April 17, 2020
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University is recognizing two students with Co-op Student of the Year awards.
The awards program recognizes deserving co-op students based on achievements during their work term, with nominations submitted by co-op employer partners. Laurier’s Co-operative Education team received a record number of nominations for the 2019 work term and for the first time selected two award recipients.
“The co-op experiences highlighted in the recipients’ nominations exemplify the significant learning opportunities available to our students and the magnitude of the contributions students can make within organizations,” said Jan Basso, Laurier’s assistant vice-president of Experiential Learning and Career Development. “We read over and over again how our students were insightful, innovative and enthusiastic. They demonstrated a strong work ethic, drive and, most importantly, were impactful.”
Recipients of the 2019 Co-op Student of the Year award include:
Donaldson, who is completing an honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree, made significant contributions at Ontario Power Generation (OPG) during his fall 2019 co-op placement.
“Laurier’s co-op program has allowed me to gain valuable work experiences that have helped me to build networks and connections, as well as given me the opportunity to explore different career paths,” said Donaldson, who will graduate in fall 2020. “During this position, I stepped out of my comfort zone and gained the courage to take on any challenge.”
Heather Convay, Donaldson’s co-op supervisor at the Nuclear Waste Management department of OPG, nominated him for the award based on his solution-oriented work ethic, ability to inspire others and implementation of a streamlined dashboard application.
“Tyler’s outlook and contagious effort made working with him exciting and refreshing,” said Convay, the acting section manager for radioactive materials transportation with OPG. “It was a highlight of my career to work with Tyler.”
During his co-op term, Donaldson created a computer application that leverages the capabilities of the Nuclear Waste Management department’s internal database of radioactive shipments. Convay said use of the application is providing valuable efficiencies.
“Between academics and work-term experience during co-op, I have developed a fantastic set of skills and an increased confidence to achieve my future goals,” said Donaldson.
Keunen, a student in Laurier’s Department of Computer Science, is completing a work term at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). His co-op term began in May 2019 and will continue until August 2020.
“It is great being part of the Canadian health-care system and seeing everyone working hard in the background to improve doctors’ abilities to care for all people who need help,” said Keunen.
Keunen is engaged in projects within the Centre for Image Guided Innovation and Therapeutic Intervention (CIGITI) lab at SickKids, where he collaborates with an interdisciplinary team of oncologists, medical physicists, computer scientists and biologists, and is involved in collaborative projects with the STTARR facility at the University Health Network.
In his role, Keunen is using his skills in software development and computer science to contribute important software modifications that improve lab experiments.
“It’s great knowing that I’ve been part of developing and testing software that will help promote healing in even more cases where current treatments are difficult,” said Keunen.
Adam Waspe, Keunen’s co-op supervisor and senior High Intensity Focused Ultrasound project manager at SickKids, nominated him for the award, noting that Keunen is responsible, professional and has overcome steep learning curves to make important contributions. Keunen recently submitted an abstract of his work with the CIGITI lab to the Imaging Network Ontario symposium and was awarded a podium presentation.
“Ben has a promising career ahead of him,” said Waspe. “He sets an example for other students on how to have a successful co-op experience.”
Laurier supports the largest business degree co-op program in Canada and has more than 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in arts, business, and science co-op programs. For more information, or to hire a co-op student, please visit wlu.ca/co-op or connect with us at email@example.com.
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Laurie Lahn, Associate Director: Co-operative Education and External Relations
Experiential Learning and Career Development, Wilfrid Laurier University
Lori Chalmers Morrison, Director: Integrated Communications
External Relations, Wilfrid Laurier University