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April 1, 2010 5:28 PM

Co-op Education Excellence Recognized by Conestoga

March 22-26 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 25 at Conestoga's Doon campus in Kitchener.

Kyle Loder, Lori-Beth Pentsa, Jon Eby, Dan Kalbfleisch, Shannon Symons

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.

Each winning Co-op Student of the Year received a commemorative certificate and an award of $250. The winners are: Lori-Beth Pentsa (School of Business), Jon Eby (School of Engineering and Information Technology) and Shannon Symons (School of Health and Life Sciences, and Community Services).

Employer of the Year recognition went to Christie Digital Systems Inc. of Kitchener.

Lori-Beth Pentsa received other honours, too. She is the 2009 winner of the $500 Co-op Student of the Year Award (college sector) from EWO (Education at Work Ontario) and winner of similar awards from CAFCE (the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education): the $500 Emery-Dufault Award, which is national in scope, plus an additional $500 award from CAFCE.

Pentsa is in the third year of the Business Administration - Marketing co-op program. She resides in Kitchener, and has done co-op employment in the marketing department of Atria Networks in Cambridge. Atria owns and operates one of Ontario's largest fibre-optic networks, and offers broadband solutions and continuity services.

Eby is in his third year of the co-op Software Engineering Technology program. He resides in Cambridge and has done co-op employment with Desire2Learn Inc. of Kitchener. Desire2Learn provides innovative elearning technology and solutions to the educational, governmental and corporate markets.

Symons, who resides in Kitchener, is in her final year of study in the Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences - Health Informatics Management program. She is also a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, where she earned a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree. Her co-op employment has been with Medicalis Corporation in Kitchener. Medicalis specializes in health care information integration, including Web-based clinical applications.

Christie Digital Systems Canada has employed 41 Conestoga co-op students in the past eight years, and has provided excellence in experiential learning in ways that are highly relevant to the students' programs of study and that make a major contribution to the students' pursuit of their educational and career goals.

Conestoga currently has more than 40 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: Craig Black, Co-op and Career Services, 519-748-5220, ext. 3219, cblack@conestogac.on.ca

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