Student of the Year Award - Past Winners

Science Co-op Student of the Year Award Winners

2022 Michelle Fan (Honours in Cellular, Anatomical & Physiological Sciences) 

Michelle Fan is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Honours Cellular, Anatomical, and Physiological Sciences program. She has recently completed a 12-month work term in the lab of Dr. Honglin Luo at St. Paul’s Hospital. During her placement in Luo Lab, her research focused on the interplay between enterovirus and innate immune pathways. She has published two co-first-author articles and presented these projects in both local and national conferences.

Michelle has found this Co-op placement very transformative. It not only prepared her well for the final year of study at UBC, but also helped her to grow more mature, confident, and determined. Most importantly, the co-op placement greatly impacted her career trajectory as she became more curious and decided to pursue a Ph.D.

Currently, Michelle is finishing up her honours thesis in the lab of Dr. Carolina Tropini at the Life Science Institute. In October 2023, she will be heading to the University of Oxford to pursue a DPhil in Molecular Biology in Health and Disease.

2021 Carly Pistawka (Biotechnology) + ACE-WIL Student of the Year in BC & Honourable Mention Carson Leach

Carly Pistawka is a fourth year undergraduate student in the joint UBC-BCIT honours in Biotechnology program. As a physically disabled student with chronic pain, Carly is passionate about pain research and clinical treatment approaches. Through research on her own condition, Carly found Dr. Caroline MacCallum, a physician specializing in medical cannabis, whose interests also included chronic and complex pain. During her 8-month co-op opportunity with Dr. MacCallum, she has worked on projects, presentations, and publications involving cannabis product safety, neurocognitive impairment, special populations, and opioid-cannabis synergy in chronic pain patients.

Carly hopes to pursue genetic counseling or clinical research in pain after her bachelor’s degree. In 2020, Carly co-founded the nonprofit project ‘Moon Time Sisters BC’, which fights against menstrual inequity by collecting and sending menstrual products to remote Indigenous communities in Northern BC and the territories.

Additionally, we congratulate Carly on her additional ACE-WIL Student of the Year Award in their University category! The team at Science Co-op wishes her the best on her bright future ahead.

Learn more about Carly's co-op experience on her award page!

An additional congratulations to our Honourable Mention for 2021, Behavioural Neuroscience student Carson Leach, who was recognized by the Vaccine Evaluation Center (VEC) for his vibrant addition to the team as a Clinical Research Assistant, as well as his positive impact to the wellbeing of his team via the initiative and light he brought to virtual wellness activities to keep morale up over the Covid-19 pandemic. The VEC celebrates his team spirit, eclectic skillset, multi-project capabilities, and every day enthusiasm.

2020 Charu Sankaran (Integrated Sciences) 

Charu Sankaran is an Integrated Sciences student, who has completed two eight-month work terms with the Science Co-op program. She completed her first and second co-op work-terms as a Research Assistant under the supervision of Dr. Kevin Hay at Terry Fox Laboratories (BC Cancer Agency) studying Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cells. After a successful completion of her first two work terms, Charu continued to further her learnings in research when she was hired as a Lab Research Assistant on an 8-month work term at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Hermann Schaetzl to study prion diseases.

Learn more about Charu's co-op experience in Co-op Chronicles!

2019 Judy So (Microbiology & Immunology) 

Judy So is a fourth year Microbiology and Immunology student, who recently completed a 12-month work term at BC Children's Hospital. Her experience includes preparing case study reports on rare orthopaedic conditions, coordinating the largest international registry for developmental dysplasia of the hip, and mentoring volunteers on patient interaction. The projects she worked on have the potential to identify trends in successful treatment practices for paediatric hip conditions, with the goal of improving and standardizing care for these conditions globally.

Judy has also been a dedicated volunteer at BC Children's Hospital for years, and hopes to continue working with children as she is passionate about optimizing hospital experience and providing social support to this population.

At UBC, she is the president of her department’s student association, where she works with her team to organize academic peer support and socials to promote a sense of community between students and faculty.

Learn more about Judy's co-op experience in Co-op Chronicles!

