2015 winners

Vinita Dhir

Science and Business - Biology, Faculty of ScienceVinita Dhir

Employer: St. Michael’s Hospital

  • Handled clinical trials and initiating research studies as an oncology research assistant and bone metastases project manager.
  • Conducted a self-directed research study and continues to oversee this project and data even when not at St. Michael's.
  • Took the lead when conducting investigative studies by submitting proposals to the research board, collecting patient data, and ensuring patient satisfaction.
  • Wrote a patient navigation book, which is given to each new outgoing patient, providing information about surgery options, support resources and more.
  • Educates high school students on the benefits of co-op by giving presentations and speaking with students one-on-one about her experiences.

"Co-op gave me the experience, skills, and knowledge I needed for my future. It has allowed me to make valuable connections in my field and given me the competitive advantage of having hands-on experience and knowledge in my field of study."

- Vinita Dhir

Jordan GrantJordan Grant

Management Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Employer: Deloitte 

  • Worked as an Innovation Analyst with Deloitte where he developed the Deloitte Tech Exchange (DTEX) which promotes student innovation and creativity.
  • DTEX is an event developed to give students access to technology they would not be able to otherwise afford, while allowing them the opportunity to experience all parts of the design process. Students are given eight weeks to create a project with the technology. Jordan created the program under the idea that Waterloo students like to solve problems and they should be given the opportunity to do so with proper support and equipment.
  • Deloitte and the University of Waterloo have partnered together to host DTEX for a second time in fall 2016, where they aim to engage more students across campus and have a more interactive event with talks and workshops.
  • Jordan continues to volunteer his time with Deloitte, making sure that DTEX reaches his original vision.

"My first week at Deloitte, I was challenged to create something by the National Innovation Leader. It really inspired me to think about what I wanted from my co-op term and use my creativity. This experience taught me a lot, like how to be assertive, communicate professionally, and coordinate with multiple stakeholders on a project. It was the best way for me to learn."

- Jordan Grant

Andrew MacDonald

Geography and Environmental Management, Faculty of EnvironmentAndrew MacDonald

Employer: Pinery Provincial Park

  • Developed and delivered educational programs to the public that ensured engagement across all age groups as a Natural Heritage Educator with Pinery Provincial Park.
  • Developed an economical way to create an interactive app for the park. The Explore Pinery app engages visitors by promoting park amenities, giving them the chance to track and observe the different wildlife and natural beauty of the park. By providing tips on how to avoid poison ivy and other dangers around the park, and having easy access to the emergency contact information in the app, it helps improve customer safety.
  • Led biological surveys of the park, tracking species at risk and impact had on the environment.
  • Volunteers as a camp counselor with Scouts Canada for a week every summer, where underprivileged children get to attend camp. He helps with the planning of activities, meals and running of the camp.
  • Awarded an Honourable Mention for the 2015 Canadian Association for Co-operative Education Co-op Student of the Year Award.

"I have had a phenomenal co-op experience that has opened up a world of opportunity for me. These experiences have made me one hundred percent sure of the career direction I am going to take, and has given me a huge head start within the industry."

- Andrew MacDonald

Rachel McDonaldRachel McDonald

Health Studies, Faculty of Health

Employer: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

  • 2015 winner of the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education and Education at Work Ontario Co-op Student of the Year Awards.
  • Worked as a Clinical Research Assistant at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for each of her co-op terms since winter 2014, managing daily clinic activities.
  • Coordinated the rapid response radiotherapy program which provides palliative radiation treatment to advanced cancer patients, collected research data, and led research projects.
  • Published work on the use of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for non-spine bone metastases in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics and a manuscript in the peer review journal Technology in Cancer Research and Treatment.
  • Co-authored and published five first-authored publications and over 25 co-authored publications since January 2014.
  • Attended the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer conference in Copenhagen, Denmark where she presented two of her projects.
  • Teaches swimming lessons to people with disabilities with Adapted Aquatics.

"Co-op has been an amazing and invaluable experience. My two years at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre have taught me research skills, including how to write proposals, collect and analyze data, and draft manuscripts. But perhaps more importantly, my first-hand experience with palliative cancer patients has developed in me a strong sense of compassion and understanding for others."

- Rachel McDonald

Joey Pereira

Computer Science, Faculty of MathematicsJoey Pereira

Employer: PiinPoint

  • Researched and developed Piinpoint's platform as a software engineering and lead developer.
  • Took on a leading role in development, improvement and expansion of PiinPoint’s platform, creating a drivetime polygon generator which attracted customers to the platform. He was also given the authority to deploy changes to the production environment and manage a team of engineers and co-op students.
  • In charge of the platform team, attendee experience, registration and applications for Hack the North (largest hackathon of its kind in Canada).
  • Collaborated with Tech Retreat, an event that gives hands on experience to high school students. Joey volunteers his time creating materials for the event which focuses on teaching students about software and hardware programming. 

"Co-op has allowed for many opportunities to connect with people while in school. You just get so much more from going back and forth alternating between school and work, taking what you learned from school and applying it into your work, and vice versa."

- Joey Pereira

Emily WestEmily West

Psychology, Faculty of Arts

Employer: The Games Institute

  • Worked as an assistant project manager for the Games Institute. She acted as the first point of contact at the Games Institute performing crucial administrative and operational duties.
  • Streamlined the communication process throughout the Games Institute by creating and maintaining a SharePoint site, which allows members and researchers the ability to access important documents, available equipment, and open research labs.
  • Took a lead role in the organization and execution of hosting the Games Institute’s Grant Mid-Term Meeting with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership. She acted as the point of contact for the event, organizing guest speakers, ensuring the event ran smoothly by creating the program brochure, the final conference schedule, handling the catering and equipment rentals, and arranging accommodations for out-of-town guests.
  • Is the model director with Fashion for Change at Waterloo. Fashion for Change is a student run club that brings together fashion, music, dance, and drama, hosting events throughout Fall and Winter terms. The culmination of both terms is a fashion show for which all the proceeds go to Free the Children. 

"It’s been amazing, more than I ever thought was possible through a co-op experience. It not only gave me insight into what I might want to do after my undergrad, but help choose the direction I want to take in my final year of my undergraduate degree."

- Emily West

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