Celebrating students at the 2021 Co-op and WIL Student of the Year Awards

Jun 22, 2022

From launching a podcast, to supporting at-risk youth, Sheridan students have accomplished some pretty incredible things over the past year.

In April, over the course of four days, Sheridan’s Career-Integrated Learning department hosted the 2021 Co-op and WIL Student of the Year Award Ceremonies — an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our Co-op and Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) students. These ceremonies recognized students who completed their work term in 2021 and demonstrated exemplary work in their field of practice. This year, 16 students from across our five faculties were recognized for their exceptional WIL accomplishments.

"Everything has been far more complicated during the pandemic, and I want to applaud our students’ success during these unprecedented times,” said Dr. Janet Morrison, President and Vice Chancellor of Sheridan, during the awards ceremony. “We’re so thankful for our employers and community partners who have worked with our students and enabled their success.”

For more than 30 years, Sheridan has been providing Co-op and WIL experiences with more than 7,500 students from over 80 different diploma, degree, and certificate programs participating in WIL.

“In eight out of the last ten years, a Sheridan student has been recognized as a national or provincial co-op or WIL student of the year,” said Matt Rempel, Director of Career-Integrated Learning. “This is truly a testament to the incredible students at Sheridan.”

Congratulations to all our award winners. Learn more about their accomplishments below:

Faculty of Arts, Animation, and Design (FAAD)

Tracy Liang (Visual Merchandising Arts)

2021 WIL Student of the Year (FAAD) - Field Placement 

Tracy Liang worked with a team of six students and two professors to produce a unique installation as part of the Mississauga Festival of Trees - an event hosted by non-profit Creative Hub 1352. Sheridan’s contribution, the Diversi(tree), reflected the diverse cultural identities of the students and their instructors.

Liang also supported three pop-up shops hosted by Sheridan at Hudson’s Bay at Square One, Oakville Place, and Bramlea City Centre. Liang managed ticketing and merchandising of the shops’ assortment during its tenure.

Timothy Young (Bachelor of Film and Television) 

2021 WIL Honourable Mention (FAAD) - Internship 

Timothy Young completed a summer 2021 work term with Screen Industries, Research, and Training (SIRT) as a Virtual Production and Digital Post-Production Research Assistant. In this role, Young made a short film as a practical research application. Young’s final product added to SIRT’s ongoing research and show reel, showcasing what SIRT has to offer to potential clients.

Outside the program, Young volunteered at Sheridan’s Virtual Open House and served as a departmental assistant, talking with students and answering questions about the program and student experience. Additionally, Young has been involved in several extra-curricular activities including acting as an executive member of Sheridan’s Disney Club, Tea Club, and the Sheridan Writer’s Guild.

Samantha McNair (Bachelor of Interior Design)

2021 WIL Student of the Year (FAAD) - Internship & Inaugural 2021 Experiential and Work-Integrated Learning Ontario (EWO) Experiential Learning Student of the Year, in the College category

As a Bachelor of Interior Design student, Samantha McNair led a small team of students to develop 2 Designers and a Podcast — a podcast dedicated to discussing issues facing the interior design community after the pandemic. McNair and her team worked on the development, editing, production, and marketing of the podcast series.

McNair, who co-hosted the series, showcased exceptional leadership and organizational skills while guiding the podcast. Her work on 2 Designers and a Podcast has already begun to pave the way for future Sheridan students and industry partners to join the team and explore new topics.

“It’s such a huge honour to win not only one, but two amazing awards. I’m so proud of the podcast and what it’s become and, of course, so grateful to my team who helped me along the way and helped develop the podcast into what it is now. Thank you so much for this.” - Samantha McNair

Faculty of Applied Science and Technology (FAST)

Hoda Abokhadra (Software Development & Network Engineering)

2021 Renee St. Denis Co-op Student of the Year (FAST-Computing) & Honourable Mention for the 2021 CEWIL Canada Student of the Year Award

Hoda Abokhadra completed a co-op work term through Scotiabank’s Velocity program as a Software Engineer, excelling in her day-to-day duties with the Customer Security Services team.  

During her work term, Abokhadra represented Scotiabank in a hackathon, led its Women in Technology group, and was one of four students recognized with Scotiabank’s Attitude, Opportunity, and Ownership Award. 

Within the Sheridan community, Abokhadra was the President of the Google Developer Club, Vice-President of the Women in Science and Engineering Club and worked as a Peer Mentor and Java tutor. Additionally, Abokhadra was recognized nationally with an honourable mention by Cooperative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada. 