2018 Samantha Sam (Geophysics) 

Geophysics major, Samantha Sam, names Science Co-op program the most significant factor in her successful undergraduate journey. During her 16 months at SRK Consulting, Samantha worked with the  Geo-Environmental group as the firm’s very first non-engineering Co-op student. As a Geotechnical Engineering Co-op student and later an integral member of the Hydrogeology Group, she gained invaluable experience not only in the office with her mentors but in the field in Nunavut and Yukon. Her knowledge and skills were quickly recognized and soon she was accomplishing goals beyond what was expected from a co-op student. For all her efforts and achievements, she was awarded the Canadian Exploration Geophysical Society Foundation (KEGS) scholarship. 

Above all, her colleagues truly enjoyed Samantha’s ‘infectious’ energy and Samantha’s supervisor praised her professionalism and thoughtfulness and by the end of her co-op term, considered her performance to be at a level characteristic of first-year consultant rather than a co-op student. Samantha has certainly raised the standard for incoming co-op students.

(Samantha Sam shown 2nd from the left in the picture)

2018 Brandon Huntington (Biology) 

Biology Co-op Student, Brandon Huntington, is a gifted and dedicated young biologist who excelled in all of his Co-op work terms and academics, and contributions to Co-op and to the UBC Community. 

Brandon’s Co-op journey allowed him to gain experience in broad range of subjects including Agriculture, Neuroscience and Biophysics.  From his three Co-op employment with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada; UBC Michael Smith Laboratories, and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, Brandon has proven himself to be a bright and talented individual who received glowing praises from his employers. Not only did he gain experience completing high profile projects, he published two papers and had a poster presented at a conference at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Germany.  Brandon also finds time to give back to Co-op and UBC by volunteering in various roles such as being involved with the Ecological Restoration Program at Pacific Spirit Park Soceity, UBC Mental Health Network, AMS Vice etc.

Additionally, we congratulate Brandon on receiving the provincial level of the Co-op Student of the Year Award (ACE) as well. Brandon served as a fantastic ambassador of UBC Science Co-op both locally and internationally. We hope all the best in his bright future. 

2017 Jessica Jun (Integrated Sciences) + ACE Student of the Year in BC

Jessica Jun recently completed a 12-month co-op term at the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) and will be graduating with a B.Sc. in Integrated Sciences from the University of British  Columbia. As a co-op student, Jessica worked closely with the medical writing team and Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse on several research and outreach initiatives, including a nationally-funded clinical trial, provincial and national clinical care guidelines for opioid addiction, and training resources for the treatment of opioid addiction in hospitals and community settings across BC. During her co-op, she identified a research interest in substance use treatment in correctional settings and first-authored a manuscript for publication, which she presented at the 41st Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse Annual National Conference in Washington, DC. In her spare time, Jessica volunteers with Pain BC’s Connect for Health, a provincial service that supports individuals living with chronic pain. 

In addition, we congratulate Jessica on receiving the provincial level of the Co-op Student of the Year Award (ACE) as well.  We are truly proud to have a student like Jessica Jun in our program.

2016 Jamie Magrill (Biology)

Jamie recently completed a 12-month Co-op term at the BC Cancer Agency. As a Co-op student Jamie was responsible for validating a cutting-edge molecular classifier for endometrial cancer, and he also initiated a number of novel projects on rare ovarian cancer biomarkers. Jamie was able to co-author five abstracts for publication, including a first-author abstract accepted for poster presentation at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology.

Jamie enjoys volunteering at the Dr. Peter Centre for HIV/AIDS Palliative Care Residence, as well as with Adaptive Aquatics at the Stan Stronge Pool in George Pearson Centre. At the University of British Columbia Jamie holds several positions in student organizations, including Vice-President, Communication with Gamma Sigma Alpha International Honors Society, where he was proud to have spearheaded an annual school supply drive with the YWCA to raise educational supplies for low-income women and their children.

Jamie is an outstanding example of what one can achieve when one is determined, ambitious and fearless. We are incredibly proud and happy to present Jamie Magrill, as the winner of the 2016 Science Co-op Student of the Year Award.

2015 Alanna De Mello (Combined Majors in Science)

Alanna recently completed a 16 month Co-op placement with BC Children’s hospital in the Division of Nephrology, where her colleagues, peers and mentors considered her to be “one of the strongest research students that our Division has ever seen”. In addition to Alanna’s outstanding performance as a Co-op student Alanna also brings the same passion and commitment to her role as a figure skating coach, mentor and advocate for SCOOPS (UBC Science Co-op Student Association).

