Photo contest winners

2021 Photo Contest Winners

Jimena standing in a field holding a freshly picked bushel of carrots

First place: Jimena Bisso Carillo (environmental studies)

"Harvesting organic products! The first carrots of the season ready to be sold in our farm store and available to the Agassiz community for when they visit the farm."

Co-op position: Environmental projects intern
Employer: Earthwise Society in Agassiz, BC

What did you do on your work term: "Earthwise Society is an organization focused on the creation of sustainable communities and sustainable ways to produce food through empowering individuals to take responsibility for social, economic and environmental well-being. At Earthwise I coordinated the implementation of Habitat Stewardship initiatives including trail development and habitat restoration as well assisted with field preparation and maintenance, irrigation, composting and harvesting."

How did this impact your UVic experience: "This experience has taught me a lot about what I want to pursue in the future and has helped me to acknowledge how passionate I am about learning about our organic farming and the way in which we as a society could be more sustainable."

Jasmine stands in a laboratory wearing a white lab coat. She holds two agar plates filled with bacteria.

Second place: Jasmine Benoit (biochemistry and microbiology)

"Here I am holding 2 agar plates we use for urinary tract infections. The plate pictured to the left is Columbia NaladixicAcid Agar (CNA). It is used to isolate gram positive bacteria. The plate to my right is a Colorex Orientation agar that changes colour depending on what bacteria is present. Because it is a turquoise blue, the bacteria causing infection is most likely Enterococcus."

  • Co-op position: Medical laboratory assistant
  • Employer: Valley Medical Laboratories in Kelowna, BC
  • How did this impact your UVic experience: "It made my experience 100 times better. Having the opportunity to gain work experience in the medical field has helped influence my future aspirations."
  • Most important thing I learned: "The 2 most important things I had learned was precision and knowledge of the bacteria. When working with doctors requisitions, you must be able to make sure no tests were missed and that everything is filled out correctly. When it comes to plating and culturing the bacteria, you need to know which sample needs which media for testing."

Abby stands in a field holding a toad in her hands up to the camera.

Third place: Abby Matheson (geography)

"In this photo I am holding an adult Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) or "Weto" in Biology jargon! This was during an amphibian relocation on the North Coast of British Columbia on unceded Haisla territory. Adult toads are really fun to handle because they love the warmth of your hand and are quite lazy, so they are easy to hold and look at. I am wearing nitrile gloves because amphibians are very sensitive to germs we have on our hands. I am also wearing chest waders because they help me keep dry when I am wading through ponds!"

  • Co-op position: Biology technician
  • Employer: Ecofor Consulting in Fort St. James and Kitimat, BC
  • What did you do on your work term: "As a summer Biology Technician, my work took me to all corners of Northern BC. I also had many tasks that provided learning opportunities throughout the summer! I assisted in breeding bird surveys in for pre-disturbance work, this means I would hike and sweep an area that was set to be disturbed for construction. I would bring field equipment that would help me in bird ID, and write a report with the Senior Biologists about my findings. If an active nest is found - disturbance cannot take place until fledglings have left a nest. I also conducted stream surveys and instream work in the Peace Region.
  • Most important thing I learned: "This was very valuable to my Co-op experience because I learned many hands on and technical skills that are directly relevant to my degree. I applied my knowledge of ecology and geomorphology to help identify habitat, species, and disturbance regimes. I was also able to directly use my knowledge of GIS and remote sensing to map field data and navigate our team when in the backcountry."

2020 Photo Contest Winners


First place: Nasreen Anowar (Mechanical Engineering)

"I worked as a Mechanical Designer co-op in a wheelchair manufacturing company during Spring and Summer 2020. Here, we were outdoor testing the seat belt components of a bariatric wheelchair and the interactions with an endomorphic back with our bariatric functional testing dummy, Bob the bear.
Note: Bob the bear gave his consent to upload this photo."

  • Co-op position: Mechanical Designer
  • Employer: PDG Mobility in Vancouver, BC
  • How did you make an impact on your work term: "I helped design wheelchairs for disabled people. It gives me immense satisfaction to know that I could contribute in making some people's lives better!"
  • Most important thing I learned: "The most important thing is to take responsibility for my actions."


