Moose Jaw business management student adds Co-operative Education Student of the Year to honours as she nears graduation

Moose Jaw business management student adds Co-operative Education Student of the Year to honours as she nears graduation

Edzabeth Ortega was Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s first business student to complete
a cooperative education placement with Saskatoon-based electrical, automation and
manufacturing services company Team Power Solutions. One of the company’s founders,
Brook Davis, met Ortega at a Sask Polytech career fair where he was scouting engineering
technology students and says that, almost immediately, he knew he had to find a place
for her. “It was clear she was very bright,” remembers Davis, “and I had a feeling
she’d be a good fit for us.” Though he found her a co-op placement in their business
development office, Ortega gets full credit for securing her place in the company;
Team Power Solutions was so pleased with her work that they offered her two more co-op
placements over the course of her studies.

Moose Jaw business management student adds Co-operative Education Student of the Year to honours as she nears graduationMaking her mark during co-op terms in part earned Ortega the honour of being named
Co-op Student of the Year—a title Sask Polytech awarded the soon-to-graduate student at a ceremony earlier
this month. “It’s so rewarding.” says Ortega “It means the effort has been worth it.”

Ortega came to Sask Polytech as an international student in 2021. Born and raised
in Venezuela, she earned a degree in international relations from Universidad Santa
Maria in Caracas before working in international sales in Peru and Chile. Instability
in South America and a desire to pursue further education in business prompted Ortega
to make the decision to move to Canada. “I came to Saskatchewan with my wife and we
have felt really welcome here—first at Sask Polytech in Moose Jaw and also in Saskatoon
where my wife works and where I have been working with Team Power Solutions. We are
looking forward to the arrival of a baby. We haven’t looked back.”

The annual Co-operative Education Student of the Year award honours a co-op student
who has demonstrated professional promise, academic achievement and practical application
of theory—accomplishments Ortega’s instructors say she consistently demonstrated throughout
her two years in the Business diploma program, where she has been specializing in management. This latest award complements a growing
list of honours she has earned during her program, including several scholarships
and the Dean’s honour list.

Gail Stuermer, who taught Ortega management accounting in her first year and training
and development in her second, says she was a natural choice for the award. “Edza
is the kind of student who makes our job as instructors easy,” Stuermer explains.
“She’s brilliant and an exemplary student who contributes to her team and peers and
is committed to learning. It was such a pleasure recommending her.”

Paul Flavel, who instructed Ortega in advertising, agrees that Ortega stood out. “Great
students take initiative and Edza is one of these. She wasn’t a marketing student,
yet she strove to understand everything that was going on in my class. She was inquisitive,
seeking to understand concepts and improve throughout the term.”

Both instructors say that Ortega also shows leadership and skills when working as
a team—qualities that will take her far in the workplace. “She really shone in the
team project,” says Flavel, “communicating well, working collaboratively, helping
the group to stay on task and making sure everyone was involved. This set her apart.”
Stuermer agrees, noting that, “Edza came to the program with a strong background as
a mature student and was willing to share her experience. She effectively applied
her knowledge gained from previous education, work, and co-op experiences in the classroom.
She’s passionate about the learning environment and doesn’t hesitate to share her
enthusiasm.”

Thinking beyond strictly academic or workplace attributes, her instructors use the
word “kind” when describing Ortega. Stuermer notes that she is generous and genuinely
concerned about others: “She looks for opportunities to help, whether classmates in
group work or other international students finding their way at Sask Polytech. That
shows a certain strength of character, particularly given she’s far away from home
herself.”

While maintaining a GPA of over 90 percent and working part-time at Team Power Solutions,
Ortega has also been a Sask Polytech international student ambassador, contributing
to various marketing campaigns and answering questions from prospective international
students. “I want to share my experience with other students,” she says, “to let them
know that Sask Polytech is a place to grow. I also want to let them know that sometimes
life pushes us to say goodbye and that we can make choices that scare us a little
bit—but on the other side there is always someone willing to help you and to make
you feel at home, to care for you and help you thrive in your chosen path.”

In addition to a certificate of achievement and a cash award, Co-operative Education
Student of the Year winners earn a great highlight for their resume. Ortega is already
one step ahead, having stayed on with Team Power Solutions following her third co-op
placement. “I’m excited to have been promoted to business development coordinator,”
says Ortega, “and I’ll be moving to full time as soon as my program ends near the
end of April. Team Power Solutions is a great environment and has great people. It
really is team first, they don’t just say it.”

Johannes Schauss, manager of business development at the company says, “Edza has been
a rising star since joining Team Power Solutions as a co-op student last year. Her
unparalleled work ethic and results-driven mindset have been instrumental in strengthening
our partnership with Sask Polytech. Edza’s dedication and determination have not only
impressed us but have also elevated the standards of excellence within our team. Her
commitment to achieving tangible results and her collaborative approach have been
invaluable. We are thrilled to welcome Edza as a permanent member of Team Power Solutions.”

Edzabeth and team

The Co-op Student of the Year award is part of National Co-operative Education and
Work-Integrated Month, an initiative led by Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated
Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada). CEWIL promotes the value of co-operative education
programs at 79 universities, colleges and polytechnicals across Canada.

For more information about co-operative education, visit our website: Co-operative Education (saskpolytech.ca). To learn more about the Co-operative Education Student of the Year award, visit
Co-operative Education Student of the Year (saskpolytech.ca).