During Alanna’s time with BC Children’s Hospital division of Nephrology she became an integral part of the research team. Initially hired on for an 8 month Co-op term Alanna was offered the opportunity to extend her Co-op for an additional 8 months. During that time, she was involved in several research projects on acute kidney injury. Alanna was able to hone in on her presentation and leadership skills by presenting her findings to hospital staff including both doctors and nurses in both the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at BC Children’s and Women’s Hospital. Alanna was also involved in a project on “Social Determinants of Health” where herself and colleagues presented at the Advances in Pediatrics seminars hosted at BC Children’s Hospital. However, one of Alanna’s greatest achievements was writing an abstract as first author for a team of world class doctors across Canada. Alanna’s abstract won a Student Subspecialty Award for the top submission in her category. She presented her results at a conference in Carmel, California to leading nephrologists in Western U.S. and Canada.

Alanna brings the same hard work and motivation to her role as a certified professional figure skating coach, peer wellness mentor and champion of Co-op at UBC. Alanna’s ability to time manage has allowed her to remain very active as a figure skating coach in her hometown of Richmond, BC. She is also a volunteer skating coach for Special Olympics, BC. Alanna actively contributes to UBC student health through the Peer Wellness Coaching Program where she provides individual coaching to UBC students seeking to improve their mental, physical and social well being. Alanna has shared her own co-op experiences to her peers through the UBC Science Co-op Student Association SCOOPS and participated in their 2015 Mentorship Program where she was a mentor for a new co-op student and provided one on one support to help enrich the student co-op experience. Alanna has also participated in various Science Co-op bootcamps in 2014-2015 where she shared her co-op experiences as a student panel member to about 300 new co-op students. In addition to the work Alanna has done in her own community she has also spent time in Kenya on various outreach projects.

Alanna is a “stellar” candidate who exhibits all the qualities of an outstanding co-op student. Alanna will undoubtedly continue to succeed in whatever endeavor she tackles with her determination, hard work and motivation. It has been a pleasure to have her as a UBC Science Co-op student.

2014 Lucas Cahill (Engineering Physics)

Lucas is an ideal candidate who exhibits all the qualities of an outstanding Co-op student. During his time as a Co-op student, he has achieved many impressive accomplishments in his workplace, contributing much to advance the research projects that he was a part of. His supervisors described him as "an exceptionally gifted student" and he was consistently rated as the top-tiered student amongst many others they have encountered. Additionally, Lucas has a stellar academic record and is well respected amongst his peers.

Lucas is in his last year of Engineering Physics at UBC, where he takes a heavy course load in Math, Physics and Electrical Engineering. International co-op experience at Laser Zentrum,Germany, microscope development at the Brain Research Centre, UBC, and biomedical imaging at BC Cancer Research Centre has given him the opportunity to directly contribute to his intended career field (research professor in biomedical optics and medical imaging) through multiple research papers and conference presentations. This year he will be attending SPIE Photonics West, one of the largest Biomedical optics and Biophotonics conference in the world, to give an oral presentation on his research at BC Cancer. His co-op experiences have enhanced his understanding and promoted his involvement in his undergraduate courses and confirmed his desire to pursue graduate school in Biomedical Imaging.

We have no doubt that Lucas will continue to succeed in his future studies and career. It is an honor to have a student like Lucas in our UBC Science Co-op Program.

2013 Abhijit Parolia (Biotechnology)

Abhijit Parolia is one of the top five students admitted to the Joint UBC/BCIT program over the past ten years. He already has co-authored three scientific papers and has kept a very high grade-point average in a very demanding program. Abhjit also volunteers for the Two World Cancer Collaboration. This society promotes and supports the improvement of standards of palliative care in developing countries through education and training of healthcare professionals. He is also a member of the UBC Debate Society.

