ACE Students Of The Year
Each year, ACE recognizes two students for their outstanding performance as co-operative education students. Click on a year to read about these students' accomplishments.
Stephanie Wong, Simon Fraser University
Stephanie Wong, a Simon Fraser University (SFU) marketing major was selected among seven other university candidates to receive this distinction due to her work term with L’Oreal Canada and her “rare blend of academic excellence, outstanding work ethic, and passion for giving back to her community” according to Muriel Klemetski, Director of Work Integrated Learning at SFU.
As a marketing intern with L’Oreal’s Consumer Products division, Stephanie displayed an exceptional aptitude for strategic thinking, public relations, and social media marketing. Her “passion, dedication, professionalism…high quality of work and efficiency made her an extremely valuable addition to the team” noted L’Oreal Product Manager, Leslie Golts. This highly accomplished student leader credits her “diverse and rich prior co-op experience” with landing her in this very coveted role.
Through her co-op work term, Stephanie was able to apply what she was learning through her academics in a practical, real world setting. She exceeded the expectations of her supervisors and made tremendous contributions to the L’Oreal team.
Stephanie now acts as a passionate advocate for co-operative education and as a mentor to young women as founding President and Senior Advisor for Young Women in Business (YWiB). Most recently she received a $20,000 HSBC Women in Business Leadership Award and was hand selected to participate in SFU President, Andrew Petter’s high profile strategic visioning project, Envision. Stephanie is truly an up-and-coming business leader and someone to watch.
Jaimy Simmonds, Camosun College
Jaimy Simmonds co-op experience with Strategic Forest Management demonstrated that she is capable of stretching her knowledge in technical areas. As an Associate of Arts degree student majoring in Geography, she accepted the challenging position of Jr. GIS Technician despite having limited exposure to mapping, database management, and graphic design.
The opportunity to apply her coursework and gain new technical skills helped Jaimy achieve “many personal development goals and learn more about geography and the workplace than can be taught in a classroom” she states. She also gives credit to Strategic Forest Management for providing her with a working environment that facilitated her learning and realize her strengths.
Brad Sedola, GIS Coordinator with Strategic Forest Management highlighted Jaimy’s “eye for detail and ability to focus” as reasons why she proved to be a valuable asset to the GIS team. Gloria Darroch, Director of Camosun College’s Co-operative Education and Student Employment department highlighted Jaimy’s contributions and project management skills as well, “the amount of trust Jaimy has earned is evident in the increasing responsibility she (was) given.”
This accomplishment is particularly rewarding for Jaimy as she initially relocated to Victoria in order to attend Camosun and assist her father who is coping with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). In fact, Jaimy attributes her “full and inspired life” to the challenges and realities of her family situation. Her caring, passionate personality is further evidenced by her fondness for the experience she gained through co-op working with Strategic Forest Management in Port McNeil, “[My] time here has extended beyond the reaches of the office and employment to include an understanding and breadth in my field that I could not have imagined. Back to top
Brie Ansell, Camosun College
Brie Ansell, a third year student in the Environmental Technology diploma at Camosun College, completed her first work term at the Fleet Maintenance Facility Environment Section at the Canadian Forces Base in Esquimalt. Her major project for the work term was to develop Best Management Practises (BMP) for the chromium electroplating processes in the metal finishing shop. A by product of chromium electroplating is hexavalent chromium gas which is toxic and known to cause cancer. Brie had no prior knowledge of the electroplating industry, and her Supervisor, Nicole Schaaf, an Environmental Technologist, explains “she was able to grasp this highly technical and complex topic in a very short time frame. Her level of understanding was far beyond that expected of a co-op student”.
The BMP’s she developed were the first written for an electroplating shop in North America. Not only did she reinforce key decisions for the new electroplating facility to be constructed, she presented them convincingly to senior federal government decision makers. By incorporating her recommendations, huge strides will be made to minimize the environmental impact of this toxic process. In addition, her guidelines will create an estimated cost savings of 10,000 per year for this facility alone, and they will be considered in the incorporation of a design of a new facility which could result in even more cost savings
After returning to school after running her own business as a finishing carpenter, she has been top of her class throughout her time in the program and earned many awards as an outstanding student. She actively encourages 1st and 2nd year Environmental Technology students to pursue co-op and contributes her time as a volunteer to environmental issues including the Gorge Waterway Cleanup, “Spread the Net” Campaign, testing water in the Esquimalt Lagoon, and most recently volunteering in Nicaragua to help with a fish research project.
