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Thompson Rivers University student Larissa Pepper is the recipient of the Association for Co-operative Education (ACE) BC/Yukon University Co-op Student of the Year Award for 2013. The award recognizes a BC or Yukon university co-op student who demonstrates an outstanding level of achievement in co-operative education work placement experience, combined with a strong academic record, volunteer activities, and significant contributions to promoting co-operative education at the institution and in the community.
Pepper, a Bachelor of Business Administration student, is the first TRU Co-operative Education student to be recognized by the provincial association, in a competition that included nominees from co-op programs at all BC post-secondary institutions. Currently over 300 students participate in TRU’s co-op program.
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A third-year Human Resources major and TRU’s own 2013 Co-op Student of the Year, Pepper demonstrated passion and dedication in her work during two co-op terms in 2013. Her first term was as a coordinator of the TRU Career Mentoring Program, while her second placement took her into a Human Resources office at Arrow Transportation. At Arrow, Pepper assisted with important operational initiatives, such as policy development, process improvements, research projects, and employee relations. The Awards Committee said Pepper “had a tremendous impact in both of these co-operative education placements”, and also cited her commitments to both academic achievement and leadership.
Pepper is a founding member of the TRU HR Club, the student ambassador for the local chapter of the BC Human Resources Management Association (HRMA), and an active volunteer. She shared her co-op experiences with her fellow business students, presenting what she learned about Arrow’s recruitment strategies to a Human Resources class, and promoted co-op experiences to students across campus.
“This was an immensely rewarding practical work term and reinforced all of my learning throughout my co-op experience,” says Pepper. “It made the theoretical learning more relevant and also benefited my peers in their own understanding of the concepts.”
In addition to a $500 award and a plaque, Pepper will be recognized at the ACE Annual General Meeting in Vancouver on May 14, where she will have an opportunity to address the association membership about her achievements.