Abhijit has completed three Co-op work terms. His first work term was with the ICORD (International Collaboration for Repair Discoveries) group at the Vancouver General Hospital. This work term was arranged through BCIT. His second and third work terms were at the BC Cancer Agency where he worked with the Experiential Therapeutics group. His research work primarily focuses on studying the complex biological existence and the curative resistance of prostate cancer. Earlier this year, his work was awarded the British Columbia Cancer Studentship, which gave a further impetus to Abhijit’s work in the area of cancer research. It is also Abhijit’s life endeavor to find an affordable cure to cancer. His supervisor at the BC Cancer Agency, Professor Cheryl Helgason, summarized his performance as follows: “Abhijit has accomplished more in seven months in my laboratory than many of my previous graduate students accomplished during their 3-6 years of training. He is an incredibly intelligent, creative, and hardworking young scientist”. It is rare to see such impressive work by an undergraduate student in any research environment, Co-op or otherwise.

In addition to his contributions in the work place, Abhijit has received numerous awards and scholarships for his academic achievements as well as community work. As a student, he was always eager and willing to help fellow students by providing free tutorials. We are very proud to have an outstanding student like Abhijit in our program, and would like to recognize his accomplishments by awarding him the Science Co-op Student of the Year award.

Quote from Abhijit:
“Co‐op or work‐integrated learning has allowed me to undergo a holistic learning experience..
In my 10 months of Co‐op experience spanning two work‐terms, I have achieved the following: established valuable contacts; co‐authored scientific reviews and full manuscripts; helped file for patents; ideated and currently pursue an independent research project; collaborated with senior scientists; and initiated a meaningful association with a NGO. All of this has enriched me intellectually, professionally and as a person.”

2012 Trisha Roberson (Physics)

This year’s Science Co-op Student of the Year recognizes an outstanding young physicist, Trisha Roberson (Honors Physics & Philosophy), who has stellar achievements in all areas in her academics, co-op work terms and UBC community. As one of the forerunners of the Max Planck Institutes & UBC exchange initiative, she has done an exemplary job representing the academic excellence of UBC. As an undergraduate student, Trisha began with only limited knowledge of condensed matter theory, but quickly understood the relevant literature and applied it to the problem at hand. Trisha has made significant progress studying the effects of spin-orbit coupling on strontium ruthenate, working from an ab initio theory of the band structure of the material. Her contribution to the research is currently waiting to be published.

Trisha has always been above the undergraduate level and more on par with graduate-school achievement. Prior to her 8 month work term in Germany with MPI, Trisha worked at one of the largest companies in the world – Conoco Philips in Houston, Texas. She worked as a Geoscience Intern which was typically held by Masters or PhD students. Trisha was recommended for the position due to her important accomplishment from her previous work term in the Seismic Laboratory for Imaging and Modelling (SLIM) in UBC. The outcome of her work allowed many research groups that work in Matlab to access the excellent I/O and transpose functions in JavaSeis in order to bridge the gap between academic research and the industrial applications to seismic imaging in oil exploration. It is remarkable how much Trisha has accomplished in shortly 16 months of co-op experience. Not to forget to mention Trisha was also responsible for completing the repair of Canada’s Seismic Network, from only two-thirds functioning to fully working condition by physically travelling all around Vancouver Island and BC interiors on her very first work term at Earthquakes Canada.

Trisha is also on the Dean’s honors list for her academic achievements. She genuinely has a love for physics and is an active presenter in many physics conferences such as Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference, Undergraduate Pacific Physics and Astronomy Conference and the Northwest Women in Physics Conference. The networking opportunity serves a variety of purposes for Trisha including seeing the work and research done by others and getting a new perspective on the other schools in Canada. In order to give back, Trisha was part of the organizing committee for UBC's hosting of the Canadian Women in Physics Conference in 2012 and involved in the early stages of planning for the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference. Due to her presentations at these conferences, she has also received the “Dean of Science Scholarship” in both 2010 and 2011.

In addition, Trisha has been the Residence Advisor on campus for two years, key executive for the Science Co-op Student Association (SCOOPS) and previously served as the President of the Physics Society. Through these positions, she has the opportunity to share her experiences with others and benefit many students who are still in the quest of searching the right path for their career and academic journey.

We congratulate Trisha on her wonderful accomplishments in her academic life and very proudly announce her as the winner of 2012 Science Co-op Student of the Year. We thank Trisha’s for her incomparable contributions to the Physics and UBC community.


