UVic graduate Matt Cooper (chemistry and economics) will be heading to Montreal this fall for a year-long research position with his most recent co-op employer, Merck Frosst. The pharmaceutical company was eager to hire Cooper back as an intern after he proved his research abilities during his work term.

Cooper will continue the force field design research (exploring how virtual molecules interact) that he began as a co-op student. “By working with Merck Frosst I was able to prove that I could transfer my research skills and academic knowledge into the workplace,” says Cooper. “I was interested in the internship program, and co-op allowed me to make the connection.”

In fact, Cooper was so enthusiastic about the co-op experience that he went above and beyond in his co-op career. He completed more co-op work terms than required, building up an impressive and diverse résumé in the process. His chemistry-related work experience with the University of Victoria’s Department of Chemistry, Boehringer Ingelheim (Montreal), Syncitium (Victoria), University of Waterloo (in an atmospheric chemistry project supported by Canadian Space Agency) and Merck Frosst (Montreal) gave him the competitive edge that helped him secure his internship.

This desire to do more than is expected is nothing new to Cooper. He has also been incredibly active in campus life as well as the larger community. While maintaining a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 7.54, Cooper juggled six chemistry co-op work terms around his other activities, which included volunteering at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, working as a teaching assistant with University 101, serving as an elected representative of the UVic Senate and acting as a director-at-large for the UVic Students’ Society.

Cooper has been recognized for his studies and community participation; he has been awarded a number of scholarships throughout his UVic career and was recently recognized with a UVic Blue and Gold Award, honouring him for the significant contributions he has made in promoting the quality of life on the University of Victoria campus and in the community-at-large.