Co-op/WIL/EL Student of the Year Awards

Every year EWO awards students with the Co-op/WIL/EL Student of the Year Awards

The Co-op/WIL/EL Student of the Year Award is presented to one student (or group) attending a university and one student (or group) attending a college, who have showcased exceptional job/community/project achievement, extra-curricular involvement, and a strong contribution to Co-operative Education, Work-Integrated Learning, or Experiential Education.

Note: Groups of students are eligible for the WIL/EL Awards.

The winning student or group submission will receive an award of $750.

Co-op Student of the Year Award Recipients

The EWO Co-op Student of the Year Award recognizes Ontario Co-op students who have showcased exceptional job accomplishment, extra-curricular involvement, and a strong contribution to Co-operative Education.

Award Winners 2023

College Winner:

Jayde

Jayde is a recent graduate of Algonquin College’s Interactive Media Design program. Prior to attending college, she graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Arts in Media, Information, and Technoculture. Jayde recently began her role as a Communications Officer at Natural Resources Canada. In addition, she works as the Director of Communications for Camp Misquah, a camp for people with developmental disabilities.

Jayde’s work ethic and passion for communications comes from her mom, an elementary school teacher, who encouraged her uniqueness and creativity. Her creative style is inspired by LGBTQ+ icons like Kesha, Andy Warhol, and Wendy Carlos. Her writing styles often favour context over conciseness, so she is a strong believer in taking the time to edit. Her next upcoming goal is to master her French levels to be certified bilingual by the Government of Canada. Her dream is to produce digital content for music industry figures or produce interviews for Billboard or Rolling Stone magazine.

University Winner:

Nicole completed her Spring 2023 work-term alongside the President and CEO of Grand River Hospital. In her short time at GRH, she not only shattered expectations but made substantial contributions to projects across multiple areas of administration including finance, operations, business development, nursing, and the KW4 Ontario Health Team. Some of her proudest accomplishments included presenting her work and recommendations on the future strategic directions of world-class hospitals to the senior leadership team, meeting the Ontario Minister of Health, contributing to the development of a new neurosurgery program having worked as a neurosurgery nurse herself, and her well-received community engagement strategies for the inaugural KW4 OHT strategic plan. She is looking forward to returning to GRH this fall to continue her work with the KW4 OHT! Nicole is a dedicated member of her community, relying on her creativity and talents to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Honourable Mentions

University Category
Ariya Shiwram | McMaster University
Ahnaf Rahman | University of Toronto

Awards Committee

Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University (Chair)

Matt Wheatley | Algonquin College
Ben McDonald | University of Waterloo
Jason Peng | Mohawk College
Delnaz Khorshidchehr
| York University
Anne-Marie Zawadzki | University of Guelph
Shelly Hogan | Sheridan College

Award Winners 2022

College Winner:

Adam Longboat is a fourth-semester student in Mohawk College’s Insurance program. During his co-op at Swiss Reinsurance, Adam left a meaningful impact on the entire Canadian branch. Adam’s history comprises a rich tapestry that many students can identify with. As a proud Indigenous man, Adam shared his passion with the entire Swiss Re Canadian branch by leading a successful week-long series of events to observe Truth and Reconciliation. As a mature student, he made a career change from welding to insurance, as a result of an industrial accident. As a father, he demonstrated resilience and priority-setting when balancing work and family priorities. Adam was selected by his professors to represent students on the Insurance Program Advisory Committee because of his scholastic performance, contributions in the classroom, and the respect earned from his peers. His supervisors, colleagues, peers, and the college are all proud of Adam’s accomplishments in his co-op journey.

University Winner:

2022 Co-op Award winner

Jennifer Tsai is a candidate for a Bachelor of Applied Science in Honours Biomedical Engineering (co-op) from the Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. She has a strong background in computing with experience in languages such as C++, C#, R, Rust, Typescript, GraphQL, and PostgreSQL, as well as HTML/CSS. She also has experience in experimental techniques such as sc-RNA-seq, Visium, immunohistochemistry, mFISH, confocal microscopy, and EEG.

Jennifer has completed co-op work terms as a computational neuroscience researcher at UBC, an undergraduate researcher at the University of Waterloo, and as a software developer for TD Innovation Lab. She is actively involved in community projects, serving as the Director of Operations at Nucleate Dojo and the Sponsorship Coordinator at Hack the North.

Honourable Mentions

College Category
Mehnaz Singh | Sheridan College

University Category
Isaac Cheng
| University of Waterloo

Awards Committee

Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University (Chair)

Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College
Matt Wheatley | Algonquin College
Delnaz Khorshidchehr | York University
Paula Stortz | University of Guelph
Shelly Hogan | Sheridan College

Award Winners 2021

College Winner:

Brittany Gaudet is an inspiration to female students wishing to pursue an education and career in technology and trades. As a third-year student in Mohawk College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program, Brittany has excelled both in and out of the classroom. During Brittany’s co-op work term, as a Quality Assurance Technician, she became the first female hired to work inside the company’s concrete pole plant. As the single female in a male-dominated division, Brittany displayed resilience and challenged the status quo to demonstrate her skill and gain the respect of her fellow colleagues. Showcasing her innovative spirit, passion for problem solving, and quest for knowledge, Brittany was offered a permanent job after graduation. Brittany also recognizes the importance of career-related curricular and co-curricular activities, as demonstrated through her various campus roles including: VP Women in Technology and Trades Club, Peer Tutor, Student Assistant, and Lab Research Assistant.