2011 Gurpal Bisra (Engineering Physics)

Gurpal’s one dream is to have a positive impact on humankind and our planet. His participation in the Science Co-op program has shown that he is determined to make his dream come true. In grade 10, he was inspired by his Science teacher who talked about how nanotechnology could be used to cure cancer and other diseases. He entered the Science Co-op program a few years later, with the goal to study nanotechnology. This took him to Germany for 8 months, working at the University of Wurzburg. Despite living in a new culture and having a language barrier, Gurpal had a highly successful work term. His research with nanotechnology produced “state of the art” results which were published in highly ranked scientific journals. This experience further propelled him along his path.

For his next work term, Gurpal decided that the best way to achieve his long term goals was to become more interdisciplinary, feeling strongly that engineers must understand the building blocks of life in order to best tackle the various global crises. So, he decided he wanted to pursue a work term that would give him a strong biology base. In the summer of 2011, he began working under Dr. Joanne Fox at the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC and joined the iGEM team. iGEM is an international research competition where teams of undergraduate students carry out synthetic biology research projects of their own design. UBC’s iGEM team decided to work on combating the pine beetle outbreak by producing trees natural chemical defense mechanism in yeast. Despite Gurpal’s initial lack of a strong biology background, he quickly caught up to speed and was responsible for the design and implementation of the modeling components of the project. In addition, he was chosen by his peers to represent the UBC iGEM team at competition. Gurpal led the team to take a gold medal at the iGEM Americas Regionals and also won a special award for Best Model. At the awards ceremony, the expert judges highlighted Gurpal’s work as exemplary and praised Gurpal’s mathematical model. This is the best showing UBC has ever achieved for this competition and it showcased our university on an international platform. Gurpal describes the work here: . On top of his summer work term and putting in extra hours working evenings and weekends on the iGEM project, Gurpal also took the time to organize social events for his team, as well as completing two summer courses, all the while maintaining his A average in the extremely intense and challenging engineering physics program.

Gurpal hasn’t slowed down after completing the Co-op program. He started a company with some fellow students and to help them navigate the business side, he took it upon himself to become the Industry Liason for the Intellectual Property Club at UBC. Additionally, he has been conducting research with the MiNa Research group (UBC) after getting interested in microfluidics. As a result of a summer research project with Dr. Karen Cheung, he was published as third author in several publications.

On top of this academic successes and work experiences, Gurpal brings a truly global perspective as he has lived abroad and has travelled across 14 countries, meeting people from other cultures firsthand. He has come to fully realize the value of a diverse and tolerant society and this just further motivates him to work tirelessly to make the world a better place. Gurpal Bisra has the drive, passion and ability to achieve his dreams of becoming an agent of change in this world. His next undertaking is to obtain an MD/Ph.D or an M.A.Sc in biomaterial/biomedical engineering. No doubt he will continue making positive contributions that will benefit us all. We are very proud to have Gurpal as our 2011 Co-op Student of the Year.

2010 Alec Lee (Biotechnology) & Maya Tong (Microbiology & Immunology)

Alec Lee

Alec is the kind of person who makes change happen. In 2007 he co-founded a company, MCAT Question a Day, which provides free test prep services to pre-medical students preparing for the rigorous MCAT examination. Their website launched in 2008 and since then has grown to serve nearly 80,000 users per month. The brand is now licensed to an iPhone application developer and a book of past MCAT questions has been published. Alec is also the co-founder of the UBC-BCIT Biotechnology Club and he has served on the executive team of the Student Biotechnology Network. Alec has advocated for students throughout his undergraduate career, serving as the Student Representative for the Biotechnology program while at BCIT and serving on a BC government committee as a voting student representative.

In 2009, Alec was selected as one of 50 presenters, from over 1000 candidates, at the Education Without Borders International Student Conference in Dubai where he discussed the potential humanitarian uses of genetically modified foods. Recently, he traveled to western Kenya where he assisted a small ceramic water filter factory in its final phase before full-scale production. While in Kenya, Alec decided to found a student organization called Path 2 Prosperity (P2P) which is currently collecting donated education supplies and fundraising $10,000 to ship the supplies in a container to Kiminini, the village where he was based, in May 2011. The donated items will help furnish the library and computer lab of a local primary school where three-quarters of the students are orphans.

