CO-OP Employer of the Year Awards
The CO-OP Student Committee is proud to present the annual Employer of the Year Awards. Four awards will be given out annually to selected CO-OP employers who have provided an exceptional student work-term experience, based on student nominations. Nominations focus on the following criteria to demonstrate a positive and valuable work-term experience:
- The quality of the mentorship the student received during the work-term;
- The calibre and relevance of the work-term experience; and
- How the overall experience compared with student's initial expectations.
These selection criteria were developed by the CO-OP Student Committee (CSC) and are patterned on those of other Canadian university employer-recognition programs. The University of Ottawa awards serve to recognize our outstanding CO-OP employers.
- AWARD: A plaque and an official recognition at a University of Ottawa CO-OP celebration for students and employers
- NUMBER OF AWARDS: Four (4)
- FREQUENCY OF AWARD: Once a year, in March
Details and Eligibility
- Potential nominees must be employers for whom a registered University of Ottawa full-time CO-OP student worked for during the winter, the summer or the fall of the year in question (ex: 2014)
- Employers must be nominated by students.
- Each category winner is picked from a group of nominees by a selection committee comprised of and selected by the CO-OP Student Association's student ambassadors.
Timeline for Submissions
Three times a year
An e-mail will be sent to all CO-OP students inviting them to nominate candidates.
Access CO-OP Contests
Nério De Candido, N.D.C Inc.
“M. De Candido trusts you. He will praise you when you do good work. He is very demanding but he knows how to recognize your accomplishments and give you the credit you deserve.”
– Charles-Antoine Côté-De Lagrave (Civil Law and International Development and Globalization)
Dana Yamamura, MD Financial Management
“Dana helped develop me into a competent businessperson within a corporate setting while providing me with plentiful experience in business development, relationship management, project management, and marketing, all in a single role.”
– Mohammed Rafiq Abu Rouss (Marketing)
Colleen Turpin, Health Canada
“She never failed to recognize our efforts, to make us feel that our work was needed and that we were making a difference in the team. Colleen is very honest, professional and exceptionally kind. She was always available to listen, ready to help, and had the best advice.”
– Reeham Hammouda (Biomedical Mechanical Engineering)
Jonathan Thompson, Assembly of First Nations
“Mr. Thompson treated me as an employee first, rather than a student, valuing the work of his CO-OP students the same as his regular employees, and this was evident from my first day at the Assembly of First Nations.”
– Jessica Quinn (International Development and Globalization)
Jennifer Hendrick, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
“She was always willing to clarify work, explain instructions and teach me new skills. She made an effort to get to know me as a person and as a worker, and I feel this helped her know when to push me a little harder and when to leave me to it.”
– Emma Gray (Sociology)
Massimo Rigoni, Nutrition North Canada (NNC)
“Mr. Rigoni has always been supportive from the very beginning of my work term, when, as an international student, I needed to obtain security clearance. […] I strongly believe Mr. Rigoni exemplifies the award criteria in several categories, including work recognition, excellent student support, responsiveness and his exceptional ethical behaviour.”
– Morteza Javadinia Azari (Master’s, Electronic Business Technology)
Hanna Mansson, Spacious Ltd
“My manager, Hanna, is extremely trusting and gives me all the autonomy I need to be creative and grow as a young professional.”
– Adelise Lalande (Communication)
Tina Huang, Harris Computer Systems
“She was very supportive and whenever I would come up with new ideas she would listen to me and take all my input into consideration.”
– Siddeeq Abu Ghazaleh (Finance)
Katherine Hess - Health Canada
“Not only did Kathy make my work environment very comfortable to integrate into, she was welcoming and kind and along with all my co-workers, she helped me quickly feel at ease working in a new location. Kathy always readily took time out of her busy schedule to answer any questions I had or to help me out. I can’t wait to return next fall and work again with this great team, under the great supervision of Kathy.”