Second place: Lily Baines (Civil Engineering)

"In the fall of 2019, I had a great co-op experience working with the Canadian Coast Guard Marine and Civil Infrastructure team. I worked on a variety of projects including this mountain-top Marine Communication and Traffic Service (MCTS) site near Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island. For two days, my co-worker and I were transported via helicopter to the mountain to survey the topography for site construction. The purpose of MCTS sites is to provide radar and radio coverage to the surrounding area. I really enjoyed my time with the Canadian Coast Guard, and would love to work with them again in the future."

  • Co-op position: Student Engineer
  • Employer: Canadian Coast Guard in Victoria, BC
  • How did you make an impact on your work term: "One of my most impactful tasks was to plan two-weeks of ship time to inspect the condition of Navigational Aids from Prince Rupert to Sidney. I was responsible for determining which Navigational Aids required inspection and formulating a daily schedule, chart map and tide information for the chosen sites."
  • Most important thing I learned: "The most important thing I learned from my co-op with Canadian Coast Guard was the hands-on field experience and communicating with not only with the engineers but also the shop foreman, techs, barge and ship crew."


Third place: Bronwyn Hobson (Biology)

"Capturing the Moment: As a Student Ranger for BC Parks, I was incredibly fortunate to maintain and explore many of the parks and trails in Northern BC. Early in June, our crew completed several Goshawk surveys on trails in the Hazelton area. And, after having seen some of the beauty hidden there, we were keen to come back. This photo of me taking a photo of another crew member surrounded by jagged mountains and dramatic skies was taken during a hefty hike into the Rocher Déboulé Range just outside of Hazelton, BC. Although the trail we took was not in a park, it made me appreciate how important my role is for the outdoors community of Northern BC. As a Student Ranger, I feel so fortunate to be able to maintain access to beautiful places such as these so that everyone has the chance to go outdoors and explore the beauty that is protected within BC Parks!"

  • Co-op position: Student Ranger Crew Member
  • Employer: BC Parks in Smithers, BC
  • How did you make an impact on your work term: "As a Student Ranger for BC Parks, I participated in conservation projects and maintained infrastructure such as trails and cabins. By surveying parks for Goshawks, I contributed to conservation efforts to save a dwindling umbrella species. By maintaining trails and infrastructure, I helped improve the quality and accessibility of outdoor experiences for park users."
  • Most important thing I learned: "If you want to protect an area or a species, you have to make people care about it first... Working for BC Parks has made me realize the importance of balancing conservation with recreation, as recreational activities within parks foster the curiosity, consideration, and motivation to protect things within the park!"

2019 Photo Contest winners

Jenna Buhrmann

First place: Jenna Buhrmann (biochemistry and microbiology)

“At Category 12 Brewing, I worked as a quality control and quality analysis intern. Category 12 is a spectacularly nerdy and amazing place to work where I maintain a large yeast library. Here, I am propagating one of our 110L Propbots with a 1L flast of yeast that I have grown up. This is one of the first steps of making some of our amazing beer!”

  • Co-op position: Quality control/quality analysis intern
  • Employer: Category 12 Brewing in Victoria, BC
  • Favourite part of my co-op: "This co-op gave me a great opportunity to find an aspect of science that I find enjoyable and interesting and could potentially see myself working in this field."
  • Most important thing I learned: “I learned that i have the skills and abilities I just needed to gain confidence in myself."

Andrea Kyfiuk

Second place: Andrea Kyfiuk (earth and ocean sciences)

“In Yellowknife it gets very cold and you have to make your own fun! Over lunch myself and an intern from the Government of the NWT held a mini experiment on the vaporization of boiling water in -25 degree weather. Believe it or not, this felt like a warm day for February!”

  • Co-op position: Northern climate services analyst
  • Employer: Canadian Centre for Climate Services, Environment and Climate Change Canada in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
  • Favourite part of my co-op: “I had so many amazing experiences with EC in Yellowknife, I am so glad that I took the time to gain experience and make the contacts that I did while really making a difference in northern communities. I highly recommend taking the risk and trying something new through co-op.”
  • Most important thing I learned: “The incredibly huge impact that Climate Change is having on the lives of so many Canadians right now.”

