2023 Co-op Award Winners Announced

Posted on Friday, February 9th, 2024

Co-op Awards. Celebrating 2023 Co-op Student and Employer Excellence

Co-operative Education at the University of Guelph Announces the Recipients and Nominees of the 2023 Co-op Awards 

2023 Co-op Employer of the Year Awards 

Magnet Forensics is the recipient of the 2023 National Co-op Employer of the Year Award  

Magnet Forensics logo

As a long-standing employer, Magnet Forensics provides enriching work terms for University of Guelph co-op students. Nominated by Alana Bencich, Marketing Demand Co-op Student at Magnet Forensics, Alana received exceptional feedback and mentorship throughout her work term which encouraged her to learn, achieve goals, and explore beyond her comfort zone. Through her co-op, Alana facilitated over 50 thought leadership and product webinars, supported over 125 global events, launched Magnet Virtual Summits and felt immense pride knowing that her contributions to the company have educated individuals in law enforcement and government who fight cyber-enabled crimes”. University of Guelph students are well represented at Magnet Forensics, with over 15% filling co-op positions and approximately half returning to work with the organization upon graduation. Magnet Forensics went “above and beyond my expectations as a co-op employer by fostering an environment where students are not only able to learn and work alongside our supervisors, but seek meaningful mentorship, guidance and professional development that will carry with us through critical moments during our career”. 

John F. Wood Centre is the recipient of the 2023 Guelph Co-op Employer of the Year Award 

Lang Wood Centre logo

Nominated by co-op student Emily Bulmer (Marketing and Event Communications Coordinator), Emily was given endless opportunities to explore her marketing passions and interests during her work term at the John F. Wood Centre at the University of Guelph. Her supervisors were dedicated to “fostering a nurturing and growth-oriented environment”, providing Emily the opportunity to develop her skills in social media content, designing promotional materials, and developing branding strategies for various events and programs. When Emily expressed an interest in branding strategies, the team at The John F. Wood Centre provided the resources and projects to enable Emily to “apply and enhance branding skills in a practical setting”. She owned independent projects that created meaningful contributions to the organization. With The John F. Wood Centre’s mentorship and leadership, they “cultivated an environment that encourages innovation, creativity, and a strong work ethic”. 

2023 Co-op Student of the Year Awards 

Rachelle Sengupta is the recipient of the 2023 Associate Diploma Co-op Student of the Year

Rachelle Sengupta headshot

Rachelle, a second-year Equine Care and Management Co-op student was nominated by her employers at the South Tower Animal Hospital. During her work term as a Veterinary Technician, she cultivated versatile skills while observing and assisting in surgeries, diagnostic testing, laboratory work, and case studies. Rachelle is "not afraid of challenges and carries a positive attitude when listening to feedback from her peers” and "quickly learned and adapted to the role of veterinary technician and became a highly productive member of the team in record time”. The hands-on experience Rachelle gained was invaluable to her journey to achieving her long-term goal to become a veterinarian. Her role “ranged from patient history taking and client education to sample collection and assisting with surgical procedure”. With her “enthusiastic, punctual, friendly and hard-working attitude”, Rachelle built a wonderful environment for her colleagues, clients, and animals at South Tower Animal Hospital. 

Myah Robinson is the recipient of the 2023 Co-op Student of the Year in the BComm, BASc and BA category

Myah Robinson headshot

Myah, a third-year Criminal Justice and Public Policy (CJPP) co-op student, was nominated by Marie Belanger, her supervisor at the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. In her 8 months, Myah went “above and beyond in having a positive impact on our team, our establishment, and Canadians at large”. Myah conducted research and collaborated with the Five Eyes partners, partners from the United Kingdom and the United States, to measure impacts across the Canadian cyber security education landscape. Her contributions to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security improved the levels of quality and awareness across the Canadian academic sector. Her work in the Harassment and Violence Prevent Program (HVPP) drew insight for projects that protect and prevent bystander intervention, conflict de-escalation, consent at work, and harassment and violence prevention. Myah went beyond to contribute to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security community. She joined the Women in Cyber Intelligence (WICI) affinity group community and the Young Professional Network (YPN) Steering Committee, where she facilitated and supported employee events and initiatives. Myah’s dedication and excellent work ethic have positively encouraged her entire team, and they are pleased to welcome her back as a part-time employee.  

