2019 CEE Employer Impact Award Recipients

Year after year, University of Waterloo co-op employers provide quality work-integrated learning experiences and growth opportunities to thousands of students. We’d like to recognize our employers for the exceptional impact they make as they equip and empower emerging talent and prepare them for a complex future workforce.

Congratulations to all of our Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) Employer Impact Award recipients and honourable mentions. Thank you for providing meaningful work term experiences to Waterloo students. Get to know all the award recipients and learn more about their work below.

Shopify logo

Shopify Inc. was founded to help entrepreneurs thrive in a world where competition occurs on a global scale and large players dominate markets through innovation.

They were chosen as the winner of the Impact in Innovation Award because they:

  • offer ‘hack days’ as a break from work to allow co-op students and staff to work on projects that bring some of Shopify’s biggest innovations to light;
  • encourage entrepreneurship through the ‘Startify’ perk, which includes a free Shopify subscription and $250 for team members to put towards starting a business – because being owners and entrepreneurs helps gain empathy and new insights, uncovering solutions to problems that only business owners would encounter;
  • promote diversity of thought by hiring co-op students and staff members with a range of academic backgrounds and work experiences, believing that people who think differently from one another can approach problems in more unique and innovative ways;
  • give students opportunities to experience ongoing mentorship and the Continuous Development Perk, promoting career growth, learning and development through one-on-one guidance from a leader and approval to expense materials; and,
  • collaborate with the University of Waterloo community through information sessions, office tours, hosting club events, sponsoring ‘Hack the North’ and proudly hiring Waterloo co-op students and alumni.

Hear what Shopify team members and co-op students have to say about the innovative work they do.

Impact in Interdisciplinary Recruitment: Arup Canada Inc.

ARUP canada inc. logo

Arup Canada Inc. is an independent global firm providing engineering design, planning, and project management services in all areas of the built environment.

They were chosen as the winner of the Impact in Interdisciplinary Recruitment Award because they:

  • house an internal network of over 14,000 people, in 87 offices, across 34 countries – where co-op students and staff have opportunities to contribute to real and meaningful projects;
  • believe that all co-ops hired from different disciplines and backgrounds contribute and benefit the organization – identifying that several of their most skilled co-op students have unique interests, skills or experience outside of the field of engineering;
  • distinguish themselves as a multidisciplinary organization focused on community engagement and a team dedicated to mentorship, learning and development for staff;
  • attract and builds a diverse candidate pipeline by hiring students from a variety of disciplines, faculties and programs; and,
  • engage with the University of Waterloo community through technical talks and job fairs, connecting students with expert engineers for new insights and professional development opportunities.

Learn more about Arup from their leaders and the co-op students who worked for them.

Impact in International Excellence: Curvegrid Inc.

Curvegrid logo

Curvegrid Inc. was established in Tokyo, Japan in 2017 by two University of Waterloo graduates and offers blockchain middleware that makes it fast, easy, and cost-effective to build on multiple blockchain platforms.

They were chosen as the winner of the Impact in International Excellence Award because they:

  • believe that co-op students play an integral role in Curvegrid’s ability to stay globally connected because they bring a diversity of perspectives from their personal, academic and past work experiences;
  • encourage students to develop technical skills, while also promoting the development of soft skills like flexibility, resilience, initiative, humour, humility and genuine interest in living and working in Japan;
  • understand that moving to a different country can be a unique experience for many co-op students – supporting the transition by reimbursing flights and daily transit, covering the cost of accommodation, helping open banking accounts, sharing how to buy groceries or SIM cards, encouraging extracurricular activities and encouraging a positive adjustment to Japanese culture;
  • empower co-op student integration with the Japanese tech community by sponsoring or participating in external events like the Decrypt Tokyo hackaton, the AWS Summit and the bon-odori outdoor festival; and,
  • engage with the University of Waterloo community by visiting campus for Employer Information Sessions, co-op interviews, a Women in Computer Science workshop and by speaking at local area meetups.

