Celebrating the Co-op student of the year
Award recipient Tanvi Sikand, with honourable mention to Clarissa Klenke
UM co-op students have consistently made exceptional contributions to one or more of their employers. The UM Co-op Champion Award recognizes the achievements that our talented students make while out on their work terms. This year’s recipient is fourth-year Asper student, Tanvi Sikand, who was truly driven to make the most out of her co-op journey. Her passion and enthusiasm exemplify what it means to be a co-op student.
Sikand completed an eight-month work term as a Human Resources Manager at GFIT Wellness, a popular fitness company supporting individuals through their wellness journey. Sikand was nominated by Grant Reid, Founder and CEO of GFIT Wellness and Kelly Mahoney, Director, Asper Co-operative Education Programs, for consistently exceeding expectations and relentlessly seeking solutions when developing the company’s HR process and policies from scratch.
“The two co-op work terms that I did with GFIT have been a life-changing experience for me,” said Sikand. “When I look back at where I started, I realize that I have come a long way, and I am so much more confident about my skills and abilities.”
Calling on her education to establish and implement an incentivized compensation and bonus plan, Tanvi’s initiatives saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars, improved team morale, positioning the company to accelerate and scale their growth revenue trend.
“Tanvi’s performance exceeded our expectations,” said Grant Reid, Founder and CEO, GFIT Wellness, “Her ability to adapt to anything that she is presented with shows that she is gritty and resilient. She has a promising future.”
In addition to outstanding contributions to the workplace, Sikand has been an ambassador and role model within the Asper Faculty. Currently an active mentor for junior co-op students with the Asper Students Co-op Association (ASCA), she also serves as the Commerce Students Association Co-Chair for International Engagement and is an active member in the community, volunteering for Manitoba Harvest, United Way and Shinerama.
Congratulations is also due to UM Co-op Champion Awards honourable mention, Clarissa Klenke, from the Faculty of Science.
Klenke, a fourth-year Chemistry student, completed a four-month work term at the Viral Exanthemata and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Unit at the National Microbiology Laboratory, where she continues to work as a part-time employee transitioning to full-time employment upon her graduation in May.
“Clarissa consistently demonstrates high-quality technical skills, organization and excellent work ethic and initiative,” notes Dr. Elizabeth McLachlan, Manager, Research and Herpesvirus Diagnostics with the National Microbiology Laboratory. “She has an in depth understanding of the rationale behind the study design and troubleshoots research problems effectively.”
Klenke’s research while working with the National Microbiology Laboratory was a success with the results pending publication. Her new method validating whole blood and dried blood spot specimens will be of interest to the greater epidemiology and immunology scientific communities.
“Returning to courses between work terms, I found that my Co-op experience was advantageous in both labs and lectures,” said Klenke. “The bench work I developed transferred into my university labs directly, allowing me to focus on the experimental theory. Science Co-op has made a lasting impact on my life by providing me the space to grow professionally and personally.”
For more information on co-operative education programs at the UM, visit the co-op website.