Every year, one student from each faculty is presented with a Co-op Student of the Year Award for exceptional contributions to one or more of their work term employers. These awards take place towards the end of the winter term and celebrate student achievements from the winter, spring and fall terms of the previous calendar year. Congratulations to all Co-op Student of the Year Award recipients.
Meet the winners
Watch the ceremony
2020 Co-op Student of the Year Award recipients
Political Science and Business, Faculty of Arts
Employer: The Daisy Group
- Recognized for his Winter 2020 term, Jonathan Lee worked as an associate in the Daisy Group, one of Canada’s most notable public affairs firms making impacts in many sectors such as crisis management, litigation support and municipalities.
- One of the youngest registered lobbyists in Canada, all while having his lobbyist registration mentioned in iPolitics – an online political news service.
- Successfully expanded the Daisy Group’s reach on social media by over 100 per cent during his co-op term.
- Led the Daisy Group's efforts in renaming Swastika Trail, in Puslinch, Ontario by lobbying provincial MPPs & federal MPs, all while receiving recognition from senators.
- Committed to fighting prejudice within Canada, with successful attempts at having stories recognized in Waterloo Region Record, Canadian Jewish Record and Charles Adler Tonight radio show.
- Also completed a work term at The Daisy Group in Fall 2020. Lee’s time at the Daisy Group has further confirmed his future aspirations in politics.
Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
Employer: Rushby Engineering Solutions Inc.
- Recognized for her Winter 2020 term, Rupa Vemulapalli served as a junior energy analyst for Rushby Energy Solutions Inc.
- Pitched the idea of creating a revenue-generating iOS app, that will assist “Electric Vehicle (EV) suppliers quantify long-term gains in establishing EV-charging stations in designated locations.”
- Vemulapalli successfully created a prototype for the app and was given the approval to continue developing the final product. The iOS app is now in the process of being placed in the App Store.
- She was given the opportunity to represent Rushby Energy during a tradeshow that brings together energy experts.
- Attended frequent site visits, reviewed energy audit reports, and evaluated building performance.
Urban Planning, Faculty of Environment
Employer: Habitat for Humanity
- Recognized for his eight-month Spring 2020 term, Brad Bruder served as the senior manager of planning and development at Habitat for Humanity.
- Led a team in delivering more than 600 affordable housing units for Habitat for Humanity, which included $250M partnership with the City of Mississauga.
- Partially responsible for the Habitat Hotel, an initiative that includes “50 new affordable, short-stay housing units in the City of Burlington for vulnerable populations.”
- Assisted in moving 18 families into their new home in the GTA amid, COVID-19.
- Now offered a full-time position at Habitat for Humanity, as he continues to make a huge impact in an important organization.
Health Sciences, Faculty of Health
Employer: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
- Recognized for her Spring 2020 term, Emily Lam served as a clinical research assistant at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in the Department of Radiation Oncology.
- Successfully published a paper investigating the impact of pain in over 400 patients receiving breast radiation therapy in the peer-reviewed journal Supportive Care in Cancer.
- Selected as one of the five recipients awarded the 2020 Young Investigator Award, from the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC).
- Ran a virtual summer research program for high school and undergraduate students.
- Assisted in clinical trials of patients with their breast cancer treatments.
- Multiple work terms at Sunnybrook in research have confirmed Lam’s interest to work in the healthcare/research field. Lam’s fourth and fifth work terms in Winter and Spring 2021 are at Sunnybrook.
Mathematics, Faculty of Mathematics
Employer: Sun Life Financial
- Recognized for his Winter 2020 term, Ryan Goldford served as an actuarial analyst at Sun
- Prepared a 50-page onboarding guide for prospective co-op students that resulted in increased efficiency for team leaders.
- Automated capital reporting templates, leading to more efficiency.
- Presented key financial results to several senior managers as well as larger encompassing GRS group.
- Successfully mentored multiple students, by offering guidance on their future co-op terms.
- Goldford will be working full-time with Sun Life following graduation.
Biology, Faculty of Science
Employer: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
- Recognized for his eight-month Winter 2020 work term, Omar Hajjaj served as a blood transfusion medicine co-op research student at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre.
- Responsible for coordinating four government funded clinical trials, working at six different hospitals in Toronto.
- By February 2020, effectively doubled patient enrolment in the first trial.
- Successfully coded the largest transfusion database, decreasing time for data analysis by 456 per cent.
- Played a notable role in the largest COVID-19 plasma trial, that was the first to enroll a patient from Ontario to receive an investigational product.
- Established an automated matrix of more than 800 different blood samples.
- Hajjaj’s five work terms have been in the research field.