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DeLys Valentine

DeLys Valentine


Knoxville, TN

I worked three consecutive semesters in Atlanta as a Process Engineer Co-op at Dennis Group, a design-build firm that exclusively serves the food & beverage industry. While I was there, I worked on several different projects including a new oven system for peanut butter filled pretzels, a line audit for the production of coffee energy drinks, an upgrade of a bourbon distillery, and the recommissioning of a peanut butter production line. I decided to co-op mainly because I was eager to work and gain experience. I also knew that having a year of experience would give me an advantage in my job search after graduation.     

During my second and third terms, I was assigned as the Process Engineer for a project at a local plant. I was responsible for designing a control system for a hot oil heat exchanger and the installation of a new liquid nitrogen line. I specified piping & instrumentation, created P&IDs, and wrote a scope of work for construction. It was a small project, but having that responsibility and learning how to do things on my own (with a little help from the other engineers) was a great learning experience.       

I gained technical skills like how to size pumps and how to create drawings in AutoCAD. More importantly, I learned how to weigh different solutions to real-world problems and choose the right one for the situation. I learned to work in interdisciplinary teams and the importance of communication between those disciplines. Overall, my co-op has given me the tools to be a better engineer and to work with other engineers better.   

I would highly encourage every engineering student to co-op. Not only because of the skills you learn but the confidence you gain. Confidence that you picked the right major, confidence that you can be an engineer (and a good one!), and confidence for life after graduation. I consider that confidence to be the most valuable thing I gained from my co-op and I want other students to graduate with that same confidence.        

Some of my hobbies are drawing, photography, and hiking. When I'm not in class or studying, I'm probably playing with my golden doodle, Watson.      

To fellow engineering students - remember that your education is what makes you an engineer, but your experience is what makes you an invaluable one.

DeLys Valentine

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