University Winner:

Rameen Jamil is a fourth year Biochemistry student at McMaster University. She was employed in the Mukherjee lab as a research assistant on a collaborative COVID project.
Rameen was the person responsible for sample collection (both blood and endotracheal aspirate), processing and allocation of samples in this longitudinal, multiple-visit, single-centre, observational study. She proficiently maintained communications, coordinating with a diverse team (including other labs and ICU nurses) for samples/patient recruitment and immaculately maintained the databases. For the project she recruited and processed >150 samples for > 40 patients on mechanical ventilation (ICU) between January 2021 and July 2021. In addition to sample processing and collection, Ms. Jamil quickly found interest in the ongoing immunology investigations. She learnt ELISAs and line immune assays (LIAs) and was entrusted with running the autoantibody panels and inflammatory mediators for the collected samples from the RALI study.

Honourable Mentions

College Category
Karanveer Singh | Sheridan College

University Category
Sarah Odinotski | University of Waterloo
Adrian Fagarasanu  | York University

Awards Committee

Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University (Chair)
Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College
Paul Needham | George Brown College
Matt Wheatley | Algonquin College
Delnaz Khorshidchehr | York University

Award Winners 2020

College Winner:

William Tran, graduate of Centennial’s Supply Chain and Operations Management Diploma program, was an outstanding co-op student in every way. In his co-op work term in Logistics at TJX Canada, he innovated reporting methods to support their digital transformation. William has also excelled academically and in athletics, with many achievements, among them: a 96% average, top 3% of his cohort, and 3 silver medals in intercollegiate tournaments. He also raised $2000 for SickKids Hospital with his Varsity team. While his second work term was cancelled due to the pandemic, he stayed in touch and was offered a work term the following semester. He has shared tips on perseverance despite setbacks for a Centennial Marketing article. While now graduated from Centennial, he continues to volunteer as a Peer Career Coach and as an eMentor. He has also been appointed as a full member of the Supply Chain Management Program Advisory Committee.

University Winner:

Omar Hajjaj had his 2020 co-op terms with the QUEST research team, primarily working with the University Health Network where he was a vital component of several research projects. He helped coordinate the largest Canadian COVID-19 study investigating the use of convalescent plasma in patients with COVID-19 and created an interactive tracker for patient enrollment that is used in over 60 hospitals across North America. Omar also completed the largest published literature review of umbilical cord blood testing practice. He presented his findings to the Canadian Obstetrics Pediatrics Transfusion Network. Omar generously gives his time and energy to improve the community around him. At the University of Waterloo, he has developed resources to educate students on the co-op program through leadership positions in Science Orientation and in his position as a Residence Don. He also volunteers as a Hotline Responder and a Research Assistant at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Awards Committee

Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo (Co-Chair)
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College (Co-Chair)
Andrew Bassingthwaighte
 | Brock University
Tammy McDowell | Georgian College
Paul Needham | George Brown College
Matt Wheatley | Algonquin College

Award Winners 2019

College Winner:

Christina Weng is a student in Sheridan’s Honours Bachelor of Interaction Design program. Christina earned a prestigious position with Microsoft Vancouver Garage where after a cross-Canada flight she was instrumental in the rebrand and user experience design of a Microsoft product that now has 120,000 downloads.  
Christina has won many hackathon competitions, and was even flown to California to compete in a Stanford-hosted hackathon where she received two awards. She is the Co-founder/President of the “Hackademics” club at Sheridan and raised over $12,000 in sponsorship funds for the club.   
 Christina is an incredibly inspirational mentor to other students through resume workshops, portfolio reviews, mock interviews, job search articles she’s publishing and a Co-op podcast! Christina is a tremendous example for students of what can be achieved through a strategic job search. She will graduate from Sheridan in April 2020 and has already accepted a full-time offer from Facebook in California.

University Winner:

Brad’s programming and statistical knowledge has allowed him to significantly improve existing models and practices, directly leading to a significant increase in profits and reduction of costs. This positive impact at the Royal Bank of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, and Canadian Tire have led to very positive performance reviews including multiple returning offers. His community involvement has been evident through volunteer experience raising money for the Federated Health Charities and increasing diversity in the technology workplace. During his four years of studies in BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Statistics, he has been an Honour Roll & Dean’s Honour List Recipient for all his years of study and has been nominated for the Golden Key International Honour Society for being identified as the top 15% in the faculty. In January 2020, he will be returning to Brock University to pursue a Masters in Statistics with a focus in Computational Statistics.