-Nyemah Ahmad (Chemical Engineering)
William Bradley - Competition Bureau of Canada
“My supervisor is an extraordinarily good listener, who drops by every day to ask how I’m doing and if I need help, and who is always ready to provide me with constructive feedback on my work. I see him as a role model, a guide, a mentor, someone who is hard-working and appreciated by everyone, but also as a person who has made a difference in my education.”
- Maude Auger-Garneau (Civil Law)
Gord Roberts - MD Financial Management
“The guidance that Gord gave me throughout the entire experience was far more than I could have ever asked for from an employer. He was always available to answer my questions, would ask me frequently if everything was going okay, and he encouraged me and thanked me for my work often. This not only made me feel appreciated, but it also served to motivate me to do even better, to work even harder. One important thing I learnt this work term is that when you have an employer who treats you well, it makes you want to go above and beyond the call of duty, which in turn ends up bringing out the best in you.”
- Matthew Walwyn (English)
Patrick Riel - Global Affairs Canada
“Mr. Riel is an outstanding employee and an exceptional manager within the public service. I believe that his management style is the product of a deep understanding of his social and political environment, and that he has leveraged this understanding to great effect. He displays universal qualities, such as openness, integrity and respect, which have allowed his CO-OP students to feel truly included as members of his large team and to realize that their contributions are highly valued.”
- Cédric Héroux (International Development and Globalization
Barbara Gray - Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
“Barbara has been a great COOP supervisor. She really wanted me to get the most out of my time with INAC. She allowed me to take two courses (Inuit in Canada and Inuktitut language and culture) within the department to increase my knowledge on indigenous communities in the North. Barbara also encouraged me to participate in every event that allowed me to learn more about the department like the weekly Student Information Sessions.”
- Jocelyne Maisonneuve Alie (Geography)
Shawn Fancy - Health Canada
“It is often difficult to feel comfortable enough to ask for help or for more engaging tasks. My employer, Shawn Fancy, made sure this was not the case. He shaped the environment so that I was comfortable enough to confront our team with any issues I had. My time here with Shawn and our team has taught me to think and apply my knowledge in ways I had never considered. Shawn behaved as if no task was beyond my capabilities.”
- Malika Virji (Biomedical Sciences)
Barbara Vanderhyden - University of Ottawa
“Dr Barbara Vanderhyden is, in my opinion, the most influential and inspiring scientist that I had the privilege of meeting; she promotes a sense of duty and respect through hard work and dedication, never failing to provide guidance and leadership. Working for her has been an enlightening experience that changed my view of graduate studies and made me decide to take it a step further by applying for an honors project.”
- Omar Salah Salah (Biopharmaceutical Science)
Santino Cicciarella - Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
“My supervisor, Santino, provided me with an exceptional work-term this winter and this fall. From the beginning he was encouraging, challenging me every day. He works hard every day to create a great learning atmosphere for me. He puts great importance on mentoring as many students as he can. I know I have found a great mentor for life in him.”
- Elizabeth Primeau (Mechanical Engineering)
Patrick Asselin – Canada Revenue Agency
Patrick Asselin, office manager and engagements coordinator of the Commissioner’s Office (CO) at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), instantly played an influential role in his CO-OP student’s life and provided an educational environment that aimed to improve his student’s performance skills. The entire CO team was also mentioned for their helpful training, constant respect and overall mentoring. The team has offered several job opportunities to students at the University of Ottawa, and consistently shows support and dedication to the CO-OP program.
Annie-Claude Bougie – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
Annie-Claude Bougie is a supervisor analyst at Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions. She gave her student the confidence to accomplish any task by both encouraging her to ask questions and giving her the space for self-sufficiency. She allowed her CO-OP student to explore the field she is studying and created an enjoyable workplace environment. Her entire team was also mentioned, as they were all respectful and made sure the student’s transition into this workplace was enjoyable.
Melanie Davis – SOS Children’s Villages
Melanie Davis, manager of community engagement, SOS Children’s Villages, was highly regarded for the trust she placed in her CO-OP student. As a manager, she always pushes her co-workers to do their best, while guiding them in the process and providing helpful criticism to improve their performance. Her support, dedication, patience and overall kindness stand out the most, complemented by her free-spirited personality.