Kate McKeown

Third place: Kate McKeown (biology)

“Fertilizing Douglas-fir, Sitka spruce, and Pine seedlings with different ratios of nitrogen to determine how it influences growth. This experiment is being conducted for the Hawkins laboratory and is taking place in UVic's greenhouse.”

  • Co-op position: Summer student
  • Employer: Centre for Forest Biology at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC
  • Favourite part of my co-op: “I have never learned so much in one job as I did this summer! At UVic, I worked in the greenhouse watering and fertilizing plants and in Dr. Hawkins’ lab weighing and grinding plant tissue. My co-op time was also split with a soil scientist, Dr. Kranabetter, from the Ministry of Forests. I helped Dr. Kranabetter collect soil from several locations across southern Vancouver Island, run enzyme assays, core trees, count tree rings, and grind tree cores for nutrient analysis.”
  • Most important thing I learned: “Over-watering is as much of a problem as under-watering! .”

2018 Photo Contest winners

Sophie Moggridge

First place: Looking at DNA - Sophie Moggridge (biochemistry and microbiology)

“The BC Cancer has a helical staircase which emulates the double helix structure of DNA and spans ten floors; however, if you uncoiled the DNA from all the cells in your body it would be greater than the diameter of our solar system!”

  • Co-op position: Proteomics research student
  • Employer: BC Cancer Agency/Michael Smith Genome Science Centre in Vancouver, BC
  • Favourite part of my co-op: "Being selected to present my work at a proteomics conference. Most of the other presenters were professors and post-docs, so I was quite daunted. I ended up doing a great job and as a result, I made a number of really important professional connections."
  • Most important thing I learned: “Perseverance. I would spend months and months trying to solve a problem and it was discouraging to fail over and over again but in the end, the euphoria of finally solving the problem makes the struggle worthwhile.”

Keegan Paterson

Second place: Arctic grayling - Keegan Paterson (geography)

“Me, after I caught my first arctic grayling. Here, I was the safety boater for snorkel drift surveys for grayling and bull trout and was taught how to fly fish during one of our lunch breaks. Don't worry, this beautiful fish was released!”

  • Co-op position: Omenica bull trout climate action intern
  • Employer: B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development in Prince George, BC
  • Favourite part of my co-op: “Getting the opportunity to participate in these snorkel drift surveys and seeing these incredible fish in their own underwater environment. It gave me a unique perspective and appreciation for their habitat requirements.”
  • Most important thing I learned: “How vulnerable freshwater ecosystems and fish habitat are to human land use, especially when coupled with climate change.”

Meena Ansari

Third place: Lawyer speak - Meena Ansari (law)

“I’m appearing on the local radio station to raise awareness about our legal program.”

  • Co-op position: Legal advocate
  • Employer: The SHED Society in Bella Coola, BC.
  • Favourite part of my co-op: “Learning Nuxalk language.”
  • Most important thing I learned: “Always eat fish from the smokehouse.”

2017 Photo Contest winners

Absaar Chougule

First place: Quality Control Engineer, Borea Construction - Absaar Arshad Chougule (mechanical engineering)

“I’m headed towards turbine #32 at BC's largest wind farm to perform a regular maintenance check while the sun is rising in Tumbler Ridge.”

  • Co-op position: Quality control engineer
  • Employer: Borea Construction in Tumbler Ridge, BC
  • Favourite part of my co-op: "Seeing all 61 turbines start spinning after solving all maintenance problems."
  • Most important thing I learned: "Team work and project management."

Marcus Merryfield

Second place: The Synthesis Telescope - Marcus Merryfield (physics)

“Behind me is one of the dishes of the Synthesis telescope. The telescope, which observes in the radio frequencies, uses seven 9-metre dishes to create images with the angular resolution of a 600-metre telescope!”