Hear from past co-op students, and Curvegrid’s CEO and founder, and discover more about the rich international experiences they provide.

Impact in Research: The Centre for Applied Genomics

The Centre for Applied Genomics (TCAG) logo

The Centre for Applied Genomics (TCAG) is the genome centre, service as a core facility for SickKids Research Institute, A Genome Canada Genomics Technology Platform and the lead site of CGEn – a federally funded national genome sequencing network.

They were chosen as the winner of the Impact in Research Award because they:

  • provide co-op students with training in relevant laboratory and analytical techniques, which is critical to success in the field of genomics in both public and private sectors;
  • embed students within a vibrant, active and productive genome centre community, with mentorship and support from highly experienced research experts, informatics teams, lab personnel, genomics analysts, PhD students and co-op students from multiple institutions;
  • encourage student involvement in academic journals and publications to share and highlight their research work and discoveries;
  • engage with the University of Waterloo community by consistently hiring co-op students and alumni, as well as participating in facilitated workshops to help TCAG plan their co-op programming; and,
  • believe that hands-on student learning and experience in a lab environment is instrumental in genomics-driven career development, helping establish ongoing opportunities in the field.

Find out what makes co-op experiences at the Centre for Applied Genomics so meaningful to their ongoing research work.

Impact in Sustainability: Avani Bio Energy

Avani Bio Energy logo

Nestled in the Kumaon region of the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, Avani Bio Energy is a community built on the principles of sustainability and local empowerment – harnessing the destructive energy in pine needles to generate useable energy for rural energy needs.

They were chosen as the winner of the Impact in Sustainability Award because they:

  • hire co-op students to gain valuable experience in a remote rural community in India, working to stop the spread of forest fires and develop clean, sustainable energy;
  • create opportunities for students to support local employment and biodiversity, establishing clean cooking fuel, exporting renewable energy to the grid and reducing carbon dioxide emissions – directly aligning with several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals;
  • support co-op students as they study the causal and report the relationship between pine needle litter and forest fires, playing a pivotal role in compelling policymakers to develop an effective roadmap to tackle forest fires;
  • enable students to develop an innovative mindset, critical thinking skills, intercultural effectiveness and agility by inviting them to live and work in a rural, remote community with limited tools and materials; and,
  • encourage students to enact change in the field of sustainability by embracing discomfort and unfamiliar conditions, helping them grow to become more self-sufficient and confident.

Learn more about Avani Bio Energy from their founder and the co-op students that have worked for them.

Impact on Student Experience: Splunk

splunk logo

Splunk is the world’s first Data-to-Everything Platform, allowing businesses to get a complete view of their data outcomes in real time to achieve business outcomes, adapt to new technologies and make preparations for a data-driven future. They specialize in big data, machine learning and edge computing on an unprecedented scale.

University of Waterloo students voted for them as the winner of the Impact in Student Experience Award because they:

  • curate co-op student experiences focused on people and culture – offering exceptional young talent with real-work experience, mentorship and professional development opportunities to build a strong foundation for their future career path;
  • encourage co-op students to develop into global leaders by offering career coaching workshops, personal finance for young professionals, ongoing training, networking and work-life balance;
  • trust new team members with challenging and fulfilling projects that align with their academic program and previous work experiences, while also supporting Splunk’s business goals and objectives; and,
  • provide a culture and environment that supports a rich learning experience, which is a key driver for success as co-op students prepare to graduate and enter the workforce.

Hear the Splunk team share what makes the co-op student experience at their organization so unique.

Honourable Mentions

 Impact in Interdisciplinary Recruitment

Benecaid Health Benefit Solutions

Benecaid logo

Impact in Innovation


Deloitte logo

 Impact in International Excellence 

Life Solutions

Life solutions logo

Impact in Research

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre logo

Impact in Sustainability

 FullSoul Canada

Full Soul Canada logo

Impact on Student Experience


ecobee logo

Watch the 2019 virtual awards ceremony

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