Student of the Year Awards 2019

Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada) is pleased to celebrate the 2019 Work-Integrated Learning Students of the Year. Four students from across Canada, Ahmed Jawa, Christina Weng, Avie Olarte, and Tara Sottile earned top recognition for bringing their academic studies to life and making an impact in their workplaces, on their campuses, and with their lives.

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Ahmed Jawa, Student of the Year for Co-operative Education at a University, achieved a lot personally, academically and professionally through co-operative education at Brock University.   Working as a Junior Consultant with the United Nations Development Programme in Cambodia, he worked on incredible projects and with highly ranked individuals.  This exposed him to life as a consultant and helped him value the applicability of his Bachelor of Business Administration degree.  In his nomination, he stated, “Moments like these are what really develops character and makes a professional whole. While working at these organizations I was also able to build great connections… there were many moments where I felt my education had helped me achieve more.”

Christina Weng, Student of the Year for Co-operative Education at a College, is a student in Sheridan College’s Honours Bachelor of Interaction Design program. Christina worked with Microsoft Vancouver Garage where she was instrumental in the rebrand and user experience design of a Microsoft product that now has 120,000 downloads.  On campus, she is the Co-founder/President of the “Hackademics” club for whom she raised over $12,000 in sponsorship funds. Christina is an incredibly inspirational mentor to other students through resume workshops, portfolio reviews, mock interviews, job search articles and a Co-op podcast! Christina is a tremendous example for students of what can be achieved through a strategic job search. She has already accepted a full-time position with Facebook in California to begin after she graduates in April.

Avigail Marie Olarte, Student of the Year of Other Forms of Work-Integrated Learning at the University level,  is a Filipino storyteller, mentor, and community connector studying in the MA Intercultural and International Communication program at Royal Roads University. Having practiced journalism in the Philippines and Southeast Asia for 18 years, she believes in the power of the written word and how it effects change. As Here Magazine’s Community Engagement Director, she connected community partners, decision-makers, and stakeholders to address challenges newcomers face in Victoria. Avie is committed to decolonizing methods of communication to bridge the gap between the newcomer-immigrant and Indigenous communities, and to create platforms for storytelling for reconciliation. She abides by the word from the Nihiyaw (Cree) language, “tawaw” – which means “there's always room” – for communities to come together and say, we exist, we are alive, and we have a story to tell.

Tara Sottile, Student of the Year for Other Forms of Work-Integrated Learning at the College level, is a second year Journalism – Mass Media diploma student at Durham College. She has a passion for writing, broadcast and video production. According to her nominator, Tara has demonstrated the transformative influence that work-integrated learning (WIL) can have on students. Through service learning experience working on a digital storytelling project with youth in Guatemala, she has transformed from a passive-observer to an engaged learner and confident student journalist. 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. 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.


Student of the Year Awards 2018

Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada) is pleased to celebrate the 2018 Work-Integrated Learning Students of the Year. Four students from across Canada, Nathan Duarte, Lawrence Young, Kira Cheeseborough, and Natasha Mando earned top recognition for bringing their academic studies to life and making an impact in their workplaces, on their campuses, and with their lives.

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Nathan Duarte is a third-year Biomedical Engineering co-op student at the University of Waterloo, who has completed work terms at Synaptive Medical and Harvard University. His experience involves researching and developing strategies and materials to successfully 3D print kidney tissues. His contributions span the university campus as well. As founder of the university’s Biotechnology and Bioengineering Conference, Nathan helps expose his peers to cutting-edge developments in the biomedical field and provides opportunities for students to connect with industry or academic partners in similar areas of expertise.

Lawrence Young is a student in Sheridan College’s Computer Systems Technology – Software Development & Network Engineering program. He participated in RBC’s Amplify program, where he took an active role within the team to develop a solution to their online customer chat business challenge and became the most sought after grad in the past three years. Back on campus Lawrence has presented to groups of students to promote co-operative education and coached students on job search.

Kira Cheeseborough is a Thompson Rivers University Bachelor of Social Work student in her third year. She completed a work-integrated learning practicum experience as a Peer Support Worker for A Way Home Kamloops from January-May 2018. There, Kira led the development of an Education Peer Navigation program for youth who have experienced homelessness at university. Kira began her academic journey faced with adversity and her drive and ability to self-advocate helped her navigate through various supports on and off campus to help her attain her goals.

Natasha Mando is, according to her nominator, "a determined student who has been successful in her Practical Nursing program at Mohawk College because of her drive and dedication.” Although Natasha faced several obstacles as a deaf student during her clinical placements, her drive and dedication made her step outside of her comfort zone to provide the best care for her patients. Described as a trailblazer, Natasha researched and acquired assistive technologies including a stethoscope that is used by hearing-impaired clinicians that displays the sound of a patient’s heart and lungs visually. Each clinical placement was equally impactful for Natasha as it was for her preceptors and colleagues, many who learned American Sign Language and new clinical techniques as a way to make her feel welcomed and included.

Co-op Student of the Year Awards 2017

Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) announces the 2017 Co-op Students of the Year: Emily Pass, University of Waterloo and Robin Stone, Camosun College.

Rising to the top, from a field of 27 nominees, Emily and Robin embodied all the attributes of outstanding co-op students by making a significant impact in their co-op work term, achieving high academic performance, showing commitment to enhancing the profile of co-operative education at their post-secondary institutions, and making a difference in their communities.

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Emily Pass, Faculty of Science, Astronomy and Physics

Work term: Centre for Planetary and Space Exploration, University of Western Ontario

  • Emily single-handedly wrote and completed a data analysis pipeline for Colibri, a rapid-imaging astronomical experiment. Within 6 weeks, she had completed a year’s worth of work. She has created a 13-page scientific paper on her work, published in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. This successfully went through a rigorous peer-review process during her summer 2017 academic term.
  • Spoke to a group of prominent donors about the value of co-operative education during the 2014 University of Waterloo President’s Reception.
  • Served as both co-president and communications manager for the Waterloo Space Society, connecting industry experts to students.
  • Recipient of the Schulich Leader Scholarship, valued at $60,000. Emily is 1 of only 270 in Canada to receive this.

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Robin Stone is currently completing the fourth year of her Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting degree at Camosun College and completed her second co-op work term in the IM/IT Capital Investment Branch within the Ministry of Citizens’ Services for the BC Government.

During her work term, Robin played an integral role in the successful completion of two major projects the first of which revolved around the investment intake cycle and its use of a new online application system. Robin developed training materials and sessions for all ministries using the new application system, and led the generation of quantitative and qualitative analysis on each case submitted.  

The second project involved a learning/training program Robin developed and proposed. This program, titled “The League of Digital Heroes”, connected leadership training and peer-support learning across the ministry and utilized a unique gamified platform. It is a program that provides leaders a practical way by which to apply any theoretical leadership concepts to a real-world setting.

Robin had a tremendously positive impact on the Ministry of Citizens’ Services during her work term and also on her community. She is an active member of Toastmasters where she holds various leadership roles and mentors other members in addition to leadership roles with Camosun’s student business competition group DECA and advocacy roles of the co-op program to her peers.


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Honorable mentions were awarded to Victoria Marando from McMaster University and Shannon Nordal of Red River College College.


Wall of Fame