“I’m thankful for all the learnings that I’ve received at Sheridan that has enabled me to thrive.” - Hoda Abokhadra

Arianna Biernacki (Software Development & Networking Engineering)

2021 Co-op Honourable Mention (FAST – Computing)

Arianna Biernacki completed two co-op work terms with global technology company, ABB Inc. In the beginning, Biernacki’s work included ticketing and support duties. After proving herself, Biernacki was given more responsibility, and found herself working on a new project with the security team. Biernacki was given the opportunity to take a lead role in remote calls with the global team, enabling her to network with professionals around the world. Thanks to this experience, Biernacki has set her sights on a career in security.

In addition to her co-op work terms, Biernacki has maintained a strong GPA and was president of the Sheridan’s Women in Science and Engineering Club.

“My time at Sheridan has allowed me to build the skills that I have now and will continue to use throughout my professional career. For that, I’m very thankful.” - Arianna Biernacki

Mudaser MobarakMudaser Mobarak (Bachelor of Applied Information Science—Info System Security)

2021 WIL Student of the Year (FAST—Computing) - Internship

Mudaser Mobarak completed an eight-month internship with the Ontario Securities Commission as an E-Discovery co-op student. During the placement, Mobarak received excellent feedback and exceeded employer expectations. Mobarak developed leadership skills and led training sessions for investigation and litigation staff while networking with others in the organization and volunteering for the social committee to plan events.

Mobarak has been a keen supporter of co-op and WIL, working as a Student Admissions representative, providing program information to prospective students.

Karanveer SinghKaranveer Saini (Electromechanical Engineering Technology)

2021 Co-op Student of the Year (FAST—Engineering) & Honourable Mention for the 2021 EWO Co-op Student of the Year, in the College category

During his Winter 2021 co-op with ATG Pharma Inc., Karanveer Saini went above and beyond by taking on design improvement projects, ushering them from design to production. He was also responsible for creating quality control documents and training production staff.

Saini has also been recognized for his dedication and relationship-building skills. He’s been involved in several extra-curricular activities such as the Sheridan Sikh Student Association, Toastmasters and the Robotics Club. Additionally, Saini received an honourable mention for the 2021 EWO Co-op Student of the Year in the College Category for the province of Ontario.

Sattar Razzak (Mechanical Engineering Technology)

2021 Co-op Honourable Mention (FAST—Engineering)

Sattar Razzak completed his co-op work term with educational solutions provider AYVA Educational Services Ltd. As Technical Marketing Analyst, Razzak marketed lab equipment and solutions to academic institutions across Canada. The experience gave Razzak an increased understanding of the equipment he learned about and used in his classes at Sheridan. Razzak says the opportunity helped develop his customer service and communication skills – both of which will be key if he chooses to pursue a career in technical sales in his future.

Razzak is a keen supporter of Sheridan’s co-op program, and is always willing to help peers with resumes, cover letters, and job search support. He even introduced another student to his previous employer, resulting in a co-op offer of employment.

Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies (FAHCS)

Rachel Parry (Practical Nursing)

2021 WIL Student of the Year (FAHCS) – Mandatory Professional Practice

Rachel Parry completed her placement at Coleman Care Centre – a nursing home based in Barrie, Ont. Parry began her studies at Sheridan with a passion for providing quality, patient-focused health care and through her placement, discovered a desire to focus her efforts specifically on caring for older adults. Parry’s experience at Coleman helped hone the special skills needed to be successful in the industry.

Parry has shared her positive experience with other students, encouraging them to embrace the joy of working in long-term care and to approach their placements with a positive attitude.

“I truly thank Sheridan for changing my life and letting me live out my dreams. I am now a full-time nurse and loving every second of it.” - Rachel Parry

Filipa Costa and Tejinderpal Singh (Child and Youth Care)

2021 WIL Student of the Year (FAHCS) – Field Placement

Filipa Costa and Tejinderpal Singh took on a challenging community practicum at an organization that supports at-risk and homeless youth. During their first two months at Horizons for Youth, Costa and Singh built strong relationships with all members of the agency, including staff supervisors and the youth, becoming a welcome addition to the team.

Midway through their placement, two serious incidents occurred, and both Costa and Singh responded with professionalism and compassion, expressing concern for the staff and youth at the agency. Costa and Singh showcased impressive dedication to their teammates. During a time when the world was in need, the two of them met every challenge with enthusiasm and grace.

Singh was able to bring aspects of his culture into his placement, and shared his unique perspective with his team. Costa used active listening, empathy, and an inclusive approach to her role to make those around her feel heard and safe.

