2021 Co-op Students of the Year

Engineering, Science, Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

- Katy DeCoste


Whether they’re conducting research on cancer treatments, founding sustainable and innovative businesses or upgrading on-campus lab facilities, UVic’s co-op students are enriching their communities with their expertise and skills.

Each year, three co-op students are recognized for their outstanding contribution to their employer organizations, communities, and programs. Congratulations to this year’s award recipients.

Danielle Lowe

Co-op Student of the Year for the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

In her final year of her Bachelor of Commerce, Danielle Lowe founded a business that combined her love for dogs, passion for sustainability, and skills in business development. Today, her cricket-based dog treat business Doodlebug has won 10 business competitions and sells treats across Canada. Lowe took her inspiration from innovative companies that prioritize consumer and environmental wellbeing.

Her entrepreneurial work term introduced Lowe to all aspects of the business world, from crafting financial projections to graphic design, and shipping products across the country. “Work-integrated learning gave me the opportunity to apply in-course material to real-life situations and personalize my academic achievements,” she says.

As a young entrepreneur, Lowe made it a priority to give back to the community that supported her by donating her product to Restorative Justice Victoria’s Charity Auction. She’s also presented as a panelist at UVic and has been invited as a keynote speaker and competition judge by West Point Grey Academy. She hopes to inspire other students to think outside the box and pursue unique, creative work-integrated learning experiences.

Someday, Lowe hopes to hire other co-op students and invite them into the world of entrepreneurship. “I am proud of my accomplishments this past co-op term and thrilled that I have another semester to focus on Doodlebug,” she says. “I’m confident my business understanding and professional network will continue to grow.”

Ocean Han

Co-op Student of the Year for the Optional and Professional Programs

Fourth-year biochemistry and physics student Ocean Han has a passion for solving problems. He knew he wanted to put his studies into practice to make a difference and found the perfect co-op term with UVic’s physics department, where he worked with medical physicist Devika Chithrani to research less-toxic cancer treatments using gold nanoparticles.

During his work term, Han received mentorship from PhD candidates in the lab and learned a wide array of technical skills to conduct his research. “Throughout my past education, I worked with diligence and curiosity to learn science in the classroom,” he says. “I never got to merge that passion and knowledge with such purpose to serve until my experience with the co-op program.”

Han’s success in the lab continued even after his initial four-month work term ended. With the encouragement of Chithrani, Han presented his research at the International Conference on Nanotechnology in 2021, where he won the best paper award. He has since prepared and submitted two manuscripts of his research to academic journals.  

While working with Chithrani, Han collaborated with multi-disciplinary scientists from UVic, UBC and BC Cancer. “Altogether, it was exhausting work, but I had never experienced such profound personal and professional development and, most importantly, had such conviction about what I was doing,” says Han. “I would happily do it all again.”

Haneul Jang

Co-op Student of the Year for Engineering and Computer Science

Third-year engineering student Haneul Jang put his interest in mechatronics and computer-aided engineering to use during a work term with UVic’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, where he researched and designed upgrades for the third-year undergraduate vibration laboratory.

Having lived in several countries and experienced diverse cultures, Jang’s adaptability and determination helped him apply his studies practically to find and implement solutions in the lab. He was tasked with designing a lab that would improve student learning and engagement, which meant applying his practical knowledge about vibrations, signal analysis and control systems.

“The depth of learning from this single work term was far deeper than in the labs for my courses,” Jang says. By the end of his work term, the vibration laboratory had been completely upgraded, and his supervisor Vahid Ahsani had offered him independent work on more complicated interdisciplinary experiments.

Over the course of his work term, Jang came to embrace challenges in the lab environment as learning opportunities. “I faced failures, but this made success far more valuable,” he says. “Now, I try to view each encounter with a curious mind and look for opportunities that will grant me new skills, knowledge and perspective.”

After developing his confidence and skills in the lab, Jang has secured a work term doing mechanical engineering design for a private sector firm. “I feel more prepared for my career through this work experience,” he says.

Learn more about the award recipients.


In this story

Keywords: student life, co-op, employment, entrepreneurship

People: Danielle Lowe, Ocean Han, Haneul Jang

Publication: The Ring

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