Her intention is to obtain her B.Sc in Technology (Environment) and continue raising awareness of and creating solutions to environmental issues.
Megan Magee, University of British Columbia
Megan Magee, a fourth year UBC Bachelor of Arts (Sociology major/English Literature minor) co-op student completed her third work term with the Public Affairs department at BC Transmission Corporation. She joined the BCTC department during the integration with BC Hydro, which created an extraordinarily challenging time for BCTC. She was required to step up to the plate to take on projects in which she had little experience. During the work term, she was described as having exceptional professionalism, and ”she handled a very difficult situation far better than I expected of any employee, and showed herself to be one of the most valuable co-op students we have ever worked with” states her Supervisor, Thoren Hudyma, Director, Capital Projects.
Her work at BCTC involved completing assessments of project generation projects looking to connect to the electrical grid. These assessments were the first step to delivering the core function of the department - public consultations on infrastructure projects. She also assisted with developing the necessary materials, co-ordinating key public consultation events for these and many other projects, as well as writing articles for the employee newsletter. Although this type of work is typically done by professional communicators with significant project experience, she proved herself to be a stronger writer than communicators with many more years of experience.
In addition to her commitment to excellence in the workplace, Meghan has shown dedication to the Arts Co-op programs as an active member of the Arts Co-op Students Association and as a mentor for 3 junior students. She also promotes the UBC Arts co-op program to prospective students at various events, including the Arts” Meet the Dean” session with over 1,000 first year students. With her academic and leadership accomplishments, she has received numerous scholarships and awards, including the UBC Arts Co-op Student of the Year Award
Through participating in her co-op work term with BC Hydro, she is confident in the skills and experiences gained and will pursue a career in communications. Her 5 year goal includes attaining a junior management position in external communications. Back to top
Mona Jalili , Simon Fraser University
Mona Jalili, a fourth year Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology co-op student, has been described by her co-op supervisor, Dr. Stephen Robinovitch (Canada Research Chair in Injury Prevention and Mobility Biomechanics), as having “strong intellect, organizational skills, scientific curiosity, drive and interpersonal skills”, along with “a natural aptitude for laboratory-based and clinical research”. These skills allowed Mona to play a key role during her co-op work term with the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Injury Prevention and Mobility Laboratory where she assisted with two research projects related to the prevention of falls and fall-related hip fractures in older adults. Her contributions included: assisting with a successful research grant application (for $1.5M over 5 years), coordinating with health care providers, facility administrators and residents to recruit study participants, collecting and analyzing various types of data, and co-authoring several manuscripts and conference submissions. Her research results won the Best Undergraduate Research Award at the SFU Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology Annual Research Day in 2009. Her commitment and drive is further demonstrated in her involvement with the SFU Co-op community and beyond. Mona has been an enthusiastic ambassador of her co-op program through co-chairing a “Careers in Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology” event that brought together co-op alumni, current and potential co-op employers, and current and potential co-op students. She also contributes to the community at large – she is an executive member of the SFU Campus Association for Bahá'í Studies, an organizer for YMCA Camp Howdy, and the developer of an English Conversation class for new immigrants. As Mona nears graduation, she hopes to continue with further studies in pharmacy, a path that became clear to her through her participation in the co-op program. She notes: “my co-op journey has made it possible for me to balance education, volunteering, regular religious activities and work as a researcher, while helping me to find the answer to “What do I want to do with my life?”.
