP Mike Schreiner Constituency Office, Guelph, ON
  • Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Guelph, ON
  • Precision Nanosystems Inc., Vancouver, BC
  • Smarter Alloys, Cambridge, ON
  • SONAIR Environmental Inc., Vaughan, ON
  • Statistics Canada, Ottawa, ON
  • Taste of Nature Foods Inc., Markham, ON
  • The Grove, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario, Guelph, ON
  • Lou’s Kitchen - TMF Foods Inc., Stoney Creek, ON
  • Trudell Medical International, London, ON
  • V. Mance Manufacturing, Guelph, ON
  • VIQUA, Guelph, ON

The Experiential Learning Hub would like to acknowledge the following donors:

  • The Olive Ona Miller Foundation and the Estate of David Palmateer for their donations towards the Collin Cureatz Memorial Award for Co-op Student Involvement, along with the Cureatz family for their continued support of the award in Collin’s memory
  • Tulip for their sponsorship of the Ian Pavlinic Memorial Award for Innovation – Bachelor of Computing Co-op Student of the Year Award

And these employers who made generous donations towards the Co-op Awards Program:

  • Versapay Corporation
  • SAF-Holland Canada Ltd.
  • Taste of Nature Foods Inc.
  • Precision Nanosystems

If you are a co-op student on a work term this semester recognize your employer by submitting a nomination before April 29, 2022 for the Co-op Employer of the Year Award.

If you are an Employer of a University of Guelph co-op student on a work term this semester, we invite you to share your success story by submitting a nomination package before April 29, 2022 for the Co-op Student of The Year Award