Awards Committee

Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo (Co-Chair)
Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College (Co-Chair)
Tammy McDowell | Georgian College
Paul Needham | George Brown College

Award Winners 2018

College Winner:

Lawrence Young completed his third co-op work term as part of Sheridan’s Computer Systems Technology-Software Development and Networking Engineering program with RBC’s Amplify program which is designed to attract top student talent and present them 16 weeks to solve RBC’s most pressing challenges. Lawrence worked as part of a team tasked with developing a chat bot that could have a far-reaching impact on RBC’s client interactions.  Lawrence impressed with his application of his advanced training, his ability to present his ideas at all levels of the organization and his professionalism.  Lawrence is an exceptional student who, as an individual with a severe visual impairment, has provided guidance to both Sheridan and RBC to continually improve the experiences of other students and employees with disabilities.  Lawrence has now been hired full-time by RBC, having accepted one of the 5 RBC job offers he received on conclusion of his work term!

University Winner:

Rachel is a fifth year student in her final semester, and had the pleasure of completing four co-op work terms during her time at Brock. Her first co-op was at Meridian Credit Union, during which she developed a passion for data analytics, and enhanced efficiency by automating the audit of business processes. Her next co-op was an 8-month term at RBC, where she built the code to deploy numerous marketing campaigns and developed a new strategy for targeting clients that has since been tested for marketing other RBC products. Her last co-op term was at Canadian Tire Financial Services, where she produced analytical tools to help improve Canada’s performance in the Olympics, such as creating a player performance tool for Curling Canada. While working on these meaningful and exciting projects, she gained 16 months of invaluable experience in the field she would like to pursue a career in.

Awards Committee

Ashley Carnrite | Georgian College
Alexis Trejgo | George Brown College
Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo
Bettyna Bélizaire | University of Ottawa
Tammy McDowell | Georgian College
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College
Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University

Award Winners 2017

College Winner:

Shannon Walsh Moreau is an incredibly passionate individual who is not only bettering herself through further education with the Honours Bachelor of Athletic Therapy program, but also strives to improve injury and pain management. Her wealth of professional experience is highlighted by her most recent co-op work terms with the Ottawa Redblacks. She has not only developed and implemented new rehabilitation and training programs, but has helped develop new treatment techniques. Shannon’s advanced leadership is further evident by her winning the Dr. Ron Taylor Award 2017 for exemplary leadership qualities and strong interpersonal skills and character. Her community involvement is inspiring, having donated countless hours to the Shepherds of Good Hope Christmas program and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Also, Shannon’s eagerness to help fellow students by sharing her knowledge proves she is an amazing representative of Sheridan College and of co-operative education.

University Winner:

Emily Pass is a third year undergraduate student studying Physics and Astronomy in the Faculty of Science at the University of Waterloo. During her fall 2017 work term, she was a Research Assistant to Professor Stanimir Metchev at the University of Western Ontario’s Centre for Planetary and Space Exploration. She successfully developed a data analysis pipeline for Colibri, a rapid-imaging astronomical experiment. Emily created the pipeline from scratch and completed it within six weeks, far ahead of schedule. Her findings from this pipeline were published in a 13-page scientific paper in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, a well-respected academic publication in this field. Emily is one of 270 Schulich Leaders in Canada.

Awards Committee

Ashley Carnrite | Georgian College
Alexis Trejgo | George Brown College
Rob Phillips | Sheridan College
Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo
Bettyna Bélizaire | University of Ottawa
Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University

Award Winners 2016

College Winner:

Catherine Poehlam is a student in Sheridan’s CST- System Analyst Co-op program. Catherine’s academic achievements, having maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout her program, are matched by her professional, personal and community achievements.
Not only has Catherine overcome anxiety to become a confident self-starter who founded a club specifically for young women hoping to work in the technology sector, she also lead a team of students in developing a project that commanded a first place finish by a panel of judges. In addition, Catherine mentored students in her web design class. Catherine’s Co-op term for PointClick Care resulted in an impressive tool to improve efficiency within the company, drawing direct recognition from the CEO. In addition, her promotion of Co-op at Sheridan resulted in a new posting.
As a student who has demonstrated overwhelming success, forward momentum and spirit, Catherine is an amazing representative of Sheridan College and of Co-operative Education.

University Winner:

Brianna Guild graduated with distinction from the University of Guelph in February 2017 with a B.Sc. Honours Biochemistry (Co-op) degree and a minor in Psychology; Brain & Cognition.
Her undergraduate research career included accomplishments such as authorship on a publication as well as another manuscript in progress, and presenting at six scientific conferences. She completed co-op work terms with three different employers, most recently in the laboratory of Dr. Jim Uniake at the University of Guelph, where she is currently employed post-graduation. Through volunteer experiences with SpeechLanguage Pathologists at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and Let’s Talk Guelph, Brianna discovered her interest in working with individuals with communication disorders. She has applied for Master’s Programs in Speech-Language Pathology and hopes to improve the human condition by ensuring that each individual she works with reaches their full potential.