Dipto Biswas is the recipient of the 2023 Ian Pavlinic Memorial Award for Innovation Co-op Student of the Year in Computing

Dipto Biswas headshot

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 and collaboration, and made a positive impact during their work term. Dipto, a fifth-year Bachelor of Computing, Software Engineering co-op student, has, as outlined by his supervisor, Courtney Zinn, “epitomized the spirit of this award through continuously demonstrating exceptional creativity, technical capability, and passion for experimenting with emerging technologies to develop and bring new ideas to life” at the City of Kitchener’s Digital Innovation lab. His fresh and innovative perspective has been “beneficial both within the lab and across the organization” as he worked on over 30 projects during his 8-month co-op, using Large Language Models, Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality. Dipto’s innovative solutions “greatly surpassed our expectations” as he visualized the city of Kitchener in refreshing ways and developed mobile applications to promote sustainability education among youth. Dipto created “new ways for staff and the public to engage with city information leveraging”. With his passion for continuous learning and innovative spirit, Dipto has become a leader for other students within the program. 

Caleb Fretz is the recipient of the 2023 Co-op Student of the Year in the BEng category

Caleb Fretz headshot

Caleb is in his fifth year working towards a Bachelor of Engineering in Biological Engineering co-op. He was nominated by Dr. Kurt Ristroph, his supervisor at Purdue University. When working on developing stable nanoparticle formulations of three weakly hydrophobic agrochemicals, within one week of his work term, “Caleb stepped up to lead the project on his own”. Upon completion of the project, he “could not have done a better job”. Caleb’s interest and commitment have allowed him to grow as a high-quality researcher, leader, and team player. He is “remarkably adept at designing and conducting experiments” and has become a mentor for other undergraduate students within the organization. Caleb’s initiative, leadership, and determination have made him incredibly successful in his role. Caleb echoes this belief, stating that “participating in the co-op program has been one of the best choices I have made so far in my career”. After his incredible experience at Purdue University, he plans to return as a Ph.D. student and continue research under Dr. Ristroph.  

Makayla Carter is the recipient of the 2023 Co-op Student of the Year in the BSc, BSc(Env) and BBRM category

Makayla Carter headshot

Makayla is in her fourth year of studies in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Chemistry co-op program. She was nominated by her supervisor, Bineeta Yogarajah, for her excellent contributions to Kenvue. Makayla began her co-op during a time of company transition and adapted to the changing environment at an impressive pace. Her strong oral and written communication skills supported fundamental stakeholders and the team as they changed their management process to meet globally recognized company standards to ensure that consumers consistently receive quality essential items. Her commitment to quality and safety made Makayla an excellent support during “post-market surveillance of our products through our Marketed Stability program and Annual Product Quality Review program”. Her employer notes that, “The Kenvue community depends on her tremendously to organize the workflow accordingly so that we can overcome our backlog”. Through her exceptional initiative, organization, and communication, Makayla was a "great asset to the company" as a co-op student.  

Ashley Schotsman is the 2023 recipient of the Collin Cureatz Memorial Award for Co-op Student Involvement

Ashley Schotsman headshot

This award is presented each year to a student who mirrors the outstanding qualities and talents that Collin possesses. Ashley Schotsman’s involvement at the University of Guelph has positively impacted propelled other students’ journeys. Her supervisor Brittney Ogilvie nominated Ashley for her outstanding work with the Career Peer Helper team at the University of Guelph. During her time with the peer helpers, Ashley went “above and beyond expectations”. Ashley has a unique talent for connecting and communicating with her community. She “excels at building rapport and helping co-op students, in particular, feel more at ease about the work term search process”. During her first semester as a Senior Peer Helper, Ashley played an essential role in building training resources, email templates and administrative tools to launch PrePAIR, an initiative that provides social support to job-searching students. Her involvement contributed to the success of the program, with over 130 student registrations and a 25% increase in appointment bookings. Beyond the Peer Helpers, Ashley’s dedication to Experiential Learning, the University of Guelph, and the City of Guelph has had a positive impact on people. Ashley’s volunteerism and leadership in projects such as Grove Hubs, Habitat for Humanity, Sunrise Therapeutic Riding Centre, and Guelph Humane Society have been invaluable. Her integrity and commitment to her work have built and improved communities at large. 

