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Drew Welch

Drew Welch

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Franklin, Tennessee

During the 2017 calendar year, I participated in a co-op with Nissan Motors in their Smyrna, TN auto assembly plant. Specifically, I worked in the New Model Engineering department where I was assigned numerous projects mostly related to the all-new 2019 Nissan Altima. My projects involved designing equipment to be used on the floor to accommodate the production of the new model. I also had to consider things such as creating an installation plan, how to train technicians, the efficiency of the process and many more factors. I decided to co-op for a variety of reasons. The first was that I had no clue what I wanted to do with my engineering degree, so I took a co-op to test the waters and see if I like the manufacturing side of engineering. Spoiler alert, I absolutely love it. I also wanted to co-op to get some valuable work experience in order to stand out from other applicants when it comes time to look for careers. Another great reason to co-op goes without saying and that is the money you earn!

A few months into my assignment, I began taking the lead on several projects. Due to the nature of some of them, I did not get to see them to completion. However, there were a handful that I was the lead on from start to finish. When I reflect on my time at Nissan, my proudest accomplishments are the projects where I know I was the lead engineer. My co-op experience allowed me to apply the concepts I had learned in school prior. Academically, since returning I have an easier time grasping the theories in class because I can put into context the importance of them. Beyond the engineering principles, I learned and applied, my work experience has made me a better engineer by being a better employee. I learned how to carry myself in a professional environment, how to run meetings, investigate issues and so much more that will help me be a valuable employee in whatever career path I take.

If you are considering a co-op, the least you can do is attend the Engineering Expo. Cast a wide net by giving your resume to any company that slightly interests you. Take the interview opportunities you are given. And once you have one or several offers on the table, consider the pros and cons of taking the position. While delaying one's graduation can be a difficult decision, the benefits of gaining valuable experience before you graduate exceed the cons.

When I am not studying or working, my favorite thing to do is wrestle. I have been wrestling for 12 years and have no plans to stop. Currently, I compete on UT's club wrestling team. I also enjoy anything adventurous or outdoors. I love to SCUBA dive, travel, hike, sky-dive, cliff-jump, you name it!

If you ever have any questions about what it is like to co-op, please do not hesitate to stop by our office or call me directly. I will be happy to share.

Drew Welch


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