The Co-operative Education Office is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Carleton University Co-op Student and Employer of the Year Awards. The Co-op Awards are presented each year to recognize the outstanding achievements, contributions, and performance of our co-op students and their employers.

Undergraduate Co-op Student of the Year

2020 Undergraduate Co-op Student of the Year Johanna Button poses in front of snowy landscape with trees in the background.

Johanna Button, winner of Carleton University’s 2020 Undergraduate Co-op Student of the Year Award.

Congratulations to Johanna Button, fourth-year Communications and Media Studies student, and winner of the 2020 Co-op Student of the Year Award.

Button completed an eight-month work term as an Outreach Assistant at Canadian Digital Service (CDS), a team that collaborates with other federal departments to make it easier for Canadians to access and use government services. Button was nominated by Aaron Snow, CEO of CDS, and Chelsea Novak, Head of Outreach at CDS, for consistently exceeding expectations and relentlessly advocating for the needs of all Canadians by ensuring that important government information is presented in a way that is relevant and accessible.

In their nomination form, Snow and Novak included how Button championed a social media listening project that helps inform how CDS frames the messages they share through the government’s new COVID Alert app. As part of this project, Button went through thousands of qualitative data sources and online comments people made about the app, coded and grouped the data into themes, and created weekly insight reports about what the most pressing concerns were for Canadians at that time.

“This project helps us capture bugs or general usability issues that the team may not know about, which we can then fix,” wrote Snow and Novak, “And this work has not only helped CDS share more relevant information with Canadians to keep them safe, but has proven so valuable that other government departments, including the Privy Council Office, has started requesting we share these weekly insights with them.”

One of Button’s other notable accomplishments involved ensuring all the content the CDS was sharing online (text, images, emojis, videos) followed accessibility best practices. Button shared her social media accessibility tips in a Twitter thread that reached over 18,000 people and received lots of positive engagement from those inside and outside the public service.

Snow and Novak ended their letter of support by saying, “Johanna truly is one of a kind and her work has been an integral part of the Outreach team – improving not just what and how we communicate, but changing perspective across government to be more thoughtful and inclusive.”

After completing her studies in December 2020, Button started as a full-time CDS employee in January 2021.

Honourable Mentions

Honourable Mentions – Co-op Student of the Year

Third-year political science student Shaolin-Rose Gawat, and Master of Public Policy and Administration student, Cole Parkin, both received honourable mentions for Co-op Student of the Year.

Shaolin-Rose Gawat worked as a Project Assistant within the Office of Student Affairs at Carleton University throughout the summer and fall 2020 work terms. Gawat was nominated for her exemplary work by supervisor Shannon Noonan, Manager of Mental Health Strategy & Initiatives.

“When she interviewed for this position, having just finished her second year at Carleton, she impressed me right from the start,” Noonan wrote in her nomination form.

Gawat’s most notable contributions throughout her work terms included developing and launching Carleton Wellness’ new social media presence, editing and transforming the university’s Supporting a Friend and Here for You workshops to an online format, and creating a new resource for Faculty on how to support student mental health and provide proper referrals.

“I have seen firsthand Shaolin’s leadership stand out in my 10+ years of experience supervising students. She is an extremely welcoming, inclusive person who is also reliable and trustworthy with her commitments. She performed exceptionally well as a staff member, and was often found spending her extra personal time continuing to build relationships and be present for stakeholders,” Noonan wrote. “Having worked with her these past seven months, I truly believe she is a cut above the rest.”

Noonan’s nomination letter also included comments from colleagues in four other university departments that Gawat interacted with throughout her time at the Office of Student Affairs. Each contributor’s comments were overflowing with praise for how Gawat was a friendly and professional resource who brought creativity and enthusiasm to all the projects they had worked on together.

Cole Parkin completed an eight-month work term with the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at Carleton University. Parkin was nominated by Jerry Tomberlin, Provost and Vice President (Academic), and Norah Vollmer, Manager of Faculty Affairs. The primary focus of Parkin’s work term was to complete a report on faculty recruitment, looking particularly at hiring challenges and filling specialized positions.

“Cole’s work was conducted with integrity and a strong sense of tact and diplomacy. With over 45 Academic Units and six Faculties, the disciplines and qualifications for academic positions are diverse. Cole learned quickly to appreciate the intricacies of academic hiring as well as the requirement to adhere to, not only University policies and Collective Agreements, but to applicable legislation as well,” wrote Tomberlin and Vollmer.

Parkin’s final report, which included 14 recommendations, was presented to Deans and University Librarian and over the fall term, he was able to make significant progress in supporting the implementation of many of the recommendations.

“Cole’s impact on faculty recruitment at Carleton University cannot be underestimated. We have no doubt that Carleton’s academic hiring program will be positively impacted by Cole’s report and his work with Faculty Affairs and key Departments.”

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Thursday, March 25, 2021 in , , ,
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