Avril Espinosa-Malpica: 2017 Undergraduate Student of the Year

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, Avril Espinosa-Malpica, was honoured for her impressive work at the Global Affairs Canada Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), and for her substantial contributions to the UBC Arts Co-op community. Through co-op, Avril has already achieved remarkable professional accomplishments while pursuing her dream career in the public service. Her experience is an inspiration to the UBC co-op community.

Excellence in the Workplace

As Trade Commissioner Assistant in the TCS, Avril helped clients pursue international export opportunities. Drawing on her studies in Political Science and Economics, Avril conducted market analysis, delivered presentations, and drafted briefing notes for important public service officials, including the Minister of International Trade and Canadian Ambassadors to Latin America. Avril’s most memorable accomplishment was preparing an overview of the entire Metro Vancouver economy for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – all with only two days’ warning! For her accomplishments in the TCS, Avril’s supervisor, Senior Trade Commissioner Christian Hansen, has celebrated her as an “instrumental and outstanding member of the team, exemplifying the qualities of an excellent public servant.” To Christian, these qualities make Avril “head and shoulders above most every student we have had in the past,” and he hopes “future co-op students contribute as much as Avril did.” Throughout her co-op journey, Avril has set new standards for excellence.

Contribution to the Co-op Community

Beyond her workplace success, Avril has also contributed significantly to the UBC co-op community. As Professional Development Co-Chair for the Arts Co-op Students’ Association, Avril planned, managed, and moderated events to help prepare her peers for workplace success. These included an interview workshop, public sector employer panel, and a Women in the Workplace event featuring distinguished speaker from the UBC Sauder School of Business, CBC Radio-Canada, and the Department of Justice! Through her extra-curricular experience, Avril has demonstrated a strong commitment to her fellow Arts Co-op students and broader co-op community.

Personal Resilience

During her co-op journey, Avril has showcased remarkable tenacity and resilience. These attributes were further demonstrated during her Summer 2017 term at Global Affairs Canada, when Avril suffered a serious medical emergency requiring neurosurgery. Avril made a full recovery and returned to the TCS, where in the words of her supervisor, Christian Hansen, Avril continued to perform at the exceptional standards he’d come to expect. In overcoming her medical adversity, Avril demonstrated the same tenacity and perseverance that enabled her to accomplish so much along her co-op and professional journey. The Arts Co-op Program recognizes this experience as yet another example of Avril’s resilience and fortitude.

Co-op: A Foundation for Future Success

Through the Arts Co-op Program, Avril has created a foundation of experience and accomplishment that is helping her pursue a dream career in the public service. Avril has been recommended for “bridging in” to a full-time career in Global Affairs Canada, and she intends to leverage her co-op experiences toward attending graduate school for international relations in the future. To Avril, “co-op has been the highlight of my time at UBC – it has allowed me to form an amazing network, develop strong professional skills, and open career opportunities that could shape the rest of my life.” The Arts Co-op Program is proud to recognize Avril as Student of the Year for her professional accomplishments and significant contributions to the co-op community. Avril is an example of excellence and source of inspiration for the Arts Co-op community.