Katherine Williams, Camosun College
Katherine Williams, who recently graduated from Camosun College's Computer Systems Technology diploma program, obtained high academic achievement, impressive work integrated learning experiences and made ongoing contributions to both college and co-operative education. She was described by the Director of Co-operative Education and Student Employment, as one of the strongest Co-operative Education students we have seen in a long time.. She was nominated by Enquisite Inc, a software company for Internet advertising, where she showcased her ability to effectively learn new programming languages at an amazing rate. Her outstanding work-related achievements in her 4 months at Enquisite included completing programming of two critical applications: a rewrite of the software code for the Enquisite Dashboard, and sketching and creating the complete application for the Enquisite Management Control Centre. It was estimated that both applications saved the company approximately $50,000 in development time and have lead to greater customer loyalty. Her employer estimates a $150,000 impact on their business on an annualized basis. Described by her supervisor as "an exemplary Co-op student, certainly the best co-op student we've ever had (we've had over a dozen)", Katherine exceeded their expectations on all fronts. Katherine actively supported her co-op program by participating at Orientation Sessions as a student panel presenter, participating in mock interviews, and greeting employers and students at the Career Fair. In addition to her studies, she is an active volunteer for her church and community, She currently manages the church's photo directory and online library, as well as she trained the founder of a local humanitarian aid group, and updated his organization's website. During her 2 year program, her incredible 95% GPA lead her to receive department recognition for her academic success with two awards. She plans to bridge to UVic to obtain a bachelors degree in Software Engineering, and is currently completing an internship with CanAssist, a small organization making technology more accessible to people with special needs. Thanks to all her co-op experiences, Katherine says "she is leaving the Camosun program feeling like a developer instead of a student". Back to top
Jennifer LeMercier , Camosun College
Camosun College Environmental Technology student Jennifer LeMercier spent her first work term with the Ministry of Forests and Range, Protection Program, as a wildland fire science technician in Victoria and Prince George studying the effects of the mountain pine beetle on the forest. While her commitment to the job included voluntarily taking extra training courses, her dedication to the environment went beyond that. “Jennifer took every occasion to introduce green ideas in the work place and to lead by example,” says her supervisor, Nathalie Lavoie. “This was above and beyond her job description and the whole office benefitted from her actions.” According to Lavoie, LeMercier demonstrated a level of maturity seldom encountered in students.
LeMercier has used that initiative to self-develop her second work term. She’s applying her knowledge in environmental education to work with environmentally conscious clients at Rocketday Arts, a graphic design company in Victoria, where she’s also learning new skills in graphic and web design.
Marion Oke says LeMercier impressed the ACE selection committee with her well rounded application. Along with strong recommendations, she demonstrated involvement in volunteer and community activities, including Camosun Students of Environmental Awareness. She had also received recognition through two other awards and acquired significant additional training and certification.
LeMercier is in her final year of the Environmental Technology program and will graduate in June 2009. She plans to continue working at Rocketday to complete projects she has on the go, such as working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands to develop branding and a website for a Climate Action Initiative for B.C. farmers.
Eventually she wants to complete a degree in Global Natural Resources (at UBC) or in environmental education and become a teacher. However, she may be looking beyond the classroom. “Since my co-op this semester I've learned that environmental education can also be conducted through graphic design, websites and brochures” says LeMercier. In whatever form it takes, she is committed to teahcing others about the environment.
Dorian Gangloff, University of British Columbia
Dorian Gangloff, 5th year UBC Engineering Physics student, has proven himself to be a very keen, motivated, interested and interesting individual who has always demonstrated a high level of professionalism and positivity. As a co-op student, Dorian is truly a model co-op student and has shown himself to be a top performer in each of his four co-op work terms. From an academic standpoint, Dorian is by far one of the top students who has made it through the very challenging Engineering Physics program and he has been awarded numerous University scholarships and awards. In August 2008, Dorian also received honourable mention (he was ranked in the top 15 out of 90) in a national undergraduate poster competition, Rising Stars of Research, held at UBC.
Throughout his work term evaluations and site visits, Dorian has maintained a track record of receiving the highest possible grading in the area of technical and soft skills. For his final work term in Summer 2008, Dr. Andre Longtin gave Dorian a “10 out of 10” and stated that “Dorian is fantastic – technically his background is great and he has learned a great deal in the area of neuroscience through his own initiative. He is eager, self-directed and possesses excellent problem-solving skills. He’s a real pleasure to work with”.
Along with Dorian’s stellar co-op career, he has developed into a leader by being elected President of the UBC Engineering Physics Student Society, which comprises of approximately 250 students. Dorian’s leadership skills are well honed, he is highly respected amongst his peers and no doubt his friendly and approachable personality have contributed to his success.