During his four co-op work terms, Alec has worked on a range of projects from researching insects and transgenic trees, to market research helping a small herb-grower's cooperative increase profits, to corporate research developing high-value green products to displace petroleum use. His third co-op work term was with the pilot program iClip (Interdisciplinary Clean-Tech Internship Program). The purpose of this program was to create opportunities where students of various backgrounds can work together on projects for industry. He returned to Lignol and the Integrative Biosciences Research Cluster (IBRC), but this time, instead of working in the lab, he conducted market research. For Lignol he assessed the viability of pursuing a particular application for one of their core product lines. At IBRC he worked on a client assignment to develop prototype products and assess their viability for delivery to market. This co-op placement confirmed Alec’s career direction where he hopes to one day work with scientific innovators and impact how they do business.

Alec is currently finishing his 5th year of the Honours Biotechnology program and minoring in Philosophy. His next undertaking will be at Harvard Business School where he has been admitted to the MBA program. The combination of his motivation and ambition, ability to contribute positively to his community, and his philosophy of “making things happen”, is why Alec Lee is the co-recipient of the 2010 Student of the Year.


Maya Tong

Maya began her co-op career with us much like any other student. She attended workshops and applied to jobs in hopes of landing her first placement. What separates Maya from others is how much effort she put into her co-op experience. In a word, she was persistent. She didn’t try to take the easy route or ever settle for what was convenient and modified her goals along the way to ensure she continued to challenge herself.

Her initial goal when she started co-op was to have an opportunity to conduct independent research. She was hired at Stemcell Technologies, which was the top ranked biotechnology company in Vancouver in 2009. At this placement, she helped develop novel research technologies, such as immunomagnetic separation of blood cells and xeno-free media for the growth and differentiation of Mesenchymal stem cells. Her next placement with the Downtown Infectious Disease Clinic allowed her to combine her love of science with community service. The work incorporated research outside of a laboratory setting with clinical practice for patients in the Downtown Eastside who had infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis and HIV. This experience completely changed her perspective on modern medicine and has inspired her to pursue medicine after graduation.

Having worked in industry and in a clinic, Maya now wanted to work in an academic lab but also work internationally for her last co-op placement. She contacted a researcher in Australia and secured a placement with the Haemotology divison of South Australia Pathology using mouse models of multiple myeloma to analyze changes in stromal stem cells over the course of the disease. Relocating can be an adjustment and moving over 12,000 km from home was definitely daunting, however Maya took on this challenge and experienced great personal rewards from this placement.

In her spare time, Maya enjoys staying active in her community. She has taught skating lessons for over ten years, and currently teaches both figure skating and hockey lessons around the lower mainland. She has also volunteered at both preschools and elementary schools promoting science and encouraging these children to be curious about science. At UBC, Maya is an executive of the Science Co-op Students Club and was instrumental in founding this club in 2008. She also has held a number of roles with Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) and served as a liaison for SUS and the Microbiology and Immunology Department faculty and students last year.

Maya has transitioned from a person who believed in taking opportunities to a person who now believes in making opportunities. She is an example of how all students should utilize and apply their experience while in co-op which is why Maya Tong is our co-recipient of the 2010 Student of the Year award. We know that Maya will go on to be very successful in her future endeavours and will make a positive contribution to our community.

2009 Neil Thomas (Computer Science) & Yan Xu (Microbiology & Immunology)

Neil Thomas

Neil Thomas, a fourth year Honours Computer Science student, is the joint winner of the Science Co-op student of the year award for 2009. This is the first time that a Computer Science student has received this award and Neil certainly deserves it. Neil’s accomplishments are truly amazing. Neil has maintained an impressive A+ standing (GPA of 97.6% ) throughout his academic career at UBC and has been an active member of the Department, where he helps other students via course mailing lists, newsgroups and WebCT discussion boards. He also is a member of the UBC Commonwealth club where he serves as the Vice President, the Director of communication and the Director of IT.

For his 5 Co-op work terms, Neil has worked at Safe Software and Google. At Safe Software, he worked primarily on backend infrastructure for data processing applications. For the remaining 16 months, Neil worked at Google, where he engineered internal tools, mobile applications and rich Web applications front-ends. Neil has worked on and launched multiple consumer-facing products that are being used by millions of clients. Neil has also utilized his communication skills at Google where he chaired meetings and gave presentations to his colleagues and Management.