Congratulations to All Nominees for Co-op Employer of the Year 2023 

  • Celtrade Canada Inc. – Mississauga, ON 

  • City of Guelph – Environmental Programs – Guelph, ON 

  • City of Kitchener, Civic Innovation Lab – Kitchener, ON 

  • Equilibrium Engineering – Kentville, Nova Scotia 

  • Jarvis Technologies Group Inc. – Toronto, ON 

  • Kuwait Aid Network – Guelph, ON 

  • Laurentian Bank of Canada – Toronto, ON 

  • Malabar Ingredients – Mississauga, ON 

  • MDA Corporation – Brampton, ON 

  • Mosaic North America – Toronto, ON 

  • Pronti AI Inc. – Kitchener, ON 

  • Purdue University – Ristroph Lab – West Lafayette, Indiana, USA 

  • Recochem Inc. – Milton, ON 

  • Reunion Foods – North York, ON 

  • Reuven International – Toronto, ON 

  • Wave Insurance Brokers – Mississauga, ON 


Congratulations to All 2023 Student Nominees 

Co-op Student of the Year  

  • Sapphire Aberdeen - Biochemistry - Department of Food Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON 

  • Haifaa Abushaaban -  - Software Engineering - School of Computer Science, University of Guelph, Guelph ON 

  • Sama Al-Maamori - Biomedical Engineering – Malabar Ingredients, Mississauga, ON 

  • Graham Anderson - Marketing Management - The Westin Dublin, Dublin, Ireland 

  • Lucas Ansdell - Accounting - Melchior Management, Barrie, ON 

  • Mikayla Astroff - Wildlife Biology & Conservation - Campus Estates Animal Hospital, Guelph, ON 

  • Beth Bagi - Management - LCH Developments, Toronto, ON 

  • Corine Bateman - Food & Agricultural Business - RBC, Strathroy, ON 

  • Jane Bellefleur - Environmental Science - Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, ON 

  • Gabriel Blew - Mechanical Engineering - Recochem Inc., Milton, ON 

  • Olivia Caines - Management - Roots Marketing, Oakville, ON 

  • Signe Caswell - Environmental Engineering - LMMW Group Ltd./Equilibrium Engineering, Kentville, NS 

  • Andrea Christuraja - Accounting - BDO Canada LLP, Guelph, ON 

  • Sophie Chung-Tung - Chemistry - Malabar Ingredients, Mississauga, ON 

  • Cleo Ciciretto - Hospitality & Tourism Management - InnVest Hotels, Banff, AB 

  • Benjamin Cillis - Biological Engineering - Ontario Clean Water Agency, Tay, ON 

  • Daniela Ciuffreda - Biological & Pharmaceutical Chemistry - NSF International Canada, Guelph, ON 

  • Lianna Coelho - Management - Experiential Learning, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON 

  • Kathryn Currie - Biomedical Engineering - Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, ON 

  • Lauren Dafoe - Psychology - Guelph Police Services, Guelph, ON 

  • Abena Dankyi - Accounting - BDO Canada LLP, Guelph, ON 

  • Christian Della Penna - Marketing Management - Johnson & Johnson, Medical Technologies 

  • Curtis Del Re - Management Economics & Finance - Secure Digital Markets, Toronto, ON 

  • Dean DiFiore - Mechanical Engineering - Polar Racking Inc., Mississauga, ON 

  • Mattigan Dillabough - Environmental Engineering - Civica Infrastructure Inc., Vaughan, ON 

  • Adrianna Dingle - Biochemistry - Aurora Cannabis, Bradford, ON 

  • Adam Duggan - Management - Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, Guelph, ON 

  • Sequoia Elson - Environmental Science - Nachurs Alpine Solutions, New Hamburg, ON 

  • Andrew Estrela - Sport & Event Management - Oakville Soccer Club, Oakville, ON 

  • Molly Farquhar - Environmental Science - Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON  