  • Co-op position: Research assistant
  • Employer: National Research Council Canada in Penticton, BC
  • Favourite part of my co-op: "The academic environment I got to be a part of! Being constantly surrounded by cutting edge science really made me feel like I was part of a scientific community. Everybody loved to share their research and talk about the latest astronomy news."
  • Most important thing I learned: "The details of research are incredibly important. One of the foundations of the scientific method is reproducibility - the ability to recreate a result by following the same method. I documented every detail of my data analysis for this reason!"

Chloe Swabey

Third place: Summer Check Up - Chloe Swabey (biology)

"In this photo I am taking the head width of one of our telemetry snakes during her end of summer check up. We have been tracking 9 common garter snakes this summer to assess their habitat use as well as the impact of local energy projects."

  • Co-op position: Assistant field biologist
  • Employer: LGL Ltd. in Valemount, BC
  • Favourite part of my co-op: "Working outside every day in the same areas gave me the chance to observe how the environment changes as it passes from spring to summer and eventually approaches fall. It's really a humbling thing to observe the world at work."
  • Most important thing I learned: "You need to respect every creature, no matter how big or small. even mosquitos, as frustrating as they can be, have a role in maintaining the health and balance of our ecosystems."

2016 Photo Contest winners

Cole Blezard

First place: Saving Mothers, Giving Life Lighting Improvement Project - Cole Blezard (electrical and computer engineering)

"I lived in a district of Zambia where 6 out of 8 Rural Health Clinics performed obstetric operations using flashlights and cell phones for light! This photo represents the first of 6 solar installations I spent the duration of my coop designing."

  • Co-op position: Volunteer Coordinator, Agriculture and Technology
  • Employer: The SAM Project in Muzya, Zambia
  • Favourite part of my co-op:"The people. Without electricity, I spent many o' nights listening to them share their RIDICULOUS life stories, from extreme hardship and famine, to admirable happiness and success. These people taught me more than I have EVER learned in 4 months."
  • "Most important thing I learned:Selflessness is the most important virtue a human can have. Zambians taught me the powerful effects of placing others before yourself and how a little generosity goes a long way!"

Yamila Pena

Second place: Macro World - Yamila Michelle Franco Pena (biology)

"We usually use different moth egg masses for non-target testing. This time though, before releasing the majestic death's-head hawkmoth, decided to do macro photos! I was afraid of them at first but my interest drove me to work with amazing insects."

  • Co-op position: Biological Control Research Assistant
  • Employer: Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) in Switzerland
  • Favourite part of my co-op:"Collecting parasitoids! Sometimes we had to collect insects and rear them to find out which parasitoids were in the area. They were my babies until they had all emerged. Some were so small that I needed to use a microscope for identification!"
  • Most important thing I learned: "Being a scientist (or research assistant) in the field of biocontrol is tough. Nonetheless it is a thrilling adventure: designing experiments, testing different parasitoids, the idea that we can help people with our applied research inspires me."

Emily Mah

Third place: A Day in the Life - Emily Mah (recreation and health education)

""Emily Mah, Jamie Picken, Abhi Vyas, Carly Oswald, Paige Quinn andd Scott Stewart-Lee portraying activities we delivered as Atlantic Outdoor Instructors. We had the opportunity to work with students from around the world, symbolized by the flags."

  • Co-op position: Activity Instructor
  • Employer: Atlantic College in Wales
  • Favourite part of my co-op:"By providing new outdoor experiences to youth, we were able to challenge ourselves and gain a better understanding of our capabilities. This will allow us to pass on knowledge to other aspiring outdoor practitioners.
  • Most important thing I learned:"Our time at Atlantic College gave us the opportunity to interact with students from over 80 different countries. This work term allowed us to experience a vast range of diverse backgrounds and gain a well-developed sense of cultural awareness."

2015 Photo Contest winners

Hanna Lewis

First place: Mzuri Sana! – Hanna Lewis (anthropology)
“Faith, who prefers to be called Lion, is a grade four student at Emori Joi primary school in Kenya. She and I became fast friends when she showed me her dance and song of "Mzuri Sana"—Swahili for ‘very good!’”

