Co-op Student of the Year perseveres through challenges

Daniel Torres Flores, a 34-year-old Marine Technology – Navigation student from Lima, Peru, is focused on one long-term goal: “become a captain one day, and be a good one.”

The 2021 Co-op Student of the Year was recognized by several nominators and the Co-op and Career Success team at Georgian for demonstrating consistent dedication to both academic and career success.

A Campus Ambassador, he’s involved in Owen Sound Campus life. He also impressed his co-op employers and has achieved Dean’s List status five times.

Daniel Torres in safety gear, on a ship

Overcoming barriers

Daniel has worked hard for this recognition, overcoming many challenges along the way.

“Firstly, English is not my first language so it was a barrier at the beginning,” he explains. “I am alone in this country that is not mine, however my personality and helping others helped me to make friends that today have become family.”

His studies were also interrupted by a physical injury which required surgery and four months of recovery time.

Daniel credits his perseverance and strong mental health for getting him back into regular student life.

“I came back to school strongly, achieving and excelling in everything I tried such as school, co-op or work,” he says. “I have to mention as well, I had great support from Georgian College and friends that made my recovery smoother.”

Daniel Torres in a business suit

Going above and beyond

In his last co-op work term with Algoma Central Corporation, Daniel did a lot of work on deck.

“I did maintenance, greasing, chipping, painting, loading, discharging, mooring operations, cleaning cargo holds, deck hosing and safety inspections,” he explains. But he didn’t stop there. “Toward the end of my co-op, I pushed for myself to have bridge time and learn what officers need to perform watchkeeping duties and radio calls, and to organize crews on deck.”

Daniel worked hard to learn as much as he could and gain confidence in his skills. Not only did he show an eagerness to explore new abilities, he took on additional duties: full watches and radio calls. He also diligently tracked information in his logbook.

Advice for future co-op students

Daniel has advice for future marine students on co-op. “Do your logbook as much as you can and never be shy to ask questions to your officers. However, always look for perfect timing – never when a captain is doing ship handling, or driving through the canal. Anchor watch is the best time to get your logbook signed.”

He also reminds his fellow cadets to be safe while they’re working aboard a ship. “Know your surroundings and know your limits regarding safety,” he advises.

Finally, Daniel wants to let all co-op students know that they are expected to work hard and to learn, not to be perfect.

“Remember you’re there to learn and get training,” he says. “Do not feel bad if you made a mistake or struggle at first. We all pass through that. Most important, be honest if you made a mistake and be willing to take responsibility and learn from that. Being humble and perseverant can get you far.”

About the Co-op Student of the Year award

The Co-op Student of the Year award is a presented to a full-time student in a co-operative education program who has demonstrated remarkable achievements in academic and co-op terms.

An executive assistant sitting at a table with an executive, smiling while reviewing paperwork and taking notes on a laptop

What some of Daniel’s nominators had to say

“Daniel has displayed consistent dedication and passion, both as a student and as a marine cadet during his co-op work terms. He has been extraordinarily resilient, demonstrated a strong work ethic and has stayed positive throughout his journey. All of Daniel’s employer evaluations show that he carries these qualities from the campus to the workplace.”

– Olga Herrmann and Briar Robertson, Co-op and Career Consultants

“Daniel is a remarkable young man and I’ve been happy to have had the chance to work with him. Daniel supported me in the role of Campus Ambassador during his time at Georgian, and I can honestly tell you that he was one of the strongest Ambassadors I have had the pleasure of working with. He is extremely dedicated, professional, and absolutely trustworthy.” 

– Kailey Hawkins, Student Recruitment Specialist

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