His most recent supervisor, Derek Philips has said of Neil:
“I've been Neil's host at Google for 12 months and I can say with confidence that Neil is a truly remarkable talent. Having interviewed over 120 candidates and hosted 4 other interns at Google, Neil received the only perfect score I've ever given. He has been extremely productive, reliable and a pleasure to work with. He has far exceeded the bar that I had originally set for interns and I now evaluate all intern and new-grad candidates in relation to Neil. "

Neil has also been awarded the Google Internship Scholarship for 2009 and has an offer for full time employment. The Scholarship is awarded to a total of 80 interns and co-ops across all of Google’s worldwide offices and is valued at $10,000 USD. With his exceptional technical skills and abilities, along with dedication to excellence, he is sure to be successful wherever he goes and we are happy to have him represent UBC Science Co-op.


Yan Xu

Dr. Elisabeth Maurer stated “Without exaggeration, Yan is the most outstanding student I have met in my career”. We agree and this is why Yan Xu is the co-recipient of the UBC Science Co-op’s 2009 Student of the Year Award.

Yan Xu, a Microbiology and Immunology student, started his co-op experience at Amgen where he developed and implemented assay screening strategies to identify drug molecules with novel, desired characteristics. In addition to performing his technical duties, Yan sought opportunities to gather as much insight and knowledge into how data was interpreted, and thus affect the drug development industry, by attending meetings and seeking additional training outside of his assigned duties. His next eight month placement was with Dr. Elisabeth Maurer, a Scientist with the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) and the President and CTO of LightIntegra Technology Inc., where he conducted research on platelet products used in blood transfusion, investigating the role of ThromboLUXTM, a dynamic light scattering instrument, in platelet quality testing. Yan’s results from this research are being included in a manuscript where he will be the first author, another achievement he can include in his portfolio.

Yan’s work with CBS required close collaboration with different organizations and individuals in the area of transfusion medicine and hematology, an area he hopes to work in the future. He realized that by having the background knowledge and possessing practical experience in the areas of their work was the key to creating meaningful dialogue. Meaningful dialogue is something that Yan believes in, thus he initiated and co-designed a UBC Student Directed Seminar course. This course combines the exploration of ethical considerations with participation in international service learning projects. Yan is also extensively involved in his community. He is one of the selected few to participate in the Vancouver Board of Trade – Leaders of Tomorrow program and since 2003, has been involved with Kids Help Phone as a Student Ambassador and a member of the Awareness Committee Vancouver. This is just a few of the volunteer commitments Yan is involved in.

Yan Xu is the definition of motivation – his drive to achieve, not just professionally but personally, combined with his ability to apply his experiences beyond the classroom, is why we selected him for the Science Co-op’s 2009 Student of the Year award. We are proud of Yan’s accomplishments and thank him for helping making UBC Science Co-op a success!

2008 Dorian Gangloff (Engineering Physics) + ACE Student of the Year in BC

Dorian Gangloff, an Engineering Physics student, has received the UBC Science Co-op Student of the Year award among 11 students, Dorian’s achievements and personal statement helped him earn the coveted award. Dorian’s most recent work term took place at the University of Ottawa under the supervision of Physics professor André Longtin, Director of the Centre for Neural Dynamics. Dorian co-authored an article which presents the results of the research conducted and this article is currently being revised for publication in the Journal of Neuroscience. Dorian is a great example of how one can benefit by travelling abroad for a work term. In addition to travelling to Ottawa, Dorian journeyed to Wurzburg, Germany for an 8 month placement with Nanoplus Gmbh where he contributed to projects dealing with micro-controllers and micro-electronics. Dorian’s first work term at the Structured Surface Physics Laboratory, within UBC’s Physics and Astronomy Department, gave him the opportunity to hone his technical and mechanical skills. Dorian credits these experiences for giving him the opportunity to learn about different cultures, network and adapt to new environments. In addition, to his academic achievements, Dorian has been an active member of the community. He has acted as the team manager for the Engineering Week departmental feature project, has been the president of the Engineering Physics Association and has helped raise money for Engineers Without Borders all while securing a spot on the Dean’s Honour List and maintaining a 92% average! With his dedication, commitment and initiative, Dorian has proven to deserve of this award, and we are very proud to have him represent the Science Co-op program.

2007 Julie Ng (Pharmacology)

In 2007/2008 we continued our annual tradition of presenting one exceptional Science Co-op student with the Science Co-op Student of the Year Award. 14 excellent
Science co-op students applied for the award. Based on criteria which includes job achievement, academic performance,and community involvement, the Co-op Student of the Year 2007 award was awarded to Julie Ng, a 4th year Pharmacology student.