Alan Higginson – ADGA Group
Alan Higginson is the lead systems engineer of the ADGA Group. As a supervisor, he provides unparalleled guidance, respects his colleagues and delivers helpful feedback to his CO-OP students. Though the student was given the chance to explore software development, the reason for his positive first experience in this field of engineering was Higginson’s support, which surpassed all expectations.
Patrick Hill – MMM Group
Patrick Hill is the associate manager at the MMM Group. He was admired by his CO-OP student for the amount of time he took to fully explain every task he assigned to his co-workers and for involving his student in various important jobs, such as meetings with clients, site surveys and delivering accurate site sketches. Always respectful, Hill provides a great work environment and involves his students in any part of the work that he can. He gave his student insightful feedback to encourage professional growth, and continuously pushed his student to ask questions in an effort to make the learning curve enjoyable.
Mathieu Mault and Jennifer Larocque – Activar
Mathieu Mault, CEO and co-owner of Activar, was nominated for his mentoring skills by his CO-OP student, with mention of his partner, Jennifer Larocque, as well. Together, they made sure the work was always related to the student’s field of study, offered helpful advice that provided a different perspective on career choices and allowed for a connection on a more personal level. Overall, they surpassed all expectations by giving the student a true feeling of working with a purpose.
Jim Provost – StoneShare
Jim Provost works as a director of operations at StoneShare. Approachable and kind, he encourages his co-workers to ask questions and is always open to new ideas. He conveyed trust in his student by assigning him important tasks and encouraged interaction in the work environment by organizing bonding activities for the student and his co-workers. His encouragement and respect contributed to his CO-OP student’s enjoyable work term.
Sacha Levasseur-Rivard - Global Affairs Canada
Adviser to the director general at the Department of Global Affairs, Sacha Levasseur-Rivard was both a mentor and a guide to his CO-OP student during the summer 2015 term. He constantly pushed her to do her best and deepened her experience by adjusting the assignments she was given. His student, who was studying economics, was already able to collect and analyze data, but Sacha taught her how to use these skills to make business decisions. His student thanks him for inspiring change in how she now views her future career and guiding her to be the best she can be.
Dylan Cobb, Royal Canadian Mint
Dylan Cobb, a manager at the Royal Canadian Mint and project manager for MintChip, received an impressive five nominations this year. Dylan tries to really understand his students’ strengths, weaknesses and interests, and tailors assignments to suit their career development needs. He allows his students to take the initiative, come up with solutions independently and weigh in with their input. He acts not only as a supervisor but also as a teacher, challenging boundaries while fostering a team mentality.
Greg Conrad, Public Works and Government Services Canada
Greg Conrad, Building Components and Connectivity Program and acquisitions manager for PWGSC, has thirty years’ experience in the public sector and has worked with students over the past twelve years. He is always there to lend a hand and ensures the workload is steady and beneficial to students He also gives his students the space to be successful in their roles on their own. By putting in the time and dedication to ensure students make the most of their four months, Greg makes them feel like valued team members.
Neil Burnett and David Murray – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Neil Burnett, a director at AANDC, assisted the student he worked with for two terms by making arrangements for her to work in the B.C. office for her last term. David Murray, major projects coordinator for the B.C. office, took over as supervisor and connected the student with various people and teams in the region. David also assigned challenging and meaningful tasks to her, making her feel like a valuable contributor. Both Neil and David have made tremendous efforts to give one student the opportunity to gain widespread knowledge and varied work experience.
Melissa Dubé, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Mélissa Dubé, an advocacy resources administrator at DFATD, cultivates an open and friendly relationship with interns. She invites them to ask questions and assigns them work that’s relevant to their interests. As well, Mélissa gets students involved by inviting them to meetings with the unit’s internal and external partners, and encourages them to register for training. She considers CO-OP students as independent, full team members.