Awards Committee

June Martin | Georgian College
Alexis Trejgo | George Brown College
Rob Phillips | Sheridan College
Kirk Patterson | University of Waterloo
Bettyna Belizaire | University of Ottawa
Ashley Carnrite | Georgian College

Award Winners 2015

College Winner:

Amanda is a parent, mental health advocate, and honours student.  She resides in Hamilton Ontario.  Amanda entered the Health, Wellness, and Fitness Co-op program in September 2013 and quickly became known for her peer support, tutoring, and encouragement.  This helpful nature served her well as she excelled in her Co-op position as a Lifestyle team member and Fitness Consultant with Health Systems Group (at ArcelorMittal Dofasco).  Drawing on her experience with Mohawk College’s Mental Health in Motion Team, Amanda worked as a key member of the Lifestyle team which had exceptional achievements in the area of Mental Health at work.  Amanda and her fiancé put their passion for overall health to task by walking over 400km from Toronto to Parliament Hill in Ottawa to raise awareness for mental health initiatives and overall well-being.  Amanda is in her final semester and personifies excellence in Co-op student achievement at Mohawk College.

University Winner:

Rachel McDonald is a fourth year student enrolled in Health Studies at the University of Waterloo. After finishing her degree, she plans to go on to medical school. Rachel’s spring 2015 work term was with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre as a Clinical Research Assistant. She worked alongside radiation oncologists, providing patient care and developed research initiatives for palliative radiation oncology. Several of Rachel’s papers and abstracts have been published in peer-reviewed journals. She also had the opportunity to participate in the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she delivered two poster presentations. In her spare time, Rachel participates as a volunteer with Adapted Aquatics, teaching swimming to individuals with disabilities. 

Awards Committee

June Martin | Georgian College
Alexis Trejgo | George Brown College
Rob Phillips | Sheridan College
Kirk Patterson | University of Waterloo
Marg Medeiros | Fanshawe College
Daniela Ibarra | Ryerson University

Award Winners 2014

College Winner:

Ali Zaheer is a student in Sheridan’s Business Administration – Finance Co-op program. During his Co-op work term with Sheridan’s Financial Aid department he was recognized by students and his supervisor for his exceptional service to students and for increasing department efficiency through his development of new processes.

 Ali is also the President and Co-Founder of the Sheridan Finance Associate (SFA) which strives to ensure career success for students within Sheridan’s Pilon School of Business. In this role, Ali organized on and off-campus events and networked with industry professionals for the benefit of his fellow students. One of the events Ali organized resulted in 16 of his colleagues securing employment with TD Canada Trust.

Ali is a great role model for students and has demonstrated remarkable initiative, leadership and a passion for helping others throughout his time at Sheridan.

University Winner:

Skye Wattie is an Arts & Business Psychology co-op student at the University of Waterloo. He is currently completing his last year, working on an honours thesis in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Skye spent four work terms with RL Solutions first as an implementation  Coordinator, and in his last term, as an Implementation Specialist. Skye was given a full-time work portfolio which demanded multiple software  implementation projects, liaising with Healthcare practitioners from around the world and ensuring client self-sufficiency in software application.

Skye is a member of the cross country team at UWaterloo, and a Don at an off-campus residence. He also volunteered for a number of organizations in Ontario, and participated in running marathons for various causes and bicycled across Canada to meet people with augmentative and alternative communication to share their stories.

Awards Committee

Marg Medeiros | Fanshawe College
June Martin | Georgian College
Alexis Trejgo | George Brown College
Rob Phillips | Sheridan College
Kirk Patterson | University of Waterloo
Daniela Ibarra | Ryerson University

Award Winners 2013

College Winner:

Hargurdeep Singh, a 2nd year Mechanical Engineering Technology – Design & Drafting Co-op student at Sheridan College, has been selected as the winner of the 2013 Co-op Student of the Year in the College category. During his Co-op work term with the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies,
Hargurdeep stood out for his initiative, leadership and drive. He formed the Sheridan Engineering Association (SEA) which he quickly grew to 200+ members. Hargurdeep built a partnership between the SEA and The Tetra Society of North America. Their projects for the design of assistive devices for people with disabilities were added to curriculum allowing Hargurdeep and his colleagues to offer incredible value to this organization.

Through Hargurdeep’s efforts, Sheridan is the first college in Canada to have a student chapter with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Hargurdeep is a great example of what can happen when students choose to go above what is required and to give back to their classmates, program and school.

University Winner:

Massine Bouzerar, a 4th year Bachelor of Business Administration Co-op student at BrockUniversity has been selected as the winner of the 2013 Co-op Student of the Year Award in the University category. As a Financial Analyst Co-op student at Mondelez International, he spearheaded an audit of one of the divisions, making recommendations that would save the company $10 million over the long term and introducing an additional $140 million in potential business ventures. With a 93% average, Massine has also been a devoted advocate for Brock Co-op.