“The theory we learned in our classes at Sheridan really provides the right tools to ensure academic success for students.” - Filipa Costa

Kia Halsall (Honours Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences—Athletic Therapy)

2021 WIL Honourable Mention (FAHCS) – Internship

Kia Halsall completed her Summer 2021 internship with the Toronto Blue Jays, becoming the first female athletic therapy intern with the Blue Jays. In her role, Halsall learned by observing the medical staff that were part of the team, and assisted with tasks such as preparing the team’s therapy space and dugout ahead of their games.

During her internship, Halsall networked and connected with other female athletic therapists across Canada. Halsall shares her professional experiences on her social media channels, recognizing the importance of showcasing female representation in the industry.

“When I started at Sheridan, I had my eyes set out on professional sports. This opportunity has been a once in a lifetime experience and I cannot thank the Toronto Blue Jays and Sheridan enough for facilitating this for me.” - Kia Halsall

Franz Nagata (Bachelor of Community Safety)

2021 WIL Student of the Year (FAHCS) – Internship, Honourable Mention for the 2021 CEWIL Canada Student of the Year Award & Honourable Mention for the 2021 EWO WIL Student of the Year, in the College category

When faced with the challenge of finding an internship during a pandemic, Franz Nagata decided to think outside of the box and created his own company.

With the support of his faculty, Nagata launched TGC APEX – a company that aimed to provide access to COVID-19 tests at a time when there was a lack of availability. Nagata worked with Sheridan’s Co-op Office to create additional Work-Integrated Learning opportunities at TGC APEX for his peers. He dedicated time to supporting and mentoring students completing their work term, often encouraging them to pursue co-op opportunities that better suit their long-term goals.

Franz supports his community by organizing food drives with his family and donating to various women’s shelters and local charities. Franz was also chosen as Sheridan’s provincial and national work-integrated learning nominee and received an honourable mention for the 2021 EWO WIL Student of the Year, in the College category.

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FHASS)

Kevin MacdonaldKevin MacDonald (Bachelor of Creative Writing and Publishing)

2021 WIL Student of the Year (FHASS) – Internship

Kevin MacDonald was hired as a Business Operations intern at Kobo Rakuten Inc. Working on content and technology that was new to him, MacDonald jumped in quickly to learn and work with HTML, CSS, and occasionally JavaScript files. MacDonald also to train a new intern just two months into his internship, and helped his team achieve a monthly throughput for ticket resolutions of over 100%.

Through his experience, MacDonald gained an appreciation for the continued learning of new skills  – something that will allow him to contribute to any organization he works with in the future.

Pilon School of Business (PSB)

Sergio Moreno ClevesSergio Moreno Cleves (Marketing Management)

2021 Co-op Student of the Year (PSB)

As an international student, Sergio Moreno Cleves had to overcome his uncertainty in a new environment and familiarize himself with the Canadian job market. After learning about the Canada’s media landscape through his classes, Cleves set his sights on securing a work term in the industry. Cleves completed his co-op work term with GroupM - MediaCom as a Media intern, assisting with campaign planning, activation, and execution for clients such as Canadian Blood Services and Peoples Jewellers. Cleves is now working at MediaCom full-time.

Being new to Canada and looking to meet new people, as a student, Cleves took the initiative to get involved virtually in the Sheridan community. He joined the e-sports community and participated in Zoom game nights, hosted by the Sheridan Student Union.

“I came (to Canada) in the middle of the pandemic and started my classes virtually in a new country, with new friends and new everything. I truly enjoyed every single class that I had.” - Sergio Moreno Cleves

Olivia Ibbott (Bachelor of Business Administration – Marketing Management)

2021 WIL Student of the Year (PSB) – Internship

Olivia Ibbott was awarded the 2021 WIL Student of the Year in the Internship category for her work with Scotiabank. Ibbott knew she wanted to pursue a career with Scotiabank after networking with recruiters on campus a year prior to her work term. Her determination helped in securing a role as Communications and Strategic Support Intern, assisting initiatives and projects with the small business line at Scotiabank. Ibbott’s success in this role led to a full-time position as a campus recruiter with Scotiabank, where she helps students secure their work terms and hosts events to further develop their skills.

Outside of her internship, Ibbott has been involved within the Sheridan community as a portfolio lead for Sheridan’s Innovation Accelerator. She also served as President for two years for the Pilon School of Business Marketing Association (PSBMA)and participated as a student representative for the Marketing Professional Advisory Council.


Sheridan’s Career-Integrated Learning offers several services including cooperative education, career services, work-integrated and experiential learning and community employment services to support students, alumni, and the community.

As a proud member of Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada, Sheridan’s Career-Integrated Learning team celebrated National Co-op and Work-Integrated Learning Month throughout the month of March.

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