Feb. 12, 2020

Learning shifts from UCalgary classrooms to the workplace

Arts and Science Co-op and Internship teams recognize outstanding work, dedication and leadership

Excitement was in the air as arts and science students and employers gathered for the annual Student and Employer of the Year Awards.

The diversity of where students participated in internships was astonishing. Students worked in the non-profit, oil and gas, government, and technology sectors, as well as on campus. Employers included such Calgary workplaces as WestJet, Nature Conservancy of Canada, TC Energy, Suncor, and Parks Canada.   

Experiential learning possibilities are endless within co-op and internship programs. On Feb. 5, the Arts and Science Co-op and Internship teams recognized students and employers for their outstanding work, dedication, and leadership. Awards in several categories included both winners and honourable mentions.

Dr. Dawn Johnston, PhD, and Nancy Chibry, both associate deans, opened the ceremony to great anticipation from more than 50 attendees.

Certificates emphasizing the importance of work-integrated learning were handed out by Dr. Cindy Graham, PhD, Faculty of Science vice-dean; and by Dr. Pascale Sicotte, PhD, Faculty of Arts vice-dean. Repeatedly students and employers commented on how much they benefited from their experiences together and how the learning was often unexpected.

Arts winners

Pascale Sicotte and Dawn Johnston stand alongside award-winning arts students and employers.

Kristin Chow, Science Co-op and Internship

Preparing for future careers

Victoria Cardenas, a communications and international relations student who received an honourable mention, said, “The co-op program is so important, as it has exposed me to incredible leaders and learning from them (her Suncor team members) has set me up for my future career.”

A first-time arts co-op employer, Barb Gosling, said, “I value the process of students setting up learning goals and discussing them. It also forces us, as leaders, to think about how we can help them achieve those goals.”

As Dr. Sicotte noted, work-integrated learning fosters a “mutually beneficial collaboration” where students gain work experience and skills while supervisors learn to strengthen their leadership.

Eoin O’Grady, university biosafety officer, commented on how Jordan Boettcher from the applied chemistry program exceeded expectations during his term. Such comments were echoed by all employers’ present.

Science winners

Cindy Graham and Nancy Chibry with successful science students and employers.

Kristin Chow, Science Co-op and Internship

Internships can lead directly to employment

Full-time employment offers as a result of successful co-op and internship experiences were also announced and received with applause. Nureva shared the news that their computer science internship student, Lawrence Nguyen, had been hired to join the team full-time. Sidrah Anees, a sociology student, who was recognized alongside her employer Burns Memorial Fund, has now graduated and is employed full-time with her arts co-op employer.

For more information on the Arts Co-op Program, email: artscoop@ucalgary.ca and Science Internship Program, email: science.internship@ucalgary.ca.