For the past 2 years he has participated in recruitment and liaison activities both on campus and in Toronto. Massine’s passion and fervor for entrepreneurship is evident in several of his current extracurricular roles. He serves as the President and Founder of Niagara Youth Business Education Initiative, which is a not-for-profit organization targeting youth to expose them to future careers in business.

Awards Committee

June Martin | Georgian College
Alexis Trejgo | George Brown College
Kirk Patterson | University of Waterloo
Daniela Ibarra | Ryerson University

Award Winners 2012

College Winner:

Patricia, a Bachelor of Applied Technology – School of Construction Management and Trades student at George Brown College nominated by Aecon Buildings, a Division of Aecon Construction Group Inc.
Each of these exceptional and deserving students received a certificate and cheque for $500. We at EWO encourage all Co-op practitioners and our valued Co-op employers to consider nominating outstanding students for these prestigious awards.

University Winner:

Valerie a Bachelor of Business Administration – Management student at the University of Toronto Scarborough nominated by Nestlé Canada Inc.

Awards Committee

Kathleen McDowell | U of Toronto Scarborough (Co-Chair)
Kathleen Winningham | Centennial College (Co-Chair)
Daniela Ibarra | Ryerson University
June Martin | Georgian College

Award Winners 2011

College Winner:

Patricia, a Bachelor of Applied Technology – School of Construction Management and Trades student at George Brown College nominated by Aecon Buildings, a Division of Aecon Construction Group Inc.
Each of these exceptional and deserving students received a certificate and cheque for $500. We at EWO encourage all Co-op practitioners and our valued Co-op employers to consider nominating outstanding students for these prestigious awards.

University Winner:

Valerie a Bachelor of Business Administration – Management student at the University of Toronto Scarborough nominated by Nestlé Canada Inc.

Awards Committee

Kathleen McDowell | U of Toronto Scarborough (Co-Chair)
Kathleen Winningham | Centennial College (Co-Chair)
Daniela Ibarra | Ryerson University
June Martin | Georgian College

Award Winners 2010

College Winner:

Stephanie Matzos is a Business Administration – Human Resources co-op student at Centennial College, in Toronto. Stephanie was nominated for her outstanding work while employed as a Human Resources Coordinator at The Children’s Wish Foundation. There, she established her leadership ability by implementing a years of service program, enhancing current job descriptions to better identify key competencies and developing an employee handbook. Stephanie also helped promote co-op education at Centennial by being a guest speaker in co-op classes where she spoke about her fantastic experience at Children’s Wish. Stephanie also has rounded her co-op experience by maintaining a 95% average in her program at Centennial. As demonstrated, Stephanie is an excellent choice for EWO Co-op student of the year.

University Winner:

Liane Langstaff is a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences Co-op student at the University of Guelph. Liane’s contributions to the food technology field through her work at the Guelph Food Technology Centre, are without question second to none for an undergraduate university co-op student. Her role as a Sustainability Consulting Student afforded her the opportunity to aide clients in integrating sustainability into their operations. Through her high productivity and “zest for learning”,Liane was a valued member of her team. The scope of Liane’s contributions is also evident through her leadership as a senior co-op student and ambassador for co-operative education.

Awards Committee

Kathleen McDowell | University of Toronto Scarborough
Kathleen Winningham | Centennial College
Pennie Schrader | University of Waterloo
Denise Olah | Seneca College
Daniela Ibarra | Ryerson University
June Martin | Georgian College

"Learning visual design and being able to practice it for the first time affirmed that I made the right decision.”
Christina Weng
Bachelor of Interaction Design
Post-secondary institution: Sheridan College
Recipient of the 2019 College Co-op Award from EWO

WIL Student of the Year Award Recipients

The EWO WIL Student of the Year Award recognizes one student (or group) attending a university and one student (or group) attending a college, who have showcased exceptional job/community accomplishment, extra-curricular involvement, and a strong contribution to Work-Integrated Learning.

Award Winners 2023

College Winner:

Andrew

Andrew Neary is a second-year Journalism – Mass Media student at Durham College. He is a volunteer, serial entrepreneur, and recipient of the Town of Ajax Entrepreneur of the Year award. He believes entrepreneurship should be accessible to everyone.
As a journalism student, Andrew endeavors to share people’s stories and amplify voices often left out of the spotlight. He brings his core goal – providing a voice to the voiceless – to many aspects of his life, including his work on the Founders Drive podcast, volunteering sharing multimedia skills with Indigenous Mayan students in Guatemala and his passion for supporting diverse entrepreneurs in his community with coaching and guidance.
Andrew plans to continue growing and helping others, giving and getting in equal measure and striving to be the best version of himself so he can empower those around him to reach their goals through empathy, compassion and kindness.