Dorian’s support and promotion of the Co-op program has been ongoing. In the last couple of years, he has presented at a number of outreach initiatives put on by the Engineering Physics program, both to high school and 1st year Engineering students. He was able to present an overview of his co-op experience and the benefits he derived by combining his undergraduate degree with co-operative education. Overall Dorian says "Co-op is the professional framework that propelled me into a variety of exciting environments. It allowed me to experience and piece together the type of work that I can be passionate about. Undoubtedly, I have also collected technical and soft skills that make me a confident and particularly marketable graduate." Back to top
Paul R. Carriere, Simon Fraser University
Paul Carriere, a fifth year Engineering Science student at Simon Fraser University, showed early on that he was striving for a challenging and rewarding academic experience. Not only did he choose to specialize in Engineering Physics, arguably the most demanding option of SFU's Engineering Program, he wasted no time pursuing his first co-op work term eager to begin transferring his academic knowledge to the work place. Paul has said that "...because of co-op, I proved that I was capable of being a researcher. [Co-op] showed me that my career goal was even more rewarding than I ever expected."
Paul completed his first work term with Lighthaus Logic Inc., and his second and third as a Junior Research Engineer with D-Wave Systems. The world’s first and only source of quantum computing for commercial applications, D-Wave hired Paul to design and test their I/O system wide-band filters as well as their broadband superconducting cryogenic microwave filter concept. Dr. Mark Scivier, Paul’s supervisor and Director of Research and Development for D-Wave, described Paul as an “… exceptional student who has worked extremely hard and produced important results for us on a key development. I am very grateful to Paul, who has done a fantastic job, and to SFU for giving us the opportunity to have Paul work with us.”
A socially responsible student at heart, Paul has held executive positions with the Simon Fraser University Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) for the past 3 years. As an active member of this global not-for-profit organization that promotes human development through access to technology, Paul has worked tirelessly to raise money via Lions and Rotary Clubs in the Lower Mainland to support EWB’s overseas and in-Canada projects and activities.
It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with students as enthusiastic, committed, and dedicated to their co-op and academic experience as Paul. A very thoughtful and engaging individual, Paul exemplifies what it means to be an active, socially responsible, and engaged future engineer.
Kevin Ginley, Camosun College
Kevin Ginley, Diploma of Applied Communication co-op student, has been described by Camosun College co-op staff as a wonderful ambassador for co-operative education, always willing to go the extra mile, not only for fellow students but also as a model for the employer community.
Kevin has received strong employer reviews from his co-op employer, describing his professionalism, dependability, and skill of design. His co-op supervisor, Lisa Baergen of Agresso Corporation, noted that Kevin “proved to be an invaluable asset to our team” – so much so that Kevin has been offered permanent employment with Agresso after he graduates from his co-op program.
Ginley noted that with his co-op work term with Agresso, “I now have a portfolio of work I am proud of, a renewed sense of self-worth, the confidence to be a professional in the working world, and a job waiting for me after I graduate.” Back to top
The inaugural Student of the Year Award is presented this year to the following students in recognition of their achievement:
Morgan Anderson, University of Northern British Columbia
Morgan Anderson is a stellar student at the University of Northern British Columbia, whose exceptional work for Parks Canada at Kootenay National Park won her the distinction of Association for Co-operative Education BC/Yukon Student of the Year. As a wildlife specialist, Morgan was involved in the technical aspects of wildlife study and management, presenting her findings professionally and effectively to everyone from scientists to school children. Her supervisor recognized Morgan for her capability, noting that her work was completed amazingly promptly and of the highest quality, far exceeding expectations. For her part, Morgan noted that the range experience she gained in her 4-month work term would be hard to get over an entire degree.
Heather Richards and Richard Crowley (team submission), Malaspina University College
Heather Richards and Richard Crowley were paired in their nomination from Malaspina University College. They shared recognition, and the Student of the Year Award, for their work with the District of Ucluelet. Their work in researching and developing a Riparian Bylaw for the Official Community Plan, building on work done by previous co-op students, resulted in an invitation for the two of them to present their findings for an international panel of judges at the United Nations International Awards for Liveable Communities conference in Hangzhou, China. Selected for gold and silver awards at that event, Heather and Richard brought international attention to the ability of co-operative education students and the value of co-op partnerships for both the employer and the community. Back to top