Co-op student of the year 2016 winners

Alister D'Costa Alister D'Costa

Bioinformatics, Faculty of Mathematics 

Employer: Cyclica Inc.  

  • Worked as a bioinformatic / biotechnology software developer, developing and launching an app that minimizes time spent in a laboratory.
  • Was the former President and currently Vice President of the Bioinformatics club in the Faculty of Mathematics. 
  • Volunteers with Kitchener and Waterloo Special Olympics Swimming division as a swim coach to individuals with various special needs. 

"Co-op at Waterloo has given me opportunities I could only dream of prior to starting my degree. The co-op community and the relationship the University has with employers has made my co-op experience undeniably valuable."

- Alister D'Costa


Baraa Hamodi Baraa Hamodi

Mechatronics Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Employer: Facebook  

  • Joined Facebook at their headquarters in Menlo Park, California as a front end engineer intern.  
  • Wrote code that displayed live election results from the 2016 US presidential election campaign on Facebook that reached millions of users.
  • Part of the Messenger team at Facebook where he worked to bring new features such as group video calling and group polling to life.
  • Made Messenger more accessible to visually impaired users by implementing components that can be accessed by screen readers. 
  • Ranked number one in his Mechatronics class in 2016.  

"Waterloo’s Engineering program is highly recognized on an international basis. Combined with Waterloo’s co-op program which gives students access to such an incredible network of amazing companies; it’s the dream package."

- Baraa Hamodi 

Adnan KhanAdnan Khan

Accounting and Financial Management, Faculty of Arts

Employer: Deloitte 

  • Completed four work terms at Deloitte in Toronto as a business analyst in the Consulting service line. 
  • Took the lead on learning how to use an emerging data analytic software known as Tableau, which allowed him to build interactive dashboards for a client. He later presented on data visualization at two national learning and growth sessions. 
  • Heavily involved in the development of co-op students at Deloitte. He successfully pioneered a mini-training session for new hire co-op students. 
  • Founded EduGate, a non-profit organization that works to bring education technology to rural villages in Nicaragua. The organization has supported over 1,000 students. 

"Co-op has given me so much more than real life experience. I now have relationships with people from across the world, a stronger skill set, and a better understanding of what I want to do in my lifetime."

- Adnan Khan 


Natalya O'Neill Natayla O'Neill

Materials and Nanosciences, Faculty of Science

Employer: St. Michael's Hospital 

  • Natalya has worked at St. Michael's Hospital for both the fall and winter 2016 work terms as a clinical research assistant in the hematology department. 
  • Worked alongside physicians, pharmacists and patients to create a medical alert card and supplementary educational booklet for patients who suffer from asplenia (abnormal spleen function). 
  • She is currently working with pediatricians to implement the project at The Hospital for Sick Children.
  • Awarded an honourable mention for the Education at Work Ontario 2016 Co-op Student of the Year Award.

"Throughout my co-op experience I had constant support and resources that allowed me to make the most out of my work term. It has provided me with clarity and shaped my future career path."

- Natalya O'Neill 

Pearl Zaki Pearl Zaki

Health Studies, Faculty of Health

Employer: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre 

  • Pearl worked as a clinical research assistant for both her fall and winter 2016 work terms. 
  • Wrote two manuscripts, which will be submitted for publication in the peer-reviewed, Journal of Pain Management.
  • Actively volunteers in various volunteer positions in the Kitchener-Waterloo community, including the Univeristy of Waterloo Well-Fit program and Grand River Hospital Adult Inpatient Mental Health Program.

"Co-op is what made me choose Waterloo, without question. It is an absolute honour to have been chosen as the recipient of this award. In my three years at the University of Waterloo, I have found so many opportunities for exploration and growth."

- Pearl Zaki

Regan ZinkRegan Zink

Urban Planning, Faculty of Environment 

Employer: MHBC Planning

  • Eorked as a Student Planner for MHBC. She had written up to 15 proposals that secured over $100,000 for the company.
  • Created the MHBC Student Manual, an onboarding document given to new co-op students when they start at the company’s Kitchener office.
  • Has volunteered with various organizations including the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, the MCC Thrift and Gift in Elmira and the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery.
  • As a research assistant for the Climate Change Modelling and Analysis Group at Waterloo, Regan identified potential shortfalls of original research questions and proposed changes to improve the model of scientific inquiry.

"During 2016, I was fortunate to secure two fantastic co-op placements that provided me with rewarding challenges that have bettered me as a student and as a professional."

- Regan Zink


Here's some advice from our co-op students 

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