Global citizen and award recipient: Samantha Kremer

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Samantha Kremer with women and children in Uganda

By: Micaela Kelly

Samantha Kremer (she/her) values international co-op experiences and giving back to communities abroad.

Samantha’s impact and dedication to her co-op work term earned her the Peggy Jarvie, University of Waterloo, International Work Experience Award at the 2024 Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA) Awards.

An ENVenture of a lifetime

After completing her first co-op work term in Africa, Kremer knew she wanted to return. She chose ENVenture, a clean energy business incubator based in Kampala, Uganda.

Kremer decided to join ENVenture because she wanted the experience of being immersed in a new culture. She also wanted to pursue her professional ambition to work internationally.

Because the position came with a scholarship, it was a feasible opportunity for her to pursue.


Women and children standing next to a Suzan Foundation sign

ENVenture serves as an incubator for community-based organizations in rural areas of Uganda to bring clean energy products to communities and support small-business owners. During her time with ENVenture, Kremer worked with the Suzan Foundation.

Suzan Foundation runs several programs to support orphans, vulnerable children and the financial well-being of women in Kayunga, Uganda.

ENVenture and Suzan Foundation partnered to sell clean energy products and educate the community about clean energy while creating a stable income source to support the foundation’s other projects.


Kremer worked on the following projects with Suzan Foundation:

  • Co-ordinating with local businesses to create partnerships with community-based organizations
  • Setting up social media channels
  • Planning and hosting a fundraising event; directing the funds to educational materials for orphans and vulnerable children
  • Conducting market research that included gathering data on energy usage and access to clean water in households

This information was used to guide community offerings of ENVenture products including solar lanterns, water filters and energy-efficient appliances.

The challenges and rewards of working abroad

Kremer reflected on how working at an international organization has challenged her and developed her skills in patience and perseverance. “There were times when I was beyond frustrated with the work and certain social situations, but this didn’t take away from the beauty of the country and the people, nor from the new perspective I took away from this experience,” said Kremer.

For others who want to try working abroad with an organization like ENVenture, Kremer recommends being open-minded. “People work very differently in Uganda. It can be frustrating when you don’t feel like you are making an impact or reaching the goals you may have set for yourself,” said Kremer.

Samantha Kremer writing on a notepad and talking to a man

Samantha Kremer standing infront of a snow covered mountain range

Woman using a sewing machine


Co-op is the ideal time to try working abroad

Kremer recommends trying different positions in different countries, even if the pay is less.

open quotation marks

The network of people you meet will surprise you and the opportunities that flow from these decisions can be key to setting you apart. These opportunities allow you to stand out during recruitment, and you will learn so much about yourself.

- Samantha Kremer, Science and Business co-op student 

Receiving the Peggy Jarvie, University of Waterloo, International Work Experience Award

Kremer was honoured and surprised to receive the award. “I definitely felt some imposter syndrome when I got nominated and even more when I was selected as a recipient,” said Kremer. “But it was a nice reassurance and makes me feel proud of what I did accomplish, professionally and personally.

It’s also really cool to see how the University supports students and encourages these types of experiences. This is an amazing opportunity to build your character, making you a competitive candidate for future co-op terms and after graduation.”

What does the future hold?

Kremer is in Germany for her current co-op work term. After graduation, she is looking forward to pursuing a career in marine conservation and research.

Kremer also plans to continue with her hobbies including scuba diving, playing guitar and painting murals where she volunteers.

“It’s a nice way to give back to the community and people who hosted you – not to mention you get to leave a piece of yourself in different corners of the world,” said Kremer.

Samantha Kremer scuba diving