University Winner:

Ani-Keith

Keith has been nominated because of his commitment to educate himself and others with respect to work integrated learning in his placement, and on campus. Keith is a fourth year student with an excellent CGPA, extra-curricular/volunteer background and highly motivated personality. Keith was placed with Enviro-Think, a non-profit geared towards offering education opportunities to youths. Keith has been tasked with the completion of several projects that require him to utilize his advanced Python coding skills, learn new software for geocoding, and to manage a research team. I am impressed with Keith’s drive to participate in WIL projects and his passion for experiential learning. He is one of the few students that I have encountered who is genuinely interested in learning for its own sake. Keith is always seeking to improve and I have witnessed significant personal and professional growth during his journey through education and in his internship placement.

Honourable Mentions

College Category
Shenelle Morgan | Sheridan College

University Category
Sienna Markham | York University

Awards Committee

Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University (Chair)

Matt Wheatley | Algonquin College
Ben McDonald | University of Waterloo
Jason Peng | Mohawk College
Delnaz Khorshidchehr
| York University
Anne-Marie Zawadzki | University of Guelph
Shelly Hogan | Sheridan College

Award Winners 2022

College Winner:

Kelly Cabral is in her third year of the Child and Youth Care program at Sheridan College. After recovering from an illness that left her bed ridden, Kelly was determined to make a difference in the world. Kelly excelled in a remote field placement with Active Lives Day program; an opportunity to make meaningful connections with adult clients with exceptionalities and in particular, non-verbal participants and the technology they used to communicate. This led to a referral from the Director of Active Lives to volunteer with a developer on a speech therapy app, S.A.L.T. as a beta tester identifying issues and providing feedback. Kelly was recognized for her leadership for Bell Let’s Talk Day, spearheading Active Lives’ campaign, raising funds through 500+ social media posts.

Kelly hoped to leave a mark during her placement; instead, it left a mark with her.

University Winner:

Alyssa is a fourth year student with an exceptional CGPA. She has not only excelled in her academics but also in her extra-curricular/volunteer activities. Alyssa was awarded a competitive internship at the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC). During her internship she worked to provide timely written articles and organize public events and political conferences. Alyssa was nominated both for her exceptional work and the impact she has on the University of Toronto and its diverse community. Her outreach activities both with NAOC and at the university are exemplary and deserve higher recognition. Alyssa has been an incredibly positive force to promote worthy causes, including both women’s empowerment and racial equality, and to link these causes to the skills gained from WIL. She has served as a role model to other students and an example of how WIL can be leveraged to accomplish professional and personal goals.

Honourable Mentions

College Category
Jamie van Goozen | Sheridan College

University Category
Yanni Wang | York University

Awards Committee

Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University (Chair)

Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College
Matt Wheatley | Algonquin College
Delnaz Khorshidchehr | York University
Paula Stortz | University of Guelph
Shelly Hogan | Sheridan College

Award Winners 2021

College Winner:

Madison Horst is a student in the Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant program at Conestoga College, and the Student Representative on the Program Advisory Committee as well as a Peer-Assisted Learning Leader. She completed her work-integrated learning (WIL) field placement at Care Partners, where she piloted a new home care placement experience for her program – providing therapy for clients in their homes during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the pilot, she provided valuable feedback and suggestions to improve the placement experience and process for future students in order to meet the growing need for support in this unique setting. She is completing her third WIL placement experience with Grand River Hospital moving between the Total Joint/Neuro Rehab Clinic and the Senior Specialized Mental Health floor.

University Winner:

ArcGIS Bocaccio’s The Decameron 2021 is part of TMA forum and a Canada Program service-learning project created by Dr. Teresa Russo at University of Toronto (Victoria University in the University of Toronto). Amrita Brar, Mailey Horner, Hannah Guiang, Rion Levy, Anita. Sritharan, Sai Vipin Nikam, Josefina Novoa Reátegui, and Theodosiya Zyla developed teaching products to support teachers in teaching the Middle Ages, the pandemic, and Boccaccio’s tales. Students are grateful to Gianluca Agostinelli of the Niagara Catholic District School Board for his support of this project as our industry partner.

In the picture: four of the nominated students working on the ArcGIS with their professor (top row: Amrita Brar, Dr. Teresa Russo, Anita Sritharan; bottom row Josefina Novoa Reátegui, and Theodosiya Zyla; missing from the photo are Hannah Guiang, Mailey Horner, Rion Levy, and Sai Vipin Nikam).

Honourable Mentions

College Category
Franz Nagara | Sheridan College

Awards Committee

Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University (Chair)
Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College
Paul Needham | George Brown College
Matt Wheatley | Algonquin College
Delnaz Khorshidchehr | York University

Award Winners 2020

College Winner:

Rebekah Derle is a student in the Recreation and Leisure Services program at Conestoga College, and the Student Representative on the Program Advisory Committee. She completed her placement at St. Andrew’s Terrace long-term care home in the city of Cambridge, Ontario. She provided support in the Life Enrichment Department where she spent time each day with the residents to enrich their lives, especially during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She had learned how to plan, implement, and run programs safely for the residents at the home. She is also a musician who plays the trumpet – and uses her musical gifts to run music programs for the residents.

