North­eastern rec­og­nized 17 accom­plished seniors at the Out­standing Coop­er­a­tive Edu­ca­tion Awards Cer­e­mony, held last week in the Curry Stu­dent Center Ball­room.  The stu­dents’ co-​​op expe­ri­ences include working at Boston’s world-​​class hos­pi­tals; founding a social enter­prise in Africa; designing com­pounds at a phar­ma­ceu­tical com­pany; and con­ducting inde­pen­dent field research in China.

The awards, estab­lished in 1971, rec­og­nize stu­dents who have demon­strated out­standing accom­plish­ments in co-​​op. Bruce Ronkin, vice provost for under­grad­uate edu­ca­tion, noted that co-​​op has been intri­cately woven into the fabric of North­eastern since the university’s founding in 1898. Since then, North­eastern has con­tinued to lead and inno­vate in coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion, he said, by working with employers to offer three things: top-​​notch research posi­tions, expe­ri­ence at star­tups and in other areas of entre­pre­neur­ship, and the oppor­tu­nity for stu­dents to become global citizens.

In co-​​op, we’re not just preparing stu­dents for their first job. We’re preparing stu­dents for life,” Ronkin said.

Prior to the award pre­sen­ta­tions, a video was shown fea­turing inter­views with the awardees in which seniors shared how their trans­for­ma­tive co-​​op expe­ri­ences have trans­lated to class­room learning and shaped their career goals.

Seniors were recognized for their outstanding contributions to cooperative education and the Northeastern community.

Seniors were rec­og­nized for their extra­or­di­nary tal­ents and out­standing con­tri­bu­tions to coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion and the North­eastern community.

Ken­neth Venere, a phys­ical therapy major, said his co-​​op at Spaulding Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Hos­pital in Boston pro­vided valu­able real-​​world expe­ri­ence that gave him an edge in an assis­tive tech­nology course, which focused on working with wheel­chairs and instructing patients how to per­form advanced move­ments like wheelies. “Using all my expe­ri­ence at Spaulding, I was able to pass that knowl­edge along to my class­mates and be a resource for them,” he said.

Venere received the Thomas E. McMahon Award, which rec­og­nizes a senior with out­standing devo­tion and com­mit­ment to serving others through co-​​op. He was one of three stu­dents to receive a named award at the cer­e­mony. Caitlin Fer­guson, a com­mu­ni­ca­tion studies major, received the Paul M. Pratt Award, which rec­og­nized a senior who demon­strates excep­tional per­sonal and pro­fes­sional growth through the coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram. Andonis Marden, an inter­na­tional affairs and polit­ical sci­ence major, received the William Jef­ferson Alcott Jr. Award, which rec­og­nizes a senior who uti­lizes his or her aca­d­emic knowl­edge in a cre­ative way to make a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to society and demon­strates excep­tional achieve­ment in coop­er­a­tive education.

Four­teen stu­dents, including jour­nalism major Shar­lene Juste, received Out­standing Co-​​op Awards. In her video inter­view, Juste described how the b-​​roll video and camera work expe­ri­ence she received while on co-​​op at Boston City TV inspired her to take a video news pro­duc­tion course by Belle Adler. The skills and con­fi­dence she acquired on co-​​op, she said, truly paid off.

I extended learning from co-​​op in the class­room, where I dis­cov­ered how to create full video pack­ages,” Juste said.

For his part, busi­ness major Michael Behan com­pleted two co-​​ops in Kenya, including one for Njabini, Inc., a com­pany he founded in 2010 that helps poor fam­i­lies in rural Kenya grow income-​​generating projects that sup­port their fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties. Njabini’s latest endeavor, the Potato Project, is a col­lab­o­ra­tive model that brings potato pro­ducers together to col­lec­tively increase their pro­duc­tion and profits.

Behan said he’s been able to apply that expe­ri­ence to class projects that involve financing small busi­nesses and lines of credit.

This year’s Out­standing Coop­er­a­tive Edu­ca­tion Awards cer­e­mony was ded­i­cated to the late Fred T. Hoskins, the former senior director for employer rela­tions and cen­tral co-​​op. At the event, Hoskins was remem­bered as a loyal friend, a loving family member, and a well-​​respected member of the North­eastern community.