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March 31, 2009 1:31 PM

Conestoga Names Co-op Students and Employer of the Year

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March 23-27 was National Co-op Week, recognizing the value and importance of co-operative education at Canada's colleges and universities, and Conestoga College marked the occasion by naming the recipients of its Co-op Student of the Year Award, as well as a Co-op Employer of the Year. The awards were given at a special reception to mark National Co-op Week, on Thursday, March 26 at the Blue Room of Conestoga's Doon campus in Kitchener.

The purpose of the student awards is to celebrate the hard work and dedication that these outstanding co-op students have displayed during their work terms. From the first step of creating and perfecting their resumes, to the last step of the completion of their co-op employment, the amount of effort that goes into the co-op process each year is remarkable and praiseworthy.

The employer award acknowledges not only the support and encouragement that co-op employers provide to students, but also the high quality of professionalism that co-op employers and supervisors bring to their role and their excellence in this important learning process.

The Co-op Student of the Year winners are Marcin Czajkowski of Kitchener and Kathleen Morrison of Guelph, with honourable mention going to Parminderjit Rull of Guelph. The Co-op Employer of the Year is Waterloo-based Research In Motion (RIM).

Marcin Czajkowski is a student in the Electronics Engineering Technology - Telecommunications Systems diploma program. He is in the process of completing four consecutive, four-month co-op work terms at RIM as a hardware engineering assistant. His attitude, initiative and excellent performance have given him the opportunity to work on multiple assignments with a variety of project teams, and he has been commended for his outstanding contributions to productivity and efficiency. At Conestoga, he serves as a peer tutor/peer support group leader and Chair of the student chapter of IEEE, an international association of engineering professionals.

Kathleen Morrison completed her postgraduate certificate program in Human Resources Management in the fall of 2007 and then began her co-op employment at Boehmer Box Corporation in Kitchener in January 2008. She has assisted with the firms development of a pre-employment testing and screening procedure as well as conducting a variety of employee communication initiatives. She played a role in revising and redrafting company safety policies, and has served as a human resources representative at numerous departmental meetings. Her supervisors recognized her for her professionalism, openness and trustworthiness. She has been hired by Boehmer Box as their Human Resources Coordinator. In her hometown of Guelph, she is also active in a number of volunteer enterprises at locations such as St. Joseph Health Centre and the University of Guelph Childcare and Learning Centre.

Parminderjit Rull has done her co-op terms at Conestoga, working in the Purchasing Department, providing valuable skills learned in her Business Administration - Materials and Operations Management diploma program. During her two consecutive four-month terms, she aided the department in its important goal of reducing the number of active blanket purchase orders and controlling open order spending. She created an updated system of spreadsheets for capital records and was instrumental in revising and updating intranet information and pages for the department. Her colleagues and supervisors praised her for her efficiency, motivation, professionalism and intelligence in handling these many projects. At Conestoga, she served as Vice-President, Membership for the student chapter of the Association for Operations Management (APICS). She also holds the same post with the Greater Wellington Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC).

Each winning Co-op Student of the Year received a commemorative certificate and an award of $250.

RIM has a longstanding history with Conestoga. During the past five years, the company has employed approximately 150 Conestoga co-op students, providing them with challenging work as well as the opportunity to be truly innovative while working with industry leaders. In addition, RIM professionals serve as members on several Conestoga program advisory committees, providing expertise on the development and quality of specific academic programs. The company has also provided support to Conestoga via sponsorship of student achievement awards, and donations of equipment and funds.

Conestoga currently has more than 30 co-op programs available. These range from Culinary Management and Woodworking Technology, to Business Administration - Marketing and Human Resources Management, to Civil Engineering Technology and Computer Programmer/Analyst. Every four-year Conestoga degree program features co-op.

Co-operative education, which gives students the opportunity to work in paid employment related to their chosen fields of study, combining periods in college or university with real-world experiences and situations, has become a much-respected and highly valued form of practical higher education.

Contact: Lynne Kattenhorn, Co-op and Career Services, 519-748-5220, ext. 3219, lkattenhorn@conestogac.on.ca

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