National Co-op Week, held this year from March 19-23, was established to recognize the value and importance of co-operative education at Canada’s colleges and universities. Conestoga marked the occasion by naming the recipients of this year’s Co-op Student of the Year and Co-op Employer of the Year awards. Student awards were presented at the college’s Scholarship Reception on March 8, and the employer award was presented at a special reception on March 22 at the Doon campus.
The Co-op Employer of the Year Award recognizes a company or organization that, over time, continues to provide meaningful learning experiences in the workplace for Conestoga co-op students.
The 2011 recipients of Co-op Student of the Year awards are Breanna Finnamore of Kitchener, and Matthew Chominiec of Cambridge. The 2011 Co-op Employer of the Year is Cambridge-based Gore Mutual Insurance Company.
Breanna, a fourth-year student in the Accounting, Audit and Information Technology degree program completed a co-op work term with Canada Revenue Agency in Kitchener during the fall of 2011. She was involved in the complex task of reviewing GST/HST files with a wide variety of non-compliance issues and overcame the steep learning curve very quickly becoming productive in a matter of days instead of weeks. Breanna’s supervisor recognized her for her exemplary performance, enthusiasm for the job, and commitment to learning and excellence - stating that Breanna “Literally provided a return on our investment… of over 7000%.” While at Conestoga, Breanna helped support other students in achieving academic success as a Peer Tutor, and was the Treasurer for Conestoga’s Accounting Association.
Matthew Chominiec is Conestoga’s Co-op Student of the Year from the School of Engineering and Information Technology. A student in the Electronics Engineering Technology - Telecommunications Systems program, Matthew completed his 16 month co-op work term with Raytheon Canada as part of the Field Engineering team. He was assigned to install, integrate and commission air traffic control radar systems in England, Scotland and Panama - tasks with a high level of responsibility normally entrusted only to fully qualified engineers. Raytheon’s Jim Ferguson noted that Matthew “not only achieved his goals but surpassed expectations,” quickly assimilating new skills and proving himself as a key member of the team.
Each winning Co-op Student of the Year received a commemorative certificate and a cash award.
Gore Mutual Insurance Company was established in 1839 and is Canada’s oldest property and casualty insurance company. Gore has been an outstanding supporter of Conestoga’s co-op students and programs for the past several years. In 2011 alone, Gore hired 11 of Conestoga’s co-op students for a total of 14 co-op work term placements. Five of these students enjoyed such a valuable and enriching co-op experience that they collaborated to nominate Gore for this annual award. In addition to work opportunities, Gore provides an annual scholarship for an outstanding graduating student in the Business - Insurance program, hosts an annual Conestoga Student Day with job shadowing, and shares experience and expertise through in-class presentations.
The Award was presented by Conestoga president John Tibbits and Business - Insurance program coordinator Glenn Planert.
Conestoga currently offers more than 50 co-op programs, including 9 degree programs. 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, firstname.lastname@example.org