WATERLOO, Ont. (Monday, March 21, 2011) - The University of Waterloo, which pioneered co-operative education in Canada, will honour six top students during this year's national co-op education week.

The week, which runs from today to Friday, celebrates the growth of co-op education programs across the country. Students, employers and academic institutions have benefited from co-op since its launch at the University of Waterloo in 1957. Today, Waterloo now is home to the world's largest co-op program.

Six students will receive the University of Waterloo Co-op Student of the Year Award at a ceremony on Wednesday, March 23. They will be recognized for exemplary workplace performance on a 2010 work term, along with such factors as community involvement, academic excellence and contribution to co-op education.

"The winners are just some of the many exceptional students enrolled in co-op," said Peggy Jarvie, executive director of Co-operative Education and the Centre for Career Action. "Their successes exemplify the determination and passion for learning that the University of Waterloo represents. It is with great pleasure that we recognize their accomplishments and thank them for their dedication."

The award winners are:

• Faculty of applied health sciences - Joel Brooks - 3B therapeutic recreation

As part of his co-op experience, Joel Brooks lived in a remote Cree community in northern Quebec for eight months. He worked at the Gaul Youth Development Institute. His duties included designing and implementing a daily athletics program for youths aged three to nine. His most impressive feat was planning and fundraising $10,000 for a team trip to Toronto, which he chaperoned, providing the Cree youth with an opportunity to see and experience life in a big city. Brooks did more than work at Wemindji - he actively sought out opportunities to invest in the community.

• Faculty of arts - Katie Meredith - 4B political science

Katie Meredith lived for eight months on another continent as part of her co-op adventure. She was a research assistant at the National University of Singapore Institute of Systems Science. She was tasked with nine challenging projects, all of which she completed successfully. Her varied duties included composing a report that was presented at the institute's Innovation update seminar, researching and designing an online survey, conducting interviews and collating data. Another impressive accomplishment resulted from collaboration with a colleague: together they developed materials for the United Nations University to use in course development.

• Faculty of engineering - Jean-Samuel Rancourt - 4A mechanical engineering

Jean-Samuel Rancourt has worked in regions across North America, from Longueuil, Quebec to San Antonio, Texas. His most recent term at Deloitte took him to the heart of Toronto’s financial district. Initially his duties were fairly standard, but the sudden leave-of-absence of a senior manager provided Rancourt with an opportunity to take on additional responsibilities. He met the job head-on and dealt directly with Deloitte’s biggest Canadian client. He helped in identifying mistakes and areas for improvement in cost models and developed a solid business case.

• Faculty of environment - Victoria Alleyne - 3B environment and business

Government funding was recently cut from park interpretation programs in British Columbia. During her work term with BC Nature, Victoria Alleyne wanted to demonstrate the ramifications of this cut. She designed feedback forms to measure the effectiveness of interpretation programs, particularly assessing how much they affect the choice of campers to stay longer at parks. She published her findings in a 92-page report that was presented to BC’s minister of environment. Alleyne also co-ordinated naturalists across the province and ran programs for camp visitors.

• Faculty of mathematics - Adrian Morun - 4B business and math double degree

Adrian Morun worked for several prominent companies, the most recent of which was Microsoft. While there, he collaborated with a team to develop a nationwide audience-satisfaction marketing campaign. More impressively, he assisted in refining the financial forecasting process, generating results with less that 0.1 per cent variance. He also facilitated the launch of Microsoft’s student brand, a job that necessitated flying across the country to speak at various universities.

• Faculty of science - Shaelyn Culleton - 4A biology

Shaelyn Culleton is an experienced learner, both in the classroom and workplace. She has completed all five of her work terms with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, specifically the Odette Cancer Centre. This has provided her with the opportunity to write five book chapters (on four she is listed as first author) and 11 published or accepted journal articles. She’s also engaged in hands-on work, conducting a long-term quality of life study and analyzing results. As well, she has delivered presentations at two medical conferences. After 20 months of successful co-op work experiences, Culleton is ready to pursue medical school.

About Waterloo

The University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, is one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities. Waterloo is home to 30,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are dedicated to making the future better and brighter. Waterloo, known for the largest post-secondary co-operative education program in the world, supports enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. For more information about Waterloo, visit www.uwaterloo.ca.


Olaf Naese, communications and public relations administrator, 519-888-4567 ext. 33782 or olaf@uwaterloo.ca

John Morris, Waterloo media relations, 519-888-4435 or john.morris@uwaterloo.ca

Waterloo news release no. 17

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