Conestoga news

April 7, 2011 3:21 PM

Conestoga Names Co-op Students and Employer of the Year

National Co-op Week, held this year from March 21 to 25, recognizes the value and importance of co-operative education at colleges and universities across Canada. Conestoga marked the occasion by recognizing the recipients of its Co-op Student of the Year and Co-op Employer of the Year awards at a special reception on March 24 at the Doon campus.

The student awards celebrate the hard work and dedication that outstanding co-op students have displayed during their work terms. From creating and perfecting their resumes, to completing 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 the support and encouragement that co-op employers provide to students as well as the high level of professionalism that co-op employers and supervisors bring to their role in this important learning process.

Erin Borwn, Shuchi Pandit and Sergio Batir

Sergio Batir of Kitchener, Erin Brown of Port Colborne and Shuchi Pandit of Guelph were named as Co-op Students of the Year. Graham Construction and Engineering Inc., a Mississauga-based company, was named Co-op Employer of the Year.

Sergio Batir, a graduate of the Business Administration - Accounting program completed a co-op work term in the City of Waterloo’s financial department, filling a technical full-time position that required time management and a high level of accuracy. Sergio’s supervisor recognized him for his exemplary performance, noting that he was able to achieve the fine balance of technical understanding and political perspective required when working with multiple departments. While at Conestoga, Sergio was nominated for the PricewaterhouseCoopers financial accounting award and the Valley Blades Limited accounting excellence award.

Erin Brown is Conestoga’s 2010 Co-op Student of the Year from the School of Engineering and Information Technology. A graduate of the post-graduate certificate in Environmental Engineering Applications, Erin completed her co-op work term with Water and Wastewater Services at Niagara Region Public Works during the spring and summer of 2010. She was involved in research and evaluation surrounding water quality, risk assessment and process improvements. This data has the potential to influence future improvements to water quality and water processes in the region. While at Conestoga, Erin served as student representative on the Environmental Engineering Applications program advisory committee, contributing suggestions for program improvements.

Shuchi Pandit is in her third year of the Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences in Health Informatics Management program. Last spring and summer, Shuchi completed a co-op work term with Hamilton Family Health Team. According to Karl Langton, Suchi’s supervisor: “Shuchi’s professionalism and her ability to assimilate complex information and specifications have been instrumental in the initiation, development and completion of several important health informatics initiatives.” He notes that Shuchi’s work with the Hamilton Family Health Team has completely convinced them of the value of hiring co-op students. As a student at Conestoga, Shuchi has volunteered her time to maintain and update the Health Informatics Student website and, as a peer tutor, helped support other students in achieving academic success.

Each Co-op Student of the Year received a commemorative certificate and a cash award.

Graham Construction and Engineering Inc., one of the largest construction companies in Canada, covers the entire construction lifecycle and every contracting mode. Recognized as one of the GTA’s Top Employers, Graham has also been named one of Canada’s Top 50 Employers for the second consecutive year. Michael Sulijak, the General Manager for the Toronto District, is a 1992 graduate from Conestoga’s Construction Engineering Technology program. Under his leadership, Graham Construction and Engineering is committed to providing excellent co-op work term opportunities. Students work as members of a team on a large variety of projects and use state-of-the art systems and software with modern equipment in a safe workplace setting with high safety standards. According to Michael, “the students are continually challenged - given the tools to learn, grow, excel and thrive.”

Conestoga currently has more than 47 co-op programs available. These range from Culinary Management and Woodworking Technology, to Business Administration - Marketing and Human Resources Management, 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 highly respected and highly valued form of practical higher education.

For more information, contact Craig Black, 519-748-5220, ext. 3219 or