Excellence at Work

A Year of “Firsts” for Annual Co-op Awards; Eight Students Receive Awards

September 27, 2016

2016 Co-op Awards
Honorees from the 2016 Co-op Awards Ceremony.
Pictured (left to right): Chirag Rathod, Qi Qin, Zubi Ahmed Aziz, and Nicole Wild Merl.
Not pictured: Shuli Cui, Pamela Darcy-Demski, Jennifer Krajewski, and Kyle C. Moore

Each academic year, approximately 500 Northeastern students take part in work placements related to their field of study through the College of Professional Studies (CPS) Experiential Learning program. At the end of each year,  the College honors select students at the annual Co-op Awards ceremony, based on nominations from employers. 

The 2015/2016 Co-op Awards, which honored eight students, saw a series of firsts: the first award winner from the Experiential Network program; and the first recipient from the University’s Charlotte campus.

Zubi Aziz (Master of Science, Regulatory Affairs for Drugs, Biologics, and Medical Devices) received a Career Development award for her co-op at Baxalta, a start-up biopharmaceutical company. Zubi was known as the “go-to resource” in the department, according to Patricia Carolini, the head of safety analytics at Baxalta, who described Zubi as someone with exceptional integrity, character, and professionalism. They were so impressed, in fact, that Zubi has been offered a full-time position at the company.

Shuli Ciu (Master of Science, Regulatory Affairs for Drugs, Biologics, and Medical Devices) also received a Career Development award after completing two co-ops at Cerulian Pharma, Inc., first in regulatory affairs and then in clinical operations. Tiffany Crowell, vice president of clinical operations, saw Shuli “grow from an observing student to become an active participant in clinical trials, working well in cross-functional teams.”

Pamela Darcy-Demski, (Master of Science, Corporate and Organizational Communication) received the new Experiential Network Award, designed to recognize students involved in short-term projects offered through a corporate sponsor. Pamela conducted a feasibility analysis on Massachusetts State Police Academy’s use of technology in training cadets, helping it transition to a more user-friendly cloud technology. Melinda Lovick, the e-learning coordinator for the academy, spoke of Pamela’s capacity to “exercise professionalism and poise and routinely go above and beyond.”

Jennifer Krajewski (Master of Science, Regulatory Affairs for Drugs, Biologics, and Medical Devices) was awarded the Integrative Experiential Learning Award for students who participate in a co-op in their own place of employment. In Jennifer’s case, this was TreeHouse Foods, where she led a cross-departmental initiative to update labels based on the release of the State of Vermont's Genetically Modified Food Labeling Regulation—all outside of her normal duties at the company. Her new role increased her contact with staff from other departments. “This program set me up for some of the best learning experiences I have had at Northeastern so far,” said Jennifer in her acceptance speech. 

Kyle Moore (Master of Arts, Homeland Security) was one of two recipients of a Leadership Award for his work with the National Guard Homeland Security Institute. Captain Christopher Johnson, deputy director of the Institute, praised Kyle’s hard work on a small team of four staff members leading national and state-level initiatives. “People are better protected and better able to respond to disasters than they were before, thanks to work that Kyle did,” said Captain Johnson.

Nicole Wilde Merl, (Master of Science, Corporate and Organizational Communication), a student at Northeastern’s Charlotte campus, was awarded the Student Scholar Award for initiating a virtual co-op with Washington, D.C.-based public relations agency, Thomas Cooke and Associates. Nicole described her internship as a “true two-way internship” with faculty and Thomas Cooke equally invested in the project, which created a social platform to empower women to vote in 2016 and beyond through a project called WomenVotes.org.

Chirag Rathod (Master of Science, Project Management) was a recipient of the Leadership Award. Joe Flynn, Northeastern alumnus and director of inside sales for Akamai Technologies, credited Chirag for helping his company secure a $1 million deal, its biggest that year, and praised Chirag for leading by example, seeing the big picture, and coming up with creative solutions to challenges. “I never felt like an intern,” Chirag said in his acceptance speech. “I was always encouraged to participate in every team meeting and was given an opportunity to innovate and challenge the traditional way of working without having that fear of failure.” Chirag has since been offered the opportunity to stay on with the team full-time.

Qi Qin (Master of Science, Global Studies and International Relations) was awarded the Student Scholar Award for her work with Quincy Asian Resources. As an outreach specialist, Qi hired, trained, and supervised a team of eight bilingual undergraduate students and volunteers, and, in the words of Executive Director John Brothers, “the department‘s performance improved remarkably under her leadership.” She has now transitioned into the role on a permanent basis.

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