  • Co-op position: Kenya trips facilitator
  • Employer: Me to We, Kenya
  • Favourite part of my co-op: “Playing and talking with the local kids at primary school. When we weren't having a blast running as fast as we could, we talked about what school is like in Canada and that snow is, in fact, real.”
  • Most important thing I learned: “The smallest things one can do to help others can make significant impacts in their lives. I learned that it is entirely possible to create change by performing simple acts of kindness and sharing joy.”


Meera Kashyap

Second place: Proud of our Canadian heritage – Meera Kashyap (biology)
“Celebrating the diversity of communities on Vancouver Island was just one aspect of my extraordinary work term. I felt truly grateful after delivering a STEM workshop to eager students of Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw.“

  • Co-op position: Camp instructor
  • Employer: Science Venture, Port Hardy, BC
  • Favourite part of my co-op: “Many resources we take for granted in the city are not readily available in our northern communities. Providing these resources and opportunities through science to students who are immensely grateful was empowering.“
  • Most important thing I learned: “Knowing that every child is worthy and deserving, I’ve learned that if you have the means to make a difference, no matter how small, never hesitate. The education of our youth is pivotal to every community.”


Lauren Sortome

Third place: Warm greetings in the Arctic – Lauren Sortome (chemistry)
“On a ‘warm’ -27ºC day in Kugaaruk, Nunavut, I went exploring on the Arctic sea ice. One of my students ran to join me in scrambling over the large natural formations.”
  • Co-op position: Outreach instructor
  • Employer: Actua – Nunavut, Ontario and Labrador
  • Favourite part of my co-op: “Working and living in 13 isolated communities was the highlight of this work term. I explored the high Arctic, ate polar bear, and had the privilege of facilitating STEM-related workshops in Nunavut, Nunatsiavut and the Innu Nations of Labrador.”
  • Most important thing I learned: “Positivity can take you a long way. When losing luggage, arriving in a community alone with no supplies, or dealing with no running water or drinking water, your attitude is always your greatest asset!”

2014 Photo Contest winners

We received 105 fantastic entries to the 2014 Co-op Photo Contest, and 1,000 students had the chance to vote for their favourite photos at Co-op and Career Info Day on September 9, 2014.

Thanks to everyone who submitted photos, and congratulations to our winners!



Co-op job title and location: Activity Instructor - Wales, UK

Photo caption: An average day for the eight EPHE students working and living at St. Donat's castle in Wales this past summer. Medieval characters were often seen on castle grounds when leading children through exhilarating castle adventures.


SECOND PLACE: Sean McPhee (Geography)


Co-op job title and location: Visitor Service Attendant - Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Photo caption: This is me standing on the bow of our boat coming back from Sidney Spit with a gorgeous sunset over Sidney, it was agreeably one of the most alluring I saw all summer.


THIRD PLACE: Alison Perry (Biology)


Co-op job title and location: Purple Martin Stewardship Assistant - Nanaimo

Photo Caption: I helped band this approximately 9 day old purple martin nestling. Note grey pin-feathers under the skin!

2013 Photo Contest winners

We received 149 awesome entries to the 2013 Photo Contest, and more than 840 students had the chance to vote for their favourite at Co-op and Career Info Day on September 10, 2013. 

Thanks to everyone who submitted photos, and congratulations to our winners!

FIRST PLACE: Lindsay Dealy (Biology)

Lindsay Dealy

Co-op job title and location: Naturalist with Prince of Whales Whale Watching in Victoria, BC (Summer 2013)

Photo caption: My porpoise in life is to always have a whale of a time...dolphinitely!

This summer I worked for Prince of Whales Whale Watching. Part of the job involved working on the Ocean Magic II, a 62-foot vessel that can accommodate 74 passengers. On the boat I worked as a naturalist. It was my job to provide the guests with a safety briefing as well as plenty of information about the wildlife (whales and other marine mammals like seals and sea lions, and also birds and algae) that we came across. In the office, I was responsible for working at the front desk. I made reservations for visitors and provided information to those walking by. Passengers destined for the zodiac-style boats are required to wear a full-body, bright red cruiser suit (which functions as a PFD). Part of my job was to introduce passengers to the suits and help them get suited-up before their trip. In my co-op photo, I am showing off one of these suits, and having fun in front of a new mural that was installed in the building that I worked in this summer. The giant picture of a spyhopping killer whale makes for great photo ops!

