Every year, six exceptional co-op students, one from each faculty, are recognized by the University of Waterloo for their contribution to their employer, their community and the further development of experiential education.

Among this year’s winners is Nathan Duarte – a third-year biomedical engineering student. Nathan has also been recognized as one of Canada’s 2018 Co-op Students of the Year by Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada.

“Across every discipline and level of experience you can find a student who has created a meaningful impact in their workplace,” said Ross Johnston, Executive Director of Co-operative Education at Waterloo. “The growing number of employers from all over the world who hire Waterloo students demonstrates the reaches of our reputation for excellence.”

This year’s winners truly exemplify the magnitude of work Waterloo students can accomplish across the globe.

The following are the University of Waterloo’s 2018 Co-op Students of the Year:

Lauren McLennan – Public Health Sciences (Faculty of Health)

Lauren McLennan travelled to Uganda where she was an International Consultant and Project Manager for FullSoul Canada. She increased the percentage of midwives formally trained to use donated equipment from 40% to 75%. McLennan also worked with over 60 midwives to educate them on safer birthing practices and how to reduce the risk of infection, improving awareness by 50% across hospitals in Uganda.

Krista Duncan – Speech Communications (Faculty of Arts)

Krista Duncan served as a People Operations Intern at Wealthsimple, where she assisted with employee development plans and compensation strategies. Halfway through her term, Duncan was tasked with taking over the role of Technical Recruiter, where she assisted with new recruitment processes and helped to hire the company’s largest group of engineering co-op students to date.

Nathan Duarte – Biomedical Engineering (Faculty of Engineering)

Nathan Duarte helped develop a novel bioink that can be used to decrease the amount of time it takes to 3D print kidney tissues while he was a visiting undergraduate student at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Duarte had the opportunity to demo his work to Hansjörg Wyss, the benefactor of Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Duarte co-authored the resulting research article, which was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

James Schnarr – Environment and Business (Faculty of Environment)

James Schnarr created a digital content series for Xbox’s Canada Day Promotion while working as an Xbox Marketing Associate at Microsoft Corporation. His work resulted in Xbox Canada’s most successful organic campaign to date. Schnarr also co-developed Microsoft’s “Tech Empowerment Day,” offering underprivileged youth the opportunity to access technology and workshops.

Yutong Wu – Computer Science (Faculty of Mathematics)

While working as an Engineering Intern for Aetion, Yutong Wu created an algorithm to capture drug usage and switching patterns, allowing scientists to distinguish the effects of different drugs. Her strong knowledge of mathematics also helped her solve longstanding issues with Schoenfeld and Pyramid plots. In addition, she took ownership over the Histogram Plot project, rewriting the code used to generate histogram bins and label sizes.

Stephanie Chan – Biochemistry (Faculty of Science)

Stephanie Chan worked in several clinics during her co-op terms at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, including the palliative care radiation clinic, breast cancer radiation clinic and the bone metastases clinic. She initiated a study on the prevalence and predictors of shortness of breath, allowing physicians to approach symptom management in a more holistic way. In a separate study regarding the treatment of fibroids, she created new efficiencies to decrease the time required to manage the study by 20%.

In addition to the students list above, Yasmeen Razvi (Applied Health Sciences), Carly Stanisic (Arts), Emily Lam (Engineering), Hannah Dubber (Environment), Yan Zhang (Mathematics) and Emily Pass (Science) received honourable mentions for Waterloo’s awards.