Waterloo recognizes 2019 Co-op Student of the Year and Problem Award recipients

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Headshots of all six 2019 Co-op Student of the Year recipients

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. The 2019 Faculty of Science Co-Op Student of the Year is Lydia Vermeer (Biochemistry). These awards take place toward the end of the winter term and celebrate student achievements from the winter, spring and fall terms of the previous calendar year.

Headshot of Lydia Vermeer
Lydia Vermeer is recognized for her 8-month work term (Winter and Spring 2019) at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She worked as a Genetic Counsellor Assistant in the Cancer Genetics department. She prepared a 40-page document along with numerous supporting materials for the development of a new format of genetic counselling and testing for breast-cancer that is physician-initiated.

She helped curate a database of clinic patients with mutations which involved comparing 4,000 mutations to online databases to ensure they were entered in standard notation.

She also rewrote the student manual to ensure future Waterloo co-op students would experience a smoother transition into the workplace.

Vermeer was also a 2015 Schulich Leader Nominee, which represent the top STEM student from a graduating high school class. These entrepreneurial-minded students must exemplify academic excellence, leadership and/or financial need.

“These exceptional individuals have shown that co-op students at the University of Waterloo have a significant impact long before graduation,” Feridun Hamdullahpur says, president and vice-chancellor. “It is wonderful to see their ability to learn, adapt to change and harness a range of essential skills that has made their employer and society better. We will continue to need the spirit and determination of these students more than ever.”

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

Meet Waterloo’s other 2019 Co-op Students of the Year:

  • Yasmeen Mihad Razvi – Health Studies (Faculty of Applied Health Sciences)
  • Taylor Legere – Peace and Conflict Studies (Faculty of Arts)
  • Eric Jihoon Song – Biomedical Engineering (Faculty of Engineering)
  • David Pau – Planning (Faculty of Environment)
  • Keer Liu – Computer Science (Faculty of Mathematics)

In addition to the students listed above, Emily Lam (Applied Health Sciences), Jonathan Lee (Arts), Meggin Crisp (Engineering), Binoy Pattharwala (Environment), Spencer Whitehead (Mathematics) and Jonathan Hsu (Science) received honourable mentions for Waterloo’s awards.

Headshot of Jonathan Hsu

Hsu (pictured left) is a 3A Honours Science and Businesss/Biochemistry student. He is recognized for his Winter 2019 work term, where he served as a Business Analyst in the Portfolio team at the Bank of Montreal.

He learned Excel VBA to automate an operational process, improving speed and accuracy of the process.

He led the implementation of a new program, which included communicating with senior PTS managers and creating knowledge transfer documents and presentation slides to ensure the program's sustainability.

He promoted the unique benefits of Co-operative and Experiential Education by hosting an information session at his high school and talking about his impactful co-op experiences on the Big-E TV show.

2019 Co-op Problem Awards

Five other University of Waterloo co-op students have been awarded the 2019 Co-op Problem Award. These students are recognized by The Problem Lab for their ability to find and analyze an important problem affecting their employer. The Problem Lab has a goal to increase the ability for our community to create innovations of greater economic and social consequence by identifying and understanding important problems.

The following are the University of Waterloo’s 2019 Co-op Problem Award recipients:

  • Charvi Choudhary – Systems Design Engineering (Faculty of Engineering)
  • Samuel Muller – Geological Engineering (Faculty of Engineering)
  • Sharan Dev Sankar – Computer Engineering (Faculty of Engineering)
  • Mahtab Dhaliwal – Mathematical Studies (Faculty of Mathematics)
  • Keyuan Wang – Science and Business (Faculty of Science)

Selfie of Keyuan Wang
Keyuan Wang (pictured left) is recognized for his work as an Assistant Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Soochow. Wang instituted the Kanban Inventory Management system and improved the supply availability at MSW Plastics. He also published his first academic research paper in Journal of Higher Education and Social Sciences (CSCanada). Additionally, Wang strengthened the oral and listening skills of nearly 400 first- and second-year Chinese university students by 50 per cent through teaching 120 hours of compulsory English courses.

Congratulations to all award recipients!