SECOND PLACE: Travis Muir (Geography)

Travis Muir

Co-op job title and location: Ecological Integrity Technician with Parks Canada at Prince Albert National Park (Summer 2013)

Photo caption: We worked actively to restore natural fescue grasslands for bison habitat by monitoring and removing invasive species. We were also involved in tracking radio collared wolves! On one of these excursions I came across a hefty moose shed!

THIRD PLACE: Victoria Maclellan (Economics)

Victoria Maclellan

Co-op job title and location: Marketing Intern with Monkeywrench Records in Seattle (Summer 2013)

2011 Photo Contest winners

We received more than 160 fantastic entries to the 2011 contest, and more than 750 students had the chance to vote for their favourite at Co-op and Career Info Day in September. The race was close, but the winners were:

FIRST PLACE: Karolinka Zuzalek (writing)

First prize photo: Karolina Zuzalek

Job title: Public Outreach Assistant at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, BC (summer 2011)

What's happening in the photo: Just like photography, astronomy relies on understanding the behaviour of light. We took a 45-second exposure and shined a bright light on us for each pose. This is called light painting photography. The end result shows us in 5 different positions!

SECOND PLACE: Leah Hull (geography)

Leah Hull's photo (third place)

Job title: Ecological Integrity Monitoring Technician for Parks Canada (Kootenay, Lake Louise and Yoho field unit) (summer 2011)

What's happening in the photo: Here I am displaying how great it is to be living and working in the Rocky Mountains.  This picture is taken on the Iceline trail in Yoho National Park.  This is one on the areas that I conduct breeding bird acoustic recordings.

THIRD PLACE: Olivia McMillan (biology)

Olivia McMillan's third place photo (cranberries)

Job title: Summer Assistant at Ocean Spray of Canada Ltd. in Richmond, BC (summer 2011)

What's happening in the photo: At Ocean Spray, I did a wide range of things including monitoring pest populations and life cycles and photographing and identifying common cranberry weeds for our weed guide to help cranberry growers identify the weeds and best treatment options in their crop. We also performed a number of experiments and part of my job was to set up take samples and compile results from these. Another big part of my job was going to visit growers and walk their farms with them and my supervisor in order to assess questions and problems they have with respect to fertilizer, pests, and weeds. In this picture, cranberries are beginning to colour with the onset of maturity along with the sunny days and cool nights. In these berries, the anthocyanins (red pigment) are just beginning to develop.

2012 Photo Contest winners

We received 162 awesome entries to the 2012 Photo Contest, and more than 750 students had the chance to vote for their favourite at Co-op and Career Info Day on September 11, 2012. 

Thanks to everyone who submitted photos, and congratulations to our winners!

FIRST PLACE: Leslie Ketchell (earth and ocean sciences)

Leslie Ketchell

Co-op job title and location: Field Assistant at First Point Minerals in Dease Lake region, BC (Summer 2012)

Photo caption: Les Ketchell is navigating for a magnetometer survey on First Point Minerals' Wale property near the BC–Yukon border in mid-June, 2012.

SECOND PLACE: Crystal Petrie (history)

crystal petrie

Co-op job title and location: Museum Interpreter at Danish Canadian National Museum and Gardens in Dickson, BC (Fall 2011)

Photo caption: I am fighting another Viking, who happens to be in more authentic clothing. I am about to make the first strike in the match. I was told that Vikings do not smile for photos, but I think I may have broken that rule!

THIRD PLACE: Maaike Van Kooten (Physics)

maaike van kooten

Co-op job title and location: Public Outreach and Astronomy Interpreter at National Research Council of Canada – Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, BC (Summer 2012)

Photo caption: This is me "on fire" with Victoria in the background. It was taken after work on Observatory Hill using a long exposure time and glow sticks.