University Winner:

Selina Quibrantar is a fourth-year Human Biology and Population Health student at the University of Toronto (U of T), driven to foster change at the local and global level through investigating ways to address food insecurity. Through her applied research project with Black Creek Community Farm (BCCF), she investigated the inequities that include barriers to food security within Toronto, proposed a policy recommendation to alleviate food insecurity in the Ward 7 neighborhood, and created an executive summary document that was published and shared with the Toronto Food Policy Council to optimize Toronto’s role in managing community food assets. She then leveraged this WIL experience to initiate an independent project in the summer for the COVID-19 Student Engagement initiative with U of T Global, where she utilized her professional connection with BCCF, and extended WIL globally, to create a video series to enrich learning on campus.

Awards Committee

Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo (Co-Chair)
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College (Co-Chair)
Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University
Tammy McDowell | Georgian College
Paul Needham | George Brown College
Matt Wheatley | Algonquin College

Award Winners 2019

College Winner:

Tara Sottile is a second year Journalism – Mass Media diploma student at Durham College. She has a passion for writing, broadcast and video production. She is a radio tech at Riot Radio, Durham College’s student-run radio station, and a regular contributor to The Chronicle, the campus newspaper. Tara was also the recipient of the college’s Best First Year Commentary Award in 2019. She is passionate about telling stories, and helping other’s share their stories. She searches for meaning in all stories she produces and is focused on giving a voice to the voiceless. Tara hopes to continue telling stories and pursue a career in radio broadcast after graduating.

University Winner:

Anh-Mai is a Master of Education ISP student with her roots and undergraduate studies in Vietnam and her academic pursuit of a Masters degree in Canada.  As part of her educational journey, she participated in a Work-Integrated Learning field placement focused on Marketing & Communications; her area of expertise.  Anh Mai completed a full audit of social media activity at Brock University within the Faculty of Education, as well as three additional University’s use of social media.  From here she gathered overall social media demographic information, created a content calendar and provided a full report including future recommendations. Outside the experiential classroom, Anh-Mai has experience as a marketing specialist, holds the position of Marketing Officer for the Goodman School of Business’s Goodman Group, is a student Ambassador and also a Peer Mentor within a residence Living Learning Community and is a fully engaged graduate student.

Awards Committee

Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo (Co-Chair)
Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College (Co-Chair)
Tammy McDowell | Georgian College
Paul Needham | George Brown College

Award Winners 2018

College Winner:

“Life has taken me on many journeys, but nothing will break my determination and ambitions”. Cristina Pereira.  Growing up, home was not always the safe and supportive environment that it should be for a child.  Cristina went on to experience bullying at school, which led to anxiety, depression and at times, suicidal thoughts.  Early on, Cristina decided she wanted to dedicate her life to supporting the marginalized.  She designed and delivered an award-winning program to educate youth about the dangers of drugs. She raised funds for community projects, and engaged young women with addictions through soccer, empowering them to make meaningful lifestyle changes.  Following a workplace accident, Cristina needed to re-train due to a chronic injury and the Social Worker Diploma program at Sheridan was a natural choice.  She has quickly become nurturing support for classmates.  She motivates and supports them and helps them to excel.  At Sheridan, Cristina maintains an enviable academic record, has excelled on her professional practice, all the while juggling the responsibilities of motherhood.

University Winner:

Stephanie Lasica is a fourth year student in Brock University’s (Honours) Media and Communications Studies program with a Concentration in Digital Culture.  Upon graduating in June of 2019, she aspires to pursue a degree in Public Relations.  Within her capstone internship course this year, she has helped facilitate the annual Terry O’Malley Lecture and Grant Dobson Case Competition that are highly visible and well attended events on the campus.  This term, she will continue her work applying theory to practice as she plans and delivers the annual Connect Networking event hosted by This is My Niagara.  Aside from executing large events and all that goes with it, Stephanie uses the opportunity to hone her teamwork, critical thinking and presentation skills, knowing that her experience with the in-class and in-field aspects of her experiential courses have contributed to her personal narrative and personal brand, which ultimately will share her future career.

Awards Committee

Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo (Co-Chair)
Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College (Co-Chair)
Tammy McDowell | Georgian College
Paul Needham | George Brown College

EL Student of the Year Award Recipients

The EWO EL Student of the Year Award recognizes one student (or group) attending a university and one student (or group) attending a college, who have showcased exceptional job/community/project accomplishment, extra-curricular involvement, and a strong contribution to Experiential Learning.

Award Winners 2023

College Winner:

Fix group

Kailee discovered her passion for creativity and business in the Advertising and Marketing Communications Management program at Open House. In her current role, she blends creativity in her social posts with her business acumen.

After exploring her interests through travel and an experience at another school, Fiona found her niche in this program at Mohawk College. Her goal is to harness her creative and business savvy within the sports advertising industry.