Julie’s performance with her academic studies and Co-op work terms has been exemplary. During an 8 month placement at Roche Biosciences, Julie made significant contributions on a drug-discovery project which earned her an Individual Employee Achievement Award. She spent her next two Co-op work terms at the iCapture Centre for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Heart and Lung Institute at St. Paul’s Hospital, where she discovered her desired career path as a clinician-scientist in cardiology.

Julie received the Summer Student Research Program Award from UBC’s Faculty of Medicine and is co-authoring a manuscript to be published this year. In between work and maintaining a 90%+ average, Julie contributes to her community with a variety of volunteer work. With her hard work, commitment, focus and compassion, Julie Ng epitomizes all the qualities we seek to instill in our students; we are extremely proud to have her represent the Science Co-op program.

2006 Shane Lloyd (Pharmacology)

Over the past 26 years we have had a large number of students pass through our doors who have gone on to achieve great things. All of our students are capable of reaching high levels of success, but sometimes we come across a student whose excellence stands out above the crowd. It is so rewarding to have an opportunity to work with exceptional individuals such as these. As we watch their brilliance be put to use in the professional world, we are confident that this student is really going to do something special. To recognize this level of outstanding achievement, this year will be the beginning of what will be an annual tradition in which we will present one exceptional co-op student with the UBC Science Co-op Student of the Year Award and a cheque for $500.

For a first time award, we were pleased to see such a large number of strong applicants apply. After much deliberation, we would like to announce that 4th year Honours Pharmacology student, Shane Lloyd will be this year’s 2006 UBC Science Co-op Student of the Year. Shane was an incredible candidate, possessing a long list of achievements that are truly outstanding. Just some of the highlights include:

Winner of the 2004 NASA Spaceflight and Life Sciences Training Program Scholarship
This prestigious annual award is only given to two students in Canada. Recipients attend an intensive summer internship program at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Shane worked with senior NASA scientists and engineers on actual flight experiments destined for the space shuttle and international space station.

At age of 21 had already been first author in two publications and co-authored a chapter in a book Shane’s first Co-op placement was at the Osteoporosis Biomechanics Laboratory with Dr. Ted Bateman at Clemenson University in South Carolina. This NASA-funded lab required Shane to explore the adverse effects of zero gravity on the skeletal system of astronauts. Shane’s successful research resulted in the publishing of a manuscript as first author that has been submitted to the Journal of Applied Physiology. He is currently in the middle of writing a second paper that will be submitted in the spring of 2007. In addition to this, he has been co-author in two other publications. “Shane being first author on two publications and co-author on a book chapter is an accomplishment that I cannot overstate the importance of. This would be a great conclusion for any graduate student after 3+ years of work, but for him to achieve this after only eight months in my lab is truly remarkable.” says Dr. Bateman.

In the summer of 2005, Shane’s sense of initiative and adventure led him to a co-op placement with Dr. Michael Wolzt at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria. Not knowing a single word of German, nor having any experience using biochemistry techniques, Shane took on a project exploring the effects of a novel protein drugs associated with diabetes on fat and muscle cells. While that thought might intimidate some, Shane believes that “[Co-op] is the chance to explore the world and your own potential. To push your limits and see what you can achieve.” And we have no doubt about his potential for achievement. Shane’s supervisor, Dr. Haider, informed us, “I often joke with [Shane] that someday after his publication in the prestigious journal Nature that I will seek out a position in his lab. Yet, I do not joke when I say to you that [Shane] will be a premier medical scientist.”

“The demand right now is for scientists who can bring their work from ‘bench to bedside’, that is to say, scientists that can bridge the gap between often-abstract findings of the laboratory and the immediate needs of the patient” says Shane, “I have decided that a combined MD-PhD program will allow me to acquire both the practical skills of a clinician and the critical thinking of a scientist that I will need in [my] career path”. To continue on his path towards this goal, Shane will be returning to work with Dr. Bateman at the NASA research lab in South Carolina to complete a Bioengineering Masters degree after his graduation from UBC in May 2007.

With a list of achievements such as these, we are very proud to have Shane as our First Annual Science Co-op Student of the Year Award recipient.