Laurel Clegg, National Defence and the Canadian Forces
Laurel Clegg, a casualty identification coordinator at the Directorate of History and Heritage of the Department of National Defence, balances mentoring with letting students work independently. To ensure students gain experience, she has them carry out in-depth research independently with a wide range of tools. Laurel is also eager to answer any questions and look at the work to ensure students get the most out of their placement.
Blaine Albios, Alcatel-Lucent
Blaine Albios is a creative catalyst for Alcatel-Lucent. At the beginning of each work term, Blaine asks his students to make a list of all the things they wish to learn in the placement and to share their career and learning goals with him in as much detail as possible. He then works to find projects that will let them maximize their experience and help them develop the skills they need, making him a great mentor for his students.
Dr. Carolina Ilkow, Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre
Dr. Carolina Ilkow, a postdoctoral fellow at the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, takes on several students but finds time for them all. A great believer in teamwork, Dr. Ilkow treats her students as colleagues, working right beside them and taking their input into consideration. While the lab projects are challenging, Dr. Ilkow is patient and enthusiastic, and schedules meetings with her students to plan out each week and troubleshoot.
Eric Crighton, University of Ottawa Department of Geography
Eric Crighton, a professor at the uOttawa Department of Geography, is a supportive and passionate supervisor who encourages his students to expand their knowledge base and improve their skills. Eric designs the work term around his students’ interests and goals, and gives them significant responsibilities like authoring publications, while encouraging and challenging them academically.
King Lun Yeun, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
As an international CO-OP employer, King Lun Yeun, a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, exceeds all of his students' expectations. He is committed to helping his students obtain proper work permits and find housing. King Lun encourages his students to learn from their mistakes and share their ideas. He always makes himself available despite his busy schedule, which makes him an exceptional supervisor.
Kirk Duguid, Embassy of Canada to Argentina and Paraguay
Kirk Duguid, an international employer from the Embassy of Canada to Argentina and Paraguay, goes above and beyond what is required of him as a supervisor. His contagious sense of humour and energy makes every day an exciting learning opportunity for his CO-OP students. Kirk knows how to make his students comfortable and integrates them into the team right from the start of their work terms. He also includes his students in meetings and conferences in order to enrich their experience and contribute to their professional development.
Peter Berry, Health Canada
Peter Berry is a senior policy analyst at Health Canada. He ensures that all of his CO-OP students are integrated into his team with ease. He considers all of his students to be regular employees and makes sure they benefit from as many opportunities for professional and personal growth as possible. Peter invests himself in his students and truly wishes to see them succeed.
Rachel Ouellette, University of Ottawa
Rachel Ouellette is the chief of staff at the Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost at the University of Ottawa. She takes the time to meet all her CO-OP students so she can answer any question they may have or give them a bit of advice. She takes this opportunity to provide them with valuable feedback, which allows them to improve their skills. Rachel places great importance on mutual respect and fostering trust.
Richard Hagerty, Industry Canada
Richard Hagerty, IT security manager at Industry Canada, is a supportive and caring supervisor. Richard encourages his CO-OP students to develop interests, network with fellow colleagues and take advantage of training opportunities. He has high expectations, which ensures his students learn a great deal during their CO-OP placements, but he's always available to help when obstacles arise. Richard also values his students' ideas and is quick to express his confidence in their work.
Anadi Canepa, TRIUMF
Anadi Canepa, a research scientist at TRIUMF, has all the attributes of a great supervisor. She always makes herself available for her CO-OP students. She is known for being an extremely involved supervisor, constantly pushing her students to better themselves and providing the necessary time and support. Despite having many responsibilities of her own, Anadi is wholeheartedly involved in every project her students undertake. She is also very involved in her students' education and gives valuable advice about potential careers for the students.
Andrew Loschmann, Linchpin Labs
Andrew Loschmann manages commercial operations at Linchpin Labs. His team provides CO-OP students with a one-of-a-kind work experience. Students are given not only a choice of areas they'd like to work in (networks, user interfaces, security, etc.) but also plenty of freedom in completing the projects they take on. Andrew acts as a mentor for the students and ensures the work students do contributes directly to Linchpin Labs' goals and priorities.
