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

These incredible students found themselves in sectors as diverse as international aid and gaming. Several 2018 winners made strides in medicine, signaling Waterloo’s momentum as a health technology and service leader.

“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 showcase what Waterloo students can accomplish at home and around the the globe. Meet Waterloo’s 2018 Co-op Students of the Year:

Lauren McLennan – Public Health (Faculty of Applied Health Sciences)

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 per cent to 75 per cent. 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 per cent across hospitals in Uganda.

Krista Duncan – Speech Communication (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 per cent.

In addition to the students listed 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.

If you or a student you know has performed exceptionally as a co-op student and deserves recognition, we are now accepting nominations for 2019. For more information, please reach out to Brent Thornhill, one of our Co-op Student Experience Managers.