  • Moira Forster - Psychology - The Live Work Well Research Centre, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON 

  • Paula Frigo - Marketing Management - Laurentian Bank, Toronto, ON 

  • Claire Gauvin - Accounting - Graham Mathew Professional Corporation, Cambridge, ON  

  • Genevieve Grigg - Biomedical Engineering - Conestoga Meats, Breslau, ON 

  • Melanie Haslam - Marketing Management - E3 Community Services Inc., Collingwood, ON 

  • Verina Habib - Biomedical Toxicology - Pharmasave - Lisgar Pharmacy, Mississauga, ON 

  • Paige Hogan - Criminal Justice & Public Policy - East Wellington Community Services, Erin, ON 

  • Lucas Jarrett - Software Engineering - AG Energy, Guelph, ON 

  • Ali Riayde Jawad - Software Engineering - Norgen Biotek Corp., Thorold, ON 

  • Julia Kee - Real Estate & Housing - Kaneff Group, Brampton, ON 

  • Myron Ladyjenko - Software Engineering - NCR Voyix Canada, Waterloo, ON 

  • Anthony Lam - Biomedical Toxicology - PerkinElmer Scientific Canada ULC, Woodbridge, ON 

  • Tia Yun Fat Jeffrey Ronan Chay Loong - Software Engineering - EllisDon, Mississauga, ON 

  • Aarthi Manohar - Environmental Sciences - Environment and Climate Change Canada - Emerging Priorities Division, Gatineau, QC 

  • Keira Martinson - Environmental & Resource Management - City of Guelph - Compliance and Performance, Guelph, ON 

  • Abrienna Mills - Molecular Biology & Genetics Co-op - Maple Lodge Farms Ltd., Brampton, ON 

  • Madeline Miller-Gouk - Management - Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, Guelph, ON 

  • Eric Morse - Software Engineering - Linamar Corporation, Guelph, ON 

  • Zachariah Muhn - Management Economics & Finance - Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto, ON 

  • Priyamvada Nagar - Psychology - Manulife, Waterloo, ON 

  • Roan Orbaum Wise - Marketing Management - Dels Pastry Ltd., Etobicoke, ON 

  • Devon Plaskett - Management - Kaneff Group, Brampton, ON 

  • Alexis Polera - Marketing Management - Techtronic Industries Inc., Toronto, ON 

  • Rhiana Quarrington-Craig - Engineering Systems & Computing - Proax Technologies, Mississauga, ON 

  • Antara Rajadhyksha - Marketing Management - Kal-Polymers, Mississauga, ON 

  • Shania Ratra - Computer Engineering - Google, Waterloo, ON 

  • Corinne Ruthenberg - Water Resources Engineering – GHD, Mississauga, ON 

  • Connor Schulz - Software Engineering - System 1, Bellevue, WA 

  • Mathilda Smith - Political Science - Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Toronto, ON 

  • Maggie Truong - Biochemistry - Activation Laboratories Ltd., Ancaster, ON 

  • Sage Van Kooten - Biomedical Engineering - Schaffler Aerospace Inc., Stratford, ON  

  • Druhin Vats - Justice & Legal Studies - De Lage Landen Group, Burlington, ON 

  • Amelia Vlashi - Psychology - Dr. John W. Lee Psychological Consulting, Toronto, ON 

  • Hudson Watts - Computer Engineering - Wolverine Manufacturing Ltd., Sarina, ON 

  • Elizabeth Wildeboer - Molecular Biology & Genetics - STEMCELL Technologies, Vancouver, BC 

  • Connor Woodroffe - Computer Science - City of Mississauga, Mississauga, ON 

  • Ally Zaheer - Environmental Engineering - MAGNA Engineering, Calgary, AB 

Collin Cureatz Memorial Award for Co-op Student Involvement 

  • Rachita Gaur, Bachelor of Science Honours Food Science Co-op 

  • Caroline Vanessa Tiensa, Bachelor of Science Honours Food Science Co-op 


All student and employer winners will be celebrated at the Co-op Awards reception in March. 


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

  • 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:

  • Wolverine Manufacturing 

  • Maple Lodge Hatcheries