François Turgeon, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
François Turgeon, a manager at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, is a very patient and thoughtful supervisor. He takes the time to provide his students with advice and includes them in many work activities, such as meetings and conferences. François ensures a dynamic environment and educational work term for all of his CO-OP students.
Anne LeClair, University of Ottawa
Anne LeClair is manager and historical information archivist for the Archives of the University of Ottawa. She offers CO-OP students a mix of surprises, challenges and discoveries. She is caring, making sure that they have a positive learning experience, and she doesn't think twice about integrating them into the archives team right from the beginning. She's an exceptional supervisor who gives her students an outstanding, enriching experience.
Catherine Shackelton, Health Canada
Catherine Shackleton, submission coordinator for the Natural Health Products Directorate, is an attentive and caring supervisor of her CO-OP students. She is very involved in her students' work, making sure everything runs smoothly and no one is overwhelmed. At the same time, she lets her students be independent and trusts their opinions. She is very helpful and always available for questions or a quick chat.
Eric Chisholm, National Research Council
Eric Chisholm, head of outreach for the Centre of the Universe, National Research Council, goes above and beyond what is required of him as a supervisor. He takes the time to get to know his CO-OP students as individuals and he challenges them by giving them tasks outside their comfort zones. Eric readily provides feedback and opportunities for growth because he wants to see his students succeed in work and in life.
Ludovic Guerpillion, Estrie Language School
As co-president of Estrie Language School, Ludovic Guerpillion's sharp mind and keen vision have created opportunities for the company and he has included students in this process. He has shown his CO-OP students that he truly cares about their wellbeing in the professional realm by providing guidance and making himself available despite his busy schedule. Ludovic is an employer who values mutual respect and accountability.
Janna Rodi, University of Bremen
As an international CO-OP employer, Janna Rodi, manager of the Welcome Centre at the University of Bremen, goes above and beyond the call of duty. She truly wants students to learn from their experience and she goes the extra mile to help them do so. Jana is extremely friendly and makes every effort to help students adapt to life in a new city and in a new language.
Kirsten Miller, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
As senior policy adviser for the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Consultation and Accommodation Unit, Kristen Miller has all the attributes of a great manager. Kristen fosters a truly collaborative team work environment by integrating her CO-OP students into the policy team and the unit and ensuring that their opinions are taken into consideration when decisions are made. She mentors her students, making sure their work is meaningful and contributes to the overall goals of the unit.
Vincent Lam, St. Michael's Hospital
Vincent Lam is manager of the clinical engineering department at St. Michael's Hospital. He and his group of employees are always on hand to offer needed words of encouragement and assistance. They succeed in making CO-OP students feel at home in their work environment. By allowing students to work on larger tasks throughout the placement process, they ensure that the experience of working at St. Michaels is both enjoyable and beneficial for them.
Rocque Gameiro, Public Works and Government Services Canada
Rocque Gameiro is director of the Parliamentary Precinct Branch at Public Works and Government Services Canada. He oversees and manages two major capital projects, but this doesn't distract him from taking the time to develop young business professionals. Rocque makes his students feel like their work is taken seriously and used professionally. He ensures that his students feel a part of the team and gives them the necessary resources to kick start their careers in human resource management. Rocque Gameiro is a patient and thoughtful individual with a very professional mindset, great characteristics to have in a manager.
Joanne Lefebvre, Regroupement des gens d'affaires de la Capitale nationale
Joanne Lefebvre, director-general of the Regroupement des gens d'affaires de la Capitale nationale, provides her CO-OP students with memorable experiences that give them a chance to spread their wings professionally. To that end, she assigns truly important duties to her students while showering them with tremendous generosity. CO-OP students on Ms. Lefebvre's team are allowed to play a direct role in event organization and to carry out wrap-up duties as well.
