Potential and perspective: Profiles on EASI’s 2018 co-op students

EASI's co-op students with their managers: Andrew Magnaye, Robbie Liang, Gilbert Zhu, Jessica Viau, Randy Samsoondar, Mike Clark, Alex Dault, Andrew McHardy and Heather Postill

From user experience process and design to information management, business analysis and machine learning – the four co-op students who joined Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI) this past summer gained a wealth of experience and contributed a wealth of knowledge.

“Not only do our co-op students benefit from their experience with EASI, we also benefit from their skills,” says Cathy Eberts, Executive Director of EASI. “We have a lot of projects on the go and we always look forward to the extra help.”

The program included students from U of T’s iSchool and Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, and George Brown College. While it officially ran over the summer, several of the students will continue with EASI over the coming months.

Learn about their wide range of projects and the impact of their experiences.


Name: Andrew Magnaye
Position: User Experience Designer
Program/School: Second-year Master of Information student at U of T’s iSchool.

As part of the User Experience and Process Design team at EASI, I’ve had the opportunity to wear many different hats. On projects like ACORN and the Course Information System, I’ve worked as a designer, researcher and developer. I’m currently working on a web app that helps students sign up for usability tests and research activities with the UXPD team. This application streamlines a cumbersome process for our participants and makes it much easier for the team to keep track of these participants.

Through collaboration and critiques, I’ve seen the quality of my work grow by leaps and bounds. Being a part of the team has helped me gain a greater sense of creative confidence in everything I do. I’m incredibly grateful for this experience!


Name: Randy Samsoondar
Position: HRIS Specialist
Program/School: First-year Information Systems Business Analysis, George Brown College

I’ve had a fantastic four months with EASI and have contributed in several capacities. I supported the implementation of Kronos, a time and attendance system, in a number of departments by participating in demonstrations, trainings, configurations and testing.

It has been very interesting to gain a better technical understanding of the human resource information systems used at U of T and to see their role in the various stages of the employee lifecycle. Furthermore, I’ve had the opportunity to observe and apply various project management and business analysis techniques that I learnt during my academics, which will be invaluable experience as I move forward with my career.


Name: Jessica Viau
Position: Information Management Analyst
Program/School: Second-year Knowledge Management and Information Management, U of T iSchool

I’m currently studying innovative theory and practical solutions for Information Management, Knowledge Management, User Experience Design, and Information Governance. I’m four months into my eight-month co-op position at EASI as an Information Management Analyst and designated SharePoint Online Ambassador.

Currently, I am working with the Document Management Team to facilitate the migration of content from Blackboard, Confluence, and network drives to SharePoint Online. This includes consulting with and providing expertise to IT professionals across U of T’s many departments on the implementation of SharePoint Online. I have had the chance to build portals for the Faculty of Nursing, Office of the Vice-President International, and many more.

The level of guidance and mentorship I have received in this role has been exceptional, and the skills that have I have acquired will provide an excellent primer for continued learning and achievement as I go forward in my career.


Name: Gilbert Zhu
Position: Machine Learning Engineer
Program/School: Second-year Master of Engineering at MIE, U of T

I made use of some HR data and built a predictive model using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning techniques that can help HR professionals make certain decisions faster. I found that modern techniques like machine learning can really help improve efficiency in business processes. Through this co-op, I have gained experience with a complete data science project life cycle, which made me more confident about my future career in this area. It was a very pleasant and useful experience at EASI!