2021 Student Impact Award Winners

Congrats to the winners of the 2021 Student Impact Award. Below are excerpts from the nominations that were submitted by their respective supervisors.

2+ Work Term Winner

Libby Woods

Libby Woods - SIA Award winner photo

Optotherm, Inc., Summer 2020, Autumn 2020

What were the student's main responsibilities?
- In charge of ISO 9001 Quality Management System planning and implementation.
- In charge of CFR 820 Medical Device Quality Management System planning and implementation.
- In charge of managing another intern as part of the above efforts.

What is one specific accomplishment of your intern/co-op?
Thanks to Libby, this October, we achieved ISO 9001 certification for the first time in Optotherm's history. In addition to serving as the driving force and leader of the ISO 9001 certification effort, she facilitated our transition away from a third-party ISO 9001 documentation compliance platform to a system that is hosted on our internal server, which is proving to be much easier to use than the third party platform and will save us a lot of money. In each of these tasks, Libby generated the ideas for how to structure our frameworks and templates and she established her own timeline and benchmarks. Libby was able to do all of this in a remarkably short period of time.

What impact did the student have on your organization?
When we brought Libby on at the beginning of the summer, our idea was to have Libby help us learn a little bit about what ISO 9001 would entail. Libby was initially to work as a part of a team to prepare us for ISO 9001 QMS certification, but she quickly proved herself capable of leading the entire effort with minimal direction and assistance, freeing up other employees to work on different initiatives. We could not have dreamed that we would actually achieve certification before the end of the year! It is hard to believe that she is not a full-time employee with years of experience.

What makes this student stand out among others and deserving of the SIA?
Libby is the most independent and hardworking person I have managed in my career, so much so that "manage" begins to feel like the wrong word. 

Libby had a sharp sense of what needed to get done on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour level to meet our long-term, multi-month timeline. At one point, overwhelmed by the amount that lay ahead of us, I proposed pushing back our certification audit by a couple months. Libby, who kept complete ownership over the project timeline, calmly pushed back and showed me that our original date was achievable. She was convincing and, ultimately, correct: we passed both Stage 1 and 2 audits with no non-conformances or observations (i.e., with flying colors), achieving certification.

There were many other times that Libby pushed back to suggest simpler, quicker, or more accurate ways to accomplish our goals. Every time she did so, she was structured and convincing with her thinking. And pretty much every time she was correct in what she suggested. From simplifying our document and record control structure (the pared-down version ended up being north of 120 documents!, virtually all created by Libby) to finding quicker ways to collect customer satisfaction data, Libby has saved Optotherm countless hours and pages of unnecessary documentation.

Libby is fantastic at keeping the big picture in mind, and she is always there to provide me with helpful direction out of the weeds. I truly look to Libby as an inspiration with long-term project time-management, and I feel like I have grown as a worker and a manager having her as an example. I do not exaggerate when I say that without Libby leading this process, we would not have achieved our certification this year, let alone ahead of the timeline initially laid out by our consultant. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Libby, who is sort of like an entire company rolled into one person, and I know that every single person at Optotherm feels the same way (I have heard so firsthand, many times). 

What three words would you use to describe this student?
Brilliant, Tireless, Efficient.

Single Work Term Winner

Noah Sheridan

Noah Sheridan - SIA award winner photo

GE Appliances, Autumn 2020

What were the student's main responsibilities?
Noah was responsible for developing and optimizing a PID controller that controlled an advanced gas cooktop feature. He was also responsible for discovering, root causing, and working with the team to solve bugs found in the software for this advanced feature.

What was one specific accomplishment of your intern/co-op?
Noah not only tuned and optimized the PID controller for this feature that doesn't exist in the appliance industry, he operated as a design engineer who we all could rely upon to further progress the design. During these difficult work environment times, he became a person I did not have to worry about as he was incredibly efficient with his time and take management.  

What impact did the student have on your organization?
Noah helped develop an advanced product feature that will be the first of it's kind in the appliance industry.  Without Noah the feature may not have been ready for product launch later this Spring.  He was a team member on a large gas range program that needed all of his time to help progress.  

What makes this student stand out among others and deserving of the SIA?
Noah was a first rotation co-op who was capable of taking on full time design engineer tasks.  Along with exceeding in all of his project goals, he also took on a product line initiative to develop new technology which was completely optional.  He created a new feature for our cooking product line that can lead to new patents which is critical for a competitive industry. Noah wowed our entire team with his work ethic, time management skills, and willingness to do whatever was need to help the team.  We could not have asked for a better co-op.

What three words would you use to describe this student?
Hard-working, Intelligent, Inquisitive.

2021 Student Nominees

Seongjin Baek
Niagara Bottling

Maria Belicak
Marathon Petroleum Company

Ryan Cartwright
DOW, Inc.

Drew Cressman

Mike Dzurnak

Kyle Gessel
Nimbis Services, Inc.

Anna Googe
Sutphen Corporation

Gabriel Heyer
The Timken Company

Michael Kaltman
Cook Medical

Mackenzie Kondas
American Electric Power

Jenna Levi
WD Parks & Resorts US, Inc.

Raga Maddella

Josh Martens
Northrop Grumman

Tim Miles

Ben Miller

Noah Sheridan
GE Appliances

Rachel Trudeau
Emerson Climate Technologies

Ben Waters
Avient Corporation

Libby Woods
Optotherm, Inc.

Caleb Young
Grimm Scientific Industries, Inc.