2016 Undergraduate Student of the Year
Major: English (Honours)
Each year, the Arts Co-op Program recognizes an Arts Co-op undergraduate student for outstanding achievement in academics, workplace performance, contribution to co-operative education, and extra-curricular activities. This year’s winner, Rebecca Peng, was honoured for her work term at PHEMI Systems and for her numerous contributions to the UBC community, including the English Undergraduate Journal, the English Students’ Association, and the Arts Co-op Program ̶ all while maintaining a high academic average. These accomplishments also earned Rebecca Honourable Mention for the Student of the Year Award at the provincial level, through the Association for Co-operative Education in BC/Yukon.
Excellence in the Workplace
At PHEMI Systems, Rebecca worked as a Marketing Associate, where she was given a diverse range of writing, research and project management assignments. Throughout her co-op term, Rebecca was tasked with high level work that included creating, assembling, and submitting a 100-page response to a Request for Proposal within a week. Moreover, she wrote a number of thought leadership articles on trends and solutions in the big data space. Supervisor Alison Berg noted that Rebecca was a highly reliable member of the team, with the ability to move quickly and juggle high workloads. These qualities made Rebecca “the best marketing co-op student” Alison has worked with, and whom she feels “has the potential to be one of the strongest contributors to any organization.”
In addition to her excellent performance during her co-op work term, Rebecca has taken on larger leadership roles in the UBC community. She is the Print Manager and an editor for The Garden Statuary, UBC’s English Undergraduate Journal, and the VP External and Web Administrator for the English Students’ Association (ESA). Before taking on the position of Print Manager and Editor, Rebecca felt that her skills were “confined to the written word,” however, working at PHEMI has taught her to be confident in her abilities, and that she could never have “taken on this expanded role without co-op.” With the ESA, Rebecca was able to draw upon her co-op experience, by implementing marketing principles when promoting ESA events on social media and applying her event management skills when coordination monthly events for the entire English undergraduate department.
Rebecca was also active in the Arts Co-op community. She spoke at an information session for English students interested in joining Arts Co-op, and she supported and advised her junior peers on their upcoming job search at the Illuminate: Light Up Your Brand Conference. Through these experiences, Rebecca used her passion for marketing and communications to recruit prospective Arts Co-op students and guide current students on how to be successful during their job search and work terms.
The Arts Co-op Program has provided Rebecca with many skills and experiences that are transferrable to both her personal and professional life. Reflecting on her co-op experience, Rebecca explained that it made her a “truly well-rounded and more confident individual,” transforming her into a leader with the skillset required to meaningfully engage with the community. Most importantly, she explains that she built a professional network, separate from campus. She considers many of her PHEMI coworkers to be lifelong friends and that their “knowledge, guidance, and support, as well as the support the UBC Arts Co-op Program,” are the reasons why she is now confident in her abilities. Furthermore, because of her co-op experience, Rebecca is assured that she is “truly employable and could apply for a career in Marketing and Communications” after completing her undergraduate degree.