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Students and employers celebrate a mutually beneficial connection

Arts and Science Co-op/Internship program honours leading performers and amazing mentors

Joanne Fung, Arts Student of the Year (on campus), was one of the students honoured at the annual co-op/internship event.

By Amanda Foley

On Jan. 26, the second annual Arts and Science Co-op/Internship Student and Employer of the Year (2016) awards, funded by an SU Quality Money grant, recognized the excellence of their students and the employers who provided them with professional work experience. 

Dawn Johnston, associate dean of the Faculty of Arts, welcomed the attendees while Florentine Strzelczyk, vice-dean of Arts, and Lesley Rigg, dean of the Faculty of Science, presented the awards and thanked all participants for the mutually beneficial connection between students and industry.

Benefits of adding experience to your degree

Doina Rusu and Ryan Jansonius felt they developed their academic knowledge in economics and applied chemistry in intense and exacting roles, and they are confident in their ability to be successful as they move through additional education and into the work force. 

"Working at Husky Energy was an instrumental experience in critically examining my role in the world as an economics major,” says Rusu, Arts Student of the Year (off campus). “The knowledge gained throughout my work term and support provided by the co-op staff have equipped me with a much-needed sense of direction and a strong foundation to jumpstart my career."

Adds Jansonius, Science Student of the Year (off campus): "Throughout my time with the Automotive Fuel Cell Co-operation, I was engaged in finding new ways to characterize amorphous proton conductive materials in the fuel cell, and finding ways to apply that knowledge to current manufacture processes.

“The Science Internship Program was the most valuable single experience of my undergraduate time at U of C. Thank you for enabling it!" says Jansonius.

Amazing mentors

The Science Employer of the Year, James Derdall, manager IT Software at WestJet, received nominations from two interns, and comments such as, "He led the team by example with his sincerity and discipline and that would encourage me to give the best," and, "He pushes for me to grow and learn, and when he does, you just feel that he does it ‘cause he just legitimately cares for you."

Rusu nominated her supervisor, Bob Deschamps, who accepted the award on behalf of Husky Energy as Arts Employer of the Year. Deschamps's impact on Rusu was clear. “Bob’s mentorship has made my work term an unforgettable experience that will shape my career trajectory for years to come," she says.  

Other winners included Joanne Fung, the on campus arts student winner, for her work with Leadership and Student Engagement, and from the same office, Alycia Lauzon received the arts employer on campus recognition. Science recognized Irene Mayor and Dr. Frank Maurer with Agile Surface Engineering Lab as their student and employer on campus winners.


When accepting their awards, employers mentioned how much they relied on their students and how impressed they were with the work they are able to do. Students stated how thankful they were for the opportunity to learn professional skills, increase their knowledge of potential careers and also the support provided as their supervisors challenged and trusted them to complete high-level responsibilities. The Arts and Science Co-op/Internship team was thrilled to see the impressive, hard-working students, and their supportive supervisors, officially recognized and celebrated.

Arts winners

  • Student winner, off campus: Doina Rusu, Economics
  • Honourable mentions, off campus: Vadim Baruzdin, Josiah Sinanan, Kristyn Lines
  • Student winner, on campus: Joanne Fung, English
  • Honourable mentions, on campus: Tasha Sladek, Paola Gongora-Bonilla
  • Employer winner, small/medium: Leadership Africa
  • Honourable mentions: The Art of Living Foundation, Travel Alberta
  • Employer winner-large: Husky Energy
  • Honourable mentions: Devon Energy, Nexen
  • Employer, on campus: Leadership and Student Engagement
  • Honourable mentions: Students' Union, Women's Resource Centre

Science winners

  • Student winner, off campus: Ryan Janonius, Applied Chemistry
  • Honourable mentions: Chris Almquist, Alexis Tavares, Leah Vermeylen
  • Student winner, on campus: Irene Mayor, Computer Science
  • Employer winner, small/medium: Nureva
  • Honourable mentions: The Computer Modelling Group, General Dynamics Systems Canada
  • Employer winner, large: WestJet
  • Honourable mentions: Precision Drilling, H & R Block
  • Employer winner, on campus: Agile Surface Engineering Lab