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2015 Co‑op Awards: showcasing exceptional workplace learning experiences

Posted by Geoffrey Smith on April 14, 2015 in News, Students, Undergraduate, Awards, Students

While the co-op student experience varies greatly across sectors and academic programs, excellence is found everywhere. This was the prevailing theme during the 2015 Co-op Awards on March 26, hosted by Dalhousie University’s Science, Information Technology, Engineering Co-operative Education.

“Co-op would not be possible without the dedication of our employers and our students, many of whom go beyond the call of duty to create exceptional co-op learning experiences,” said Doug Gallant, Director of the co-op office. “These awards highlight the incredible transformative learning experiences our office hears about every day.”

Co-op staff were joined by co-op employers, students and faculty at the event, where awards were presented to the Top 6 Co-op Employers on the Planet and the Co-op Students of the Year for the faculties of Science, Computer Science and Engineering.

Co-op Student of the Year

To be nominated as Co-op Student of the Year, students must have two outstanding work term performance appraisals, two outstanding work term reports, letters of support from an employer and a faculty member and demonstrate how co-op has enhanced their education.

Tyler Pachal

Computer Science student Tyler Pachal demonstrated an ability to learn quickly, strong technical aptitude and great communication skills during his work terms with Thompson Creek Mining Ltd., Lockheed Martin Canada and Teck Resources—with whom he returned for an optional fourth work term.

Co-op Director Doug Gallant (left) presents the Co-op Student of the Year award to Computer Science co-op student Tyler Pachal (right). (Image courtesy of Nick Pearce)

“Tyler looked for new ways of doing things and didn't hesitate to suggest alternatives,” shared Tyler’s co-op supervisor David Morris, Senior Analyst with Teck Resources. “He was an excellent co-op student and performed fantastically when presented with very challenging projects.”

Top 6 Co-op Employers on the Planet 

The student-driven Top 6 Co-op Employers on the Planet are determined by the quality of work assignments, supervision and environment. Students nominated 32 organizations for 2015, of which a winner was selected to represent each of the six major sectors that hire science, computer science and engineering co-op students.

“Although it may sound cliché to say that just being nominated is an honour, in this case it is actually true,” says Gallant. “Co-op students balance a full course-load, their co-op job search and in many cases, part-time jobs. For these extremely busy people to submit a written nomination indicates that their co-op experience must have been truly inspiring.”

Below are the awards that were given based on nominations from our Faculty of Computer Science students:

Shannon Wright, Regional Manager, Applications Public Works and Government Services, CIO Branch

Computer Science student Brittany Kelly truly loved her work as Systems Analyst for Public Works and Government Services. Brittany’s nomination cited the exceptional work environment, challenging projects, supportive coworkers and co-op supervisor Shannon Wright’s genuine care for Brittany’s professional development.

Co-op student Brittany Kelly (centre) presents a Top 6 award to Shannon Wright (right) of Public Work and Government Services. (Image courtesy of Nick Pearce)

“I was out with some friends who asked me about my job,” recalls Brittany. “After explaining what I was working on, they looked at me and said 'aww, you love your job!' And I do. I felt that I really was playing a part in the branch, and was never just 'some student.'"

Dylan Boudreau, General Manager Magic Lamp Software Solutions

Computer Science student Matthew Burke worked with Magic Lamp for two work terms, where he made valuable contributions to a number of projects. Matthew credits his exceptional co-op experience to Magic Lamps’ supportive culture and insightful feedback from fully invested supervisors, including Dylan Boudreau and Dalhousie alumnus Scott Power.

Co-op student Matthew Burke (centre) presents the Top 6 award to Scott Power (right) of Magic Lamp Software Solutions. (Image courtesy of Nick Pearce)

“The work environment allowed for a high degree of collaboration with the various senior developers at Magic Lamp,” wrote Matthew. “This allowed me to receive a great amount of feedback and guidance in my projects at Magic Lamp. It was clear to me that my colleagues had a definite interest in my personal development as a consultant and a programmer.”