DC journalism student, Andrew Neary, receives three awards for his work inside and outside the classroom

Andrew Neary, a dedicated and passionate journalism student at Durham College (DC), has recently been recognized with three impressive awards, spanning from national recognition for his dedication to work-integrated learning to campus acknowledgment of his academic success. The recognitions include the 2023 as Experiential & Work-Integrated Learning Ontario (EWO) Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Student of the Year for the College category, the Co-operative Education & Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada Emery-Dufault Student of the Year 2023 Award, as well as DC’s Alumni Association Scholarship for Academic Excellence for his first year of study in DC’s Journalism – Mass Media program.

Neary was notified of all three awards within the span of a week while finishing a Faculty-led Classroom Abroad trip in Guatemala.

“We had a seven hour bus ride into the mountains and halfway through we stopped at a restaurant, and right before we were getting back on the bus, Danielle (Harder), got an email saying that I had gotten the EWO WIL Student of the Year award – and that was wild – and then on our last day in the community she got another email saying I had gotten the CEWIL Student of the Year award,” Neary recalls. “It was just this amazing vibe, and as soon as I got home, I found out I had gotten the Alumni Scholarship as well for my program, and I just thought to myself, what is happening right now?”

Neary’s recognition as EWO WIL Student of the Year is a testament to his outstanding performance and commitment to work-integrated learning through his dedication and achievements in blending theoretical knowledge with practical experience. And for those who know him, it comes as no surprise that Andrew’s significant contributions to experiential learning initiatives within the local community and his commitment to professional growth and development landed him the CEWIL Emery-Dufault Student of the Year Award.

Neary shared how DC’s Journalism – Mass Media program taught him about photography, which led to many of these opportunities.

“My CEWIL experience over the summer last year was doing a lot of photo and video work, and before starting the program I hadn’t even touched a DSLR camera before,” he says. “And because of that, I started a personal photo-video company that I received a grant for last summer that has helped me work on and pay for things for school and my personal life, all because of the skillset developed in my program but also because of these work-integrated learning opportunities.”

Neary’s active involvement in three work-integrated learning initiatives provided him the opportunity to film and document City of Oshawa firefighter trainings.

The first was a MITACS project through DC’s Experiential Learning Hub and in collaboration with the Social Impact Hub, that created a virtual reality simulation to safely train firefighters under extreme search and rescue circumstances. Plus, two simultaneous CEWIL projects with the same group members that included documenting the impact breathing control exercises have on trauma recovery for firefighters, as well as highlighting the recovery time after a firefighter undergoes strenuous activities by monitoring body responses such as heart rate.

Neary also worked on EnactusDC’s Founders Drive, a CEWIL project led by Danielle Harder, a Professor and Program Coordinator for DC’s Faculty of Media, Art and Design. She commended Andrew’s commitment to embracing every opportunity offered to him.

“Andrew has made college happen for him rather than to him. He is first and foremost a kind and caring person, whether he is supporting a classmate or just being a good global citizen concerned with amplifying the voices of those who need uplifting,” she says.

Having the ability to use his photography skills all summer as a work-study student, and working on the CEWIL projects is how Neary said he learned the skills to be a photographer. He also credits the hands-on experience he gained to helping him secure an upcoming internship.

“I’m about to do an internship with the CBC in two weeks and I think it’s because of what I learned at DC through these experiences,” he says. “They asked if I could go out and do my own photos and videos, and I can because of the extra-curricular training I received through work-integrated learning.”

But Neary’s dedication is just as strong inside the classroom. DC’s Alumni Scholarship for Academic Excellence recognizes students who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance and leadership potential throughout their studies.

“On top of that, he brings a worldly and constructive approach to every role he takes on, whether it’s as the creator of the Founders Drive podcast, as a communications intern on a research project, or as a leader on the recent Faculty-led Classroom Abroad to Guatemala,” added Harder.

The recognition of Andrew’s achievements underscores DC’s commitment to fostering an inclusive campus environment that nurtures student success. Through the college’s emphasis on hands-on learning and immersive experiences, DC empowers students like Andrew to excel academically, make meaningful contributions to their communities, and make tangible impacts in their chosen fields.

Neary says those thinking of entering the journalism field have endless opportunities to get involved at DC, sharing “Don’t let college happen to you, take every opportunity you can and if there’s ever an opportunity to do experiential learning, it can make a huge difference. It builds on what you learn in the classroom and exposes you to things you never thought possible.”