- Major: Mechanical Engineering
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
My most recent co-op was with Cargill, an agriculture processing company. My location processed soybeans. I worked under the production supervisor as a small projects engineer for my 8-month rotation. Projects were focused on process improvement and energy savings. I also did two four-month co-op rotations with Eaton Corp in their electrical division.
During my first rotation, my main project was developing a continuous improvement framework to be utilized through excel implemented to improve on time performance within the customer order engineering step in our product orders for low voltage switchgear. The customer ordering engineer is basically responsible for taking the information from our sales engineers about the selections the customer would like on the order and developing the drawings and collecting all the information needed for an order to be sent out to the manufacturing floor to start building.
During my second rotation, I moved into the Sales & Marketing department for LVA. My biggest project there was designing and implementing a shipping container for one of our presentation demonstration products. I used Autodesk inventor when creating the prototype model and drawings. I also launched a couple of small safety accessory products. I published all the technical documents and marketing materials for the products. I worked with sales and purchasing to determine sales projections and pricing, as well as with manufacturing engineering to ensure any tooling updates or workspaces changes were accomplished to accommodate the production of these new products.
I chose to do a co-op because both of my parents got their engineering degrees from Ohio State, and they participated in a co-op program during their time in school. I was highly encouraged by my parents to do a co-op for the sake of my career development; I was also motivated by my desire to become more financially independent of my parents and graduate school with the least amount of loans possible. My co-op has allowed me to accomplish this financial goal of mine.
I recommend students do a co-op because there is no other opportunity in which you will learn more about yourself. It puts you in a position of being a “real” adult, the way our generation (and our elder generations, too) views college is almost like it is high school, part two. Doing a co-op puts you in the mindset that you are an adult today, and that the time to think about your future and what you would like to do for your career is now.
It gives you hands-on experience that will help you determine your professional interests in a way that you can’t get from joining a club or participating in an engineering society—that’s not to say those aren’t good things to do, they definitely are—but participating in a co-op allows you the exposure to experiences you won’t find on campus and develops you in ways that you don’t even realize until you’ve done it.
While I was on co-op, I enjoyed my weekends traveling to different mid-west cities. During the week, I liked cooking for myself, running and practicing yoga after work. At school, I like continuing to run and practice yoga, and watching Netflix to de-stress from classes. I also try to make at least one hiking trip out to the Smokies during the semester.