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Celebrating transformative experiences

Photo by Craig Bailey

Senior Kyle Jonasen said his co-op experiences in Hawaii and China helped him realize the direction he’d like to take his career in architecture. For Chelsie Ouellette, co-op allowed her to work as part of a world-class communications team in the White House’s Office of Media Affairs, while nursing student Kenneth Wong’s co-op enabled him to work at a hospital in China helping treat poor children suffering from burns and other serious injuries.

“I definitely changed while I was there,” Wong said of his co-op experience, which included learning the Mandarin language to communicate with hospital staff. “I feel more confident, and it really made me realize that nursing is what I want to do.”

These students were among the Northeastern University seniors honored yesterday at the 40th annual Cooperative Education Awards ceremony. The event recognizes outstanding students who have excelled in Northeastern’s signature program, which exemplifies the University’s leadership in experiential learning.

“What comes through is the diversity of these student’s co-op experiences,” said Fred Hoskins, senior director of employer relations in Central Co-op Education Services. “They are working in Boston, Seattle, Cambodia and India, and they each have taken advantage of this range of opportunities.”

The co-op program began in 1909 with just eight students working for four Boston employers. Today, more than 6,000 students a year gain experience in Boston, across the United States and in 69 countries around the world.

The students at this year’s event were joined by Northeastern faculty, staff and alumni, as well as by family and co-op employers. Three students were recognized with named awards and 13 earned Outstanding Co-op Education Awards. Award winners reflected on their co-op experiences through video interviews, which were shown at the event.

Full List of Awards

Heather Porriello, majoring in criminology, criminal justice and human services, received the Thomas E. McMahon Award, given to one senior who clearly displays outstanding integrity and character combined with a high degree of devotion serving the needs of others throughout his or her co-op experiences.

Kyle Jonasen, an architecture major, received the Paul M. Pratt Award, which is presented to one senior each year who demonstrates exceptional professional and personal growth as a result of his or her co-op experiences.

Kenneth McGrady, a dual major in computer science and mathematics, received the William Jefferson Alcott, Jr. Award, which is presented to one senior who utilizes his or her academic training in a creative way to make a positive contribution to society, and who has demonstrated exceptional achievement in cooperative education. It also recognizes the student’s accomplished goals beyond the requirements of the University curriculum.

The following seniors were recognized with Outstanding Co-op Education Awards: Krupa Asher, Alex Brick, Sarah Brown, Stephanie Crisp, Andrew Deraney, Evan Jost, Marshall McLean, Danielle Moore, Chelsie Ouellette, Riley Pruett, Nicholas Sammut, Ryan Whelan and Kenneth Wong.

Outstanding Co-op Coordinator Awards were also presented to Nancy Tavares, assistant cooperative education coordinator in criminal justice, and Pamela Goodale, cooperative education faculty coordinator in English and communication studies.