- Major: Electrical Engineering
- Company: DENSO Manufacturing
- Graduation Year: 2018
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Knoxville, TN
I co-oped for a total of four terms with DENSO in Maryville TN working on Machine Design. DENSO manufactures car parts for companies like Toyota and Nissan. In Maryville, they primarily manufacture alternators, starters, and instrument clusters (gauges). They are also expanding their electronics manufacturing departments. I got to design the machines that build these parts from scratch-- meeting with customers to discuss the needs of the machine, planning electrical systems, controls systems, creating hardware assembly packages, developing all the needed code, and finally going through all debug/adjustment and testing until the final machine inspection requirements are met.
I decided to do a co-op because I really wanted some practical experience to tie back into my classroom learning. It is so much easier to appreciate the beauty of theory when you have an example you can think back to where that theory was applied. It helps you develop an understanding of how you take the theory you learn and cleverly apply it to real world problems.
During my time at DENSO, I managed a nine month long, $600,000 machine design from start to finish. The overall project taught me how to function in an office/professional environment, all the basics of the industry, and gave me a chance to figure out how I work on projects. It gave me a ton of feedback and experience to continue building on for the rest of my co-op.
There are so many things I could list that highlight how performing a co-op has helped me become a better engineer. Earlier I talked about having experiences to think about while you learn theory in school-- that is very important. Another is just figuring out how I operated in a professional environment. How I organized myself, reported things, solved problems with restrictions like budget and time... I would say my ability to solve problems literally doubled after my co-op. Everything just started making sense. It will make you such a better engineer, you'll earn money, and it gives you a huge kick start when you go to find a career before graduation. If you're feeling burnt out from school, it can be a great break too.
I am a first generation student and when I came into college was 100% focused on get a degree, get a job, get out. I needed to survive. Taking a co-op made me realize I had a lot to learn socially and professionally that I couldn't learn in a classroom. I am so much more confident now and have zero doubts about finding a job after I graduate.
Some of my favorite things to do when not studying: Playing with my dog, hanging out with friends, video games, some anime, biking around Knoxville's Greenways or hiking, and reading take up all of my relaxation time. I do spend a good bit of time working on pet projects around my house too, just fixing stuff and improving things.