Originally from Brazil, Estevan had ambitions to study abroad. At his mother’s suggestion, he enrolled at Mohawk College and fell in love with the industry after his first Art Direction class. Post-graduation, he has realized the joy of working in a field he loves.

Torn between art and business, Shelby chose Advertising and Marketing Communications Management for its balanced approach. She also studied Graphic Design and Consumer Behaviour to further expand her skillset, and is thrilled with her decision.

University Winner:

Catherine

Catherine Van Veen is a fourth year Public Health Student at Brock University. In addition to their studies at Brock, they hold provincial registration as a Practical Nurse, while also raising young daughters and working for their family business.

During their time at Brock, they have worked exceptionally hard to broaden their knowledge, and when they earned the opportunity to travel to Namibia in 2023 through the experiential course HLSC 4F93, they were both exhilarated and intimidated. However, they are forever thankful that they seized the moment as it has changed their life. They continue to nurture relationships with in-country partners and are proudly working with locals from Katutura, Namibia to develop a peer-to-peer support network for caregivers and implementing a research project exploring the impacts of peer support. By receiving this award, they hope to further inspire their daughters to persevere, even when it seems impossible.

Awards Committee

Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University (Chair)

Matt Wheatley | Algonquin College
Ben McDonald | University of Waterloo
Jason Peng | Mohawk College
Delnaz Khorshidchehr
| York University
Anne-Marie Zawadzki | University of Guelph
Shelly Hogan | Sheridan College

Award Winners 2022

College Winner:

Saz Mckean is a fourth-year student in the Honours Bachelor of Creative Writing and Publishing program at Sheridan College. In Winter 2022, Saz led two experiential learning opportunities at Sheridan: Executive Coordinator with Sheridan’s Student Union (SSU) and Editor-in-Chief for Serendipity, launching an original newsmagazine for the SSU. As Editor-in-Chief, Saz led the way for other students, hiring three editors and one social media coordinator, as well as creating other co-op and part-time jobs for students interested in contributing to the newsmagazine! Saz demonstrates initiative and creativity, developing the mission statement and brand standards for Serendipity. As a leader and mentor, they recognize the strengths of others while being self-aware of their personal strengths and opportunities for growth. The launch of Serendipity was an enormous success, exceeding all expectations and the experience provided Saz with insight to new business-related career opportunities in publishing, providing them with a new career path.

University Winner:

Natalie Cheung is a student in the second year of her undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. She is majoring in biochemistry and neuroscience, and is interested in environmental applications of chemistry, education, and helping those experiencing blindness. Her most recent experiential learning project involved analyzing phosphorus, carbon, and nitrogen levels in soil at the Toronto Zoo and UTSC Indigenous Medicine Garden to inform their agricultural plans. She’s also in the co-op program and has recently applied her experiences to securing a highly competitive research position with Environment and Climate Change Canada. She’s an engaged member of her community both within and beyond the institution, often dedicating her time outside of academic activities volunteering to support elderly and those experiencing visual disabilities.

Awards Committee

Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University (Chair)

Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College
Matt Wheatley | Algonquin College
Delnaz Khorshidchehr | York University
Paula Stortz | University of Guelph
Shelly Hogan | Sheridan College

Award Winners 2021

College Winner:

Samantha McNair is a dedicated, award-winning Interior Design student at Sheridan College who completed a ground-breaking EL experience!  In the summer of 2021, Samantha led a small team of other students to develop a podcast called 2 Designers and a Podcast.  She is a leader and a confident speaker who uses the podcast to share her industry knowledge and her curiosity to investigate current topics relevant in the world of interior design. Samantha’s exceptional leadership and organizational skills, along with her resilience and ability to be agile led to a successful podcast which has paved the way for future Sheridan students and industry partners to join the team and explore exciting new topics. Samantha’s friendly and inquisitive conversational style makes for thought-provoking discussions amongst a wide range of listeners!

University Winner:

Kiara Kalenuik, Ryanne Logan, Tory Shlanka (missing from the group photo), Kian Rego & Kahlan Woodhouse

We are a group of five undergraduate students from Brock University, representing First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and non-Indigenous settler backgrounds. The intention of this group was for undergraduate students of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds to come together in a safe, effective, learning environment and experience meaningful education on what Indigenous health in Canada looks like. Included in the group were two Indigenous leaders from Aboriginal Student Services, a health sciences professor, and the Assistant Director of Experiential Learning at Brock, both of whom are strongly committed to allyship. Despite the experience taking place exclusively via online platforms, a strong group connection developed with everyone’s dedication to experience transformational learning. The result was a year-long community-based research project to explore our own experiential learning journey about creating culturally safe pedagogical spaces. We are preparing this project for publication.

Honourable Mentions

University Category
Noah James | Brock University

Awards Committee

Andrew Bassingthwaighte | Brock University (Chair)
Lauren Broderick | University of Waterloo
Trent Jarvis | Mohawk College
Paul Needham | George Brown College
Matt Wheatley | Algonquin College
Delnaz Khorshidchehr | York University

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