News > Press Release: Co-op Students of the Year 2016!

Press Release: Co-op Students of the Year 2016!

posted on March 8, 2017


NEWS RELEASE for 2016 Co-op Students of the Year Awards


Toronto, ON, March 7, 2017 – The Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE) announces the 2016 Co-op Students of the Year: Brianna Guild, University of Guelph and Kaye Mao, Sheridan College.

Rising to the top, from a field of 17 nominees, Brianna and Kaye 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.

Brianna Guild recently completed her final semester of the Biochemistry Co-op program at the University of Guelph. She was nominated for the CAFCE Co-op Student of the Year award by her co-op coordinator, Andrew Kramer and her co-op employer, Dr. Jim Uniacke, Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph. “Brianna works very well within our team and can collaborate with a variety of different people within or outside our department,” says Dr. Unicacke. “She has, without a doubt, improved morale and work ethic within our team through her leadership and positive energy.” 

During her work term, Brianna played a key role in developing a procedure to culture human cells in physiological oxygen using a hypoxia workstation; this procedure garnered national media attention. She also co-authored a manuscript that was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Visualized Experiments, and that will accompany the video of the procedure. She has presented her work at several local and national meetings and won best undergraduate poster at the Guelph Neuroscience Day. Brianna is the recipient of the University of Guelph's Co-op Student of the Year Award and the Collin Cureatz Memorial Award for Co-op Student Involvement. 

Kaye Mao is a student in Sheridan College’s new Interaction Design program and is the first Sheridan student to be selected for a co-op term with Google in New York. Kaye’s strength as a leader quickly became evident as she not only led a team with Google, but also increased motivation and classroom attendance in her program. Kaye demonstrated leadership by founding the Sheridan Interaction Design Association. As a volunteer, she mentors her colleagues in finding positions and has represented her program as a Sheridan Ambassador. Kaye divides her time between a personal blog to promote the co-op program and the association, and social media marketing. Kaye’s wealth of professional experience is highlighted by her academic achievements and volunteerism in the community. She has demonstrated incredible drive, positivity, and the ability to excel academically, professionally and personally. Kaye is an exemplary representative of Sheridan College and of Co-operative Education.

In addition to receiving a $500 cash award from CAFCE, with a certificate to commemorate their achievements, Brianna Guild and Kaye Mao will each receive the $500 Emery-Dufault Award. The Emery-Dufault Award was established by CAFCE in 2003 in recognition of the contributions of two of the founding fathers of co-operative education in Canada, Dr. Charles Leslie (Les) Emery and Professor George Joseph Dufault. Les Emery first introduced the idea of co-operative education to Waterloo College Associate Faculties, the forerunner of the University of Waterloo. His proposal and subsequent work led to the establishment in 1957 of the first co-operative education program in Canada. George Dufault set up and headed the Department of Co-ordination, now known as Co-operative Education and Career Action department, until 1958.

Each year CAFCE recognizes outstanding co-op student achievement at the College and University level. Co-op offices across Canada will be celebrating this and other co-op initiatives during National Co-operative Education Week, March 20-24, 2017. Currently there are 85 CAFCE member institutions across Canada and the U.S., representing more than 80,000 students.

Honorable mentions were awarded to Adam Keating from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Amanda Barratt of Conestoga College.


Laurie Lahn
Chair, CAFCE Co-op Students of the Year Awards Selection Committee (2016) 416.999.7148 |



Brianna_Guild.jpg                        kaye_mao_smaller.jpg
Brianna Guild, University of Guelph            Kaye Mao, Sheridan College