2021 Co-op Student of the Year Award recipients

Collage of award recipientsEach year, one student from each faculty is presented with a Co-op Student of the Year Award for their exceptional contributions to their work term employers. The awards take place during the winter term and celebrate student achievements from the winter, spring and fall terms of the previous calendar year. Congratulations to all of the Co-op Student of the Year Award recipients.

2021 Co-op Student of the Year Award recipients

Ingrid KaffkaIngrid Kaffka (she/her)

English-Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication, Faculty of Arts

Employer: Red Canari

  • Ingrid Kaffka worked as a marketing associate at Red Canari, a Canadian cybersecurity company, for her Spring 2021 work term.
  • Kaffka's work with the effort to expand the company into the United Kingdom directly led to Red Canari receiving $30,000 in support from the Canadian Government.
  • She led the organization’s investigation of potential firms to design and develop a new website. Her responsibilities included handling all outreach, leading meetings and providing her manager with recommendations about each firm.
  • The organization trusted Kaffka to create four months worth of social media and marketing collateral for more than eight industries and 10 services.
  • Through her co-op experiences, especially at Red Canari, Kaffka has learned that she has a passion for IT and cybersecurity. Her roles have pushed her to become a more well-rounded writer.

Sarah OdinotskiSarah Odinotski (she/her)

Nanotechnology Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Employer: University of Waterloo, Faculty of Engineering

  • Sarah Odinotski worked as a researcher for Dr. Mahla Poudineh in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo during her Spring 2021 work term.
  • During her work term, Odinotski developed a hydrogel-based microneedle biosensor for pH measurement. She optimized the microneedle fabrication process and demonstrated that her sensor can measure the clinically relevant pH ranges.
  • In January 2021 Odinotski and her team reached out to Dr. Poudineh regarding their Engineering Capstone project, where they hope to develop a real-time biosensor for measuring levels of the stress hormone cortisol and have continued their work on this project.
  • She also completed a literature review to find the best aptamer for cortisol measurement and develop a protocol for electrode functionalization.
  • In addition to designing and performing experiments, Odinotski oversaw writing of a manuscript to present the data.
  • Named an honourable mention from both Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada and Experiential Work-Integrated Learning Ontario.

Emma Schuster (she/her)Emma Schuster

Environment, Resources and Sustainability, Faculty of Environment

Employer: Habitat for Humanity, Ontario Gateway North

  • Emma Schuster worked as the social media coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, a global non-profit housing organization during her Winter 2021 work term.
  • During her four-month term, Schuster provided Habitat for Humanity with significant data and a full year's worth of social media posts to raise awareness.
  • As the organization’s needs changed, because of things like fundraising announcements and COVID protocols, Schuster had to make many adjustments to her workplan. She was able to continue her efficient work despite the often changes.
  • Schuster’s volunteer recognition campaign was singled out for its "beauty and impact" by the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada.
  • In her role, Schuster also researched territorial designations, provided a summary of Indigenous Peoples' territories, and played a large part in crafting the statement of Territorial Acknowledgement used in meetings, public gatherings and on the Habitat for Humanity website.

Madison McBay (she/her)Maddy McBay

Health Studies, Faculty of Health

Employer: TAMVOES

  • Recognized for her Spring 2021 term, Madison McBay spent her co-op term as the co-founder and senior vice president of TAMVOES, a family health management program.
  • She has spent four full co-op terms, as well as her academic terms, working on the company.
  • McBay has been working with the company from the beginning, as the only co-op student, and was promoted from senior project manager to co-founder and senior vice president.
  • During her work term, she managed a team of 10 staff members including the software development and marketing teams.
  • Her work has led the department to create sophisticated content including user interface designs and business advertisements that helped TAMVOES grow its user base by 200% during her Spring 2021 work term.
  • McBay was also in charge of creating TAMVOES' high-quality iOS application.
  • McBay was an honourable mention in the 2020 CSOTY awards for the same role with TAMVOES.

