By: Namish Modi (he/him)

Welcoming Ukrainian refugees, supporting out-of-this-world discoveries and creating more equitable research practices.  These are a few of the many accomplishments made by the 2022 Co-op Students of the Year.

Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) announced the award winners in a hybrid in-person and virtual ceremony on March 9, 2023.

Each year, CEE presents one student from each of Waterloo’s six faculties with a Co-op Student of the Year award for exceptional contributions to their employers.

Two of the Co-op Student of the Year award winners were also recognized on the national and provincial stage.

Jennifer Tsai, Co-op Student of the Year for the Faculty of Engineering, had an outstanding work term working in brain memory research at the University of British Columbia’s Cembrowski Lab. Tsai is also the 2022 winner of the Experiential & Work-Integrated Learning Ontario (EWO) Co-op Student of the Year Award.

Isaac Cheng, Co-op Student of the Year award winner for the Faculty of Science, played a monumental role in the development of the CASTOR telescope at the Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre, which is part of the National Research Council of Canada.

Cheng is also the 2022 winner of the Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada Student of the Year Award. He is also an honourable mention for the 2022 EWO Award.

These exceptional individuals have demonstrated their readiness to enter an evolving workforce. I look forward to seeing how they represent the University post-graduation.


2022 Co-op Students of the Year

  • Jeremy Ernest, Faculty of Arts
  • Jennifer Tsai, Faculty of Engineering
  • Breanna DeFreitas, Faculty of Environment
  • Rachel Almaw, Faculty of
  • Health Alex Zhu, Faculty of Mathematics
  • Isaac Cheng, Faculty of Science

In recognition of the 65th anniversary of Co-operative Education at Waterloo, CEE recognized one student for their exemplary performance during an international co-op term:

Andrew Ding, Faculty of Environment

“I’d like to formally congratulate these outstanding students for their incredible achievements in 2022,” says Ross Johnston, director of Co-operative Education.

Meet the Recipients - 2022 Co-op student of the year

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