Mark Kennedy, Natural Resources Canada
Mark Kennedy, director, Managers' Community, Natural Resources Canada, provides his students with opportunities to work on personal skill development and to practise what they learn in the classroom. He gave his students an especially valuable experience by having them play a direct role in an important project for his sector. Mark's commitment is to create truly enriching and lasting experiences for his students.
Michael Cannon, Foreign Affairs and International Trade
In the Tariffs and Goods Market Access Branch of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Michael Cannon and his team greatly contribute to the professional development of the students they work with, not only by facilitating their learning in the workplace, but also by supporting their academic interests. Clearly, Michael Cannon and the Tariffs and Goods Market Access Branch team invest in their CO-OP students to ensure they have a fulfilling experience.
Robert Ben, University of Ottawa
Dr. Robert Ben is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Ottawa. He provides his students with hands-on chemical laboratory practice, presentation experience and multiple conference opportunities. He has gone above and beyond to help his students succeed as young scientists. Professor Ben displays exceptional supervisor qualities.
Alex Nadezhdin, Norbord Technology Centre
Alex Nadezhdin, a manager at the Norbord Technology Centre, provides his students with exceptional opportunities by allowing them to conduct and test meaningful projects. He takes a keen interest in his students' career and well-being, and he creates an enriching environment for the CO-OP student experience.
Todd Kuiack Embassy of Canada to Dominican Republic
Canadian ambassador to the Dominican Republic Todd Kuiack gave his students an incredible opportunity to work under his direct supervision at the Canadian Embassy's political department. He truly treats them with respect and makes them feel valuable by involving them in key projects and by providing just the right level of guidance, encouragement and motivation.
Dan Fox, Statistics Canada
Dan Fox, a supervisor at Statistics Canada's Centre for Workforce Analysis and Forecasting, acts as a mentor to his students. His patience and support make him an exceptional supervisor who provides his students with an enriching experience.
Claire Lake, Interis Consulting Incorporated
Claire Lake, a manager of the Risk Management Assurance Practice at Interis Consulting Incorporated, plays an influential role as a phenomenal leader, employer and mentor to her CO OP students. Leading by example, she inspires excellence in the workplace and provides her students with the right level of guidance, encouragement and support to ensure their success in a challenging but rewarding placement.
Alexandra Mosquin, Parks Canada Agency
In the Historical Research Branch of the national office of Parks Canada, the team of Alexandra Mosquin, Meryl Oliver and Michelle Cinanni gives students the right balance of guidance and opportunity for independent work and learning. Students can take on a variety of tasks, including the chance to direct their own projects from start to finish; as such, they effectively work as project managers and acquire new skills. Students can also write about historical topics related to their academic interests and receive ongoing feedback for their efforts.
Marc-Andre Langlois, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine
Dr. Marc-André Langlois is an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine. The environment in his lab is very friendly and biotechnology-savvy; the high resourcefulness of his lab is based on Dr. Langlois' cooperative way of thinking. He is also an exceptional person, an employer who cares about his students, no matter the level. He informs his students of opportunities, such as grants and scholarships, to help them with their future careers.
Mathieu Larocque, Health Canada
Mathieu Larocque, a manager at Health Canada's Human Resources Programs and Projects, always provides his students with memorable work experiences, allowing them to grow as employees. He truly treats them as part of the department team and makes them feel valuable by involving them in important projects. Mathieu also provides his students with a varied work environment, takes the time to teach them himself, and constantly gives feedback.
Sanjeev Chowdhury, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Sanjeev Chowdhury is a manager at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade's Summits Management Office, which is responsible for planning and running the G-8 and G-20 summits, as well as their associated activities. He provides his CO-OP students with the opportunity to join the team and actually help plan the summit, conduct the events involved and perform wrap-up tasks. He always makes himself available to his students, treats them with respect, values their contributions, and shares his wisdom with them.
- Janice Cunningham, Industry Canada
- Helen Roper, General Dynamics Canada
- Karin Hinzer, University of Ottawa
- Anne LeChasseur, Public Works and Government Services Canada