Feb. 14, 2024

Outstanding 2023 arts co-op participants recognized for work term excellence

Employers praise students’ leadership, professionalism, and creativity
A group of people stand together holding certificates
The winners and honorable mentions of the 2023 Arts Co-op Student and Employer of the Year Awards with Associate Dean Dawn Johnston (centre). Anujin (Alice) Munkhnasan, Faculty of Arts

The hard work and accomplishments of Faculty of Arts co-op students and their supervisors culminated in a celebration on Jan. 23 at the 2023 Arts Co-op Employer and Student of the Year awards ceremony. The event recognized co-op students and employers for their achievements and shared support of one another throughout the past year. The in-person ceremony was held in the new Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking’s collision space, with students, employers, and their respective guests in attendance.

Twenty-eight students and 20 supervisors were nominated in the following categories: On-Campus, Off-Campus Large Organization, and Off-Campus Small/Medium Organization. The nominations were reviewed by a diverse panel of five judges who volunteered their time to assess each nomination package. Dr. Dawn Johnston, associate dean of teaching, learning, and student engagement presented the awards to the winners and honorable mentions of each category. 

A student receives an award

Yaiza Lopez Garcia San Roman, right, receives her award from Dawn Johnston.

Anujin (Alice) Munkhnasan

Off-Campus Small/Medium Organization Student of the Year winner and visual studies student Yaiza Lopez Garcia San Roman emphasized the importance of the co-op program in her undergraduate experience. “Working with my team at Behst has been the highlight of my year,” Yaiza said. “I learned so much professionally and personally.”

The winner of On-Campus Employer of the Year, Women’s Resource Centre Co-ordinator Nanako Furuyama, spoke on her extensive experience working alongside co-op students:

“I look forward to continue working with the co-op students — I have had co-op students for a little over 10 years now […] every time I have such a positive experience and I am always looking forward to seeing applications. I wish I could hire 12 co-op students every time, because that’s how I feel about working with them.”

The awards ceremony showcased the impressive impacts that co-operative education opportunities have had for undergraduate students. Employers acknowledged and praised students’ displays of leadership, professionalism, and creativity which enabled them to succeed in their work terms.

Student of the Year Awards


  • Winner: Zeni Rodger-Duncan, nominated by David Marallag, Leadership and Student Engagement Office
  • Honorable Mention: Mary Smales, nominated by Lidiya Marinova, Cumming School of Medicine – Indigenous, Local and Global Health Office
  • Honorable Mention: Karah Schmidtler, nominated by Machenzie Beerbaum and Hannah Unterschultz, Office of the Registrar – Student Recruitment

Off-Campus, Large Organization

  • Winner: Nicholas Soumbasis, nominated by Marc-Olivier Faulkner, TD Insurance
  • Honorable Mention: Rica Mae Aldos, nominated by Mary-Catherine Speirs, Global Affairs Canada
  • Honorable Mention: Amber Clayton, nominated by Jean-Louis Renaud, Art Deruga, and Belinda Kart, Global Affairs Canada

Off-Campus, Small/Medium Organization

  • Winner: Yaiza Lopez Garcia San Roman, nominated by Amanda Baxter, Behst Machinery Corp
  • Honorable Mention: Nathan Karbonik, nominated by Jennifer MacDonald, Platform Calgary
  • Honorable Mention: Ryan Al-Sakaf, nominated by Gre Shimizu and Beverly Uibel, Prairies Economic Development Canada

Employer of the Year Awards


  • Winner: Nanako Furuyama, nominated by Maria Mora and Ayishah Hasni, Women’s Resource Centre
  • Honorable Mention: Steve Mason, nominated by Grace McCue, Student Success Centre
  • Honorable Mention: Mika Blundell, nominated by Zaara Kudchiwala, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning


  • Winner: Marc-Olivier Faulkner, nominated by Nicholas Soumbasis, TD Insurance
  • Honorable Mention: Yu-Ching Liu, nominated by Carolyn Zhao, Canadian Natural Resources Limited
  • Honorable Mention: Deidra Campagna, nominated by Kaitlyn Luu, Calgary Sports and Entertainment

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