The School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan celebrated the success of this year’s engineering co-op graduates—students who have combined classroom learning with practical work experience—as part of National Cooperative Educational Week (Marrch 21 to 25).
At the school’s recent Co-op Graduation Reception, awards were given to the top co-op faculty member, student and employer.
UBC mechanical engineering professor Mina Hoorfar received the Co-op Faculty of the Year award for her ongoing commitment to the co-op program and her record of assisting students in their research aspirations through regular mentoring and coaching.
“Dr. Hoorfar works hard to design projects that provide students practical and real-world related work experiences in engineering along with exposure to publishing and presenting papers in peer-reviewed journals and conferences,” said Bushra Waheed, School of Engineering co-op coordinator.
Student of the Year award was presented to Holly Rourke, a civil engineering co-op student who is on track to graduate this spring.
The award for Employer of the Year was given to one of North America’s largest construction and mining companies, Kiewit, for its outstanding support of the UBC engineering co-op program.
“Civil engineering is a broad field, and before embarking on my first term I wasn’t sure where I wanted to specialize,” said Rourke.
“I definitely feel co-op has given me a leg up. Not only do you get to see how classroom concepts are applied to real-life problems, but co-op salaries are also a huge help with tuition.”
In the 2010-11academic year, nearly 100 work terms were filled by civil, electrical and mechanical engineering co-op students from UBCO. About 57 per cent of these work placements were in the Okanagan and various other regions of B.C., while 21 per cent took place in the Lower Mainland.
An additional 20 per cent of students found co-op opportunities across Canada, while one per cent gained international experience in Australia.