Laura Bumbulis (she/her)Laura Bumbulis

Combinatorics and Optimization, Faculty of Mathematics

Employer: Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR)

  • For her Spring 2021 term, Laura Bumbulis worked as a data analyst with the Bioinformatics team at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR).
  • Bumbulis applied a new algorithm to existing technology in order to find patterns that showed the damaging effects chemotherapy has on DNA.
  • She learned how to analyze cancer genome sequencing of tumor samples from patients with pancreatic cancer.
  • During her work term, Bumbulis was tasked with finding mutational signatures that were caused by chemotherapy and providing evidence to support her conclusions.
  • Bumbulis is thankful for her term spent with OICR as it strengthened and confirmed her desire and enthusiasm to work within the health sector.

Camille HuoCamille Huo (she/her)

Pharmacy, Faculty of Science

Employer: Toronto East Pharmasave

  • Recognized for her Winter 2021 term, Camille Huo worked as a pharmacy student at Toronto East Pharmasave, a teaching site for pharmacy interns, students, and technicians.
  • Each week Huo would go over a new group of medications with her manager and then work to perfect her counselling skills for each medication. Within a week, she would excel at taking on the counselling of all patients on those medications.
  • Huo developed both a patient presentation and a handout to help counsel parents on pain management for children. Both are still used at the pharmacy.
  • When COVID-19 vaccines came out, Huo helped manage the many communications systems and went above and beyond to get her own certification and become the lead vaccinator at some clinics.

Back to top 

Meet the honourable mention winners for the 2021 Co-op Student of the Year Awards

Jillian Eden Franz headshot

Jillian Eden Franz,
third-year Arts and Business,
Political Science Faculty of Arts

In the Fall 2021 work term, Franz took on multiple marketing content development projects as a marketing and implementation analyst at PiinPoint. A key player in developing PiinPoint’s content strategy, Franz managed the organization’s website restructure, launched the organization’s newsletter and managed digital communications on LinkedIn

Nimisha Saxena headshot

Nimisha Saxena,
fourth-year Management Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Saxena worked as a technical program manager intern at Tesla in Winter 2021. During her term, she assisted with developing the third-party risk management program (TPRM). She also launched TPRM assessments, was well-versed in a key exchange platform, and evaluated and updated Tesla’s information security policies among other accomplishments. 

Riley Jauniaux headshot

Riley Jauniaux,
fourth-year Environment, Resources, Sustainability, Faculty of Environment

During his eight-month Winter and Spring 2021 co-op terms, Jauniaux was a lab assistant for Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment. In his role, he adapted to the virtual environment effectively while creating activities, like virtual field trips, to align with learning outcomes and objectives. He created a wildlife documentation project and online games for You@Waterloo Day and more.

Maisha Adil headshot

Maisha Adil,
fourth-year Health Studies,
Faculty of Health

During her four-month work term as an IT business analyst at Roche, Adil facilitated international projects and transformed the co-op onboarding program at the organization. One major outcome Adil provided was transforming how the organization shares knowledge transfer letters among students. Adil brought fresh perspectives to the organization’s strategic business analyst initiative.

Anant Maheshwari headshot

Anant Maheshwari,
fourth-year Computer Science, Faculty of Math

In Fall 2021, Maheshwari spent his work term as a visiting undergraduate student at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The Broad Institute is a non-profit research organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the U.S. Maheshwari focused on a research project at the intersection of deep reinforcement learning and computational genomics. He contributed to the development and optimization of a new tool to phase human genomes. 

Jonathan Hsu headshot

Jonathan Hsu,
fourth-year Science and Business, Faculty of Science

Hsu completed a four-month Winter 2021 work term at EDF Renewables, a renewable energy company that develops solar, wind and battery storage systems. Hsu developed an automated costing tool that made it convenient for the solar development team to estimate the cost of a solar project, which helped improve efficiency at the organization. Hsu also developed an in-depth manual for co-op students.


Back to top