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Holly Robbins

Holly Robbins


Livingston, Tennessee

Throughout my undergraduate career, I have worked a total of 5 co-op terms! After completing my Junior year at UT, I worked three consecutive terms (yes, that's 12 months straight) at Bayer (now Beiersdorf) in Cleveland, TN. This consumer healthcare company is best known for their household brands such as Claritin, MiraLAX, and Afrin. As a mechanical engineering co-op working in manufacturing at Bayer, my role was to lead and execute process improvement projects to increase the overall equipment efficiency and address the daily challenges on the production floor. As this was my first experience in industry, the knowledge and skills I developed at Bayer built a solid foundation for a successful future as an engineering.

Following one semester of my senior year, I pursued an opportunity to work for eight months as an intern at Tesla's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada. At the Gigafactory, we produce Tesla car components such as electric motors and battery packs. My role as a Technical Program Management Intern involved managing cross-functional production engineering projects. I was entrusted with the scope and responsibilities similar to the full-time engineers on my team, so my technical background and project management skills were essential for success. Tesla helped me to hone my engineering and leadership skills and allowed me to collaborate with some of the brightest minds in industry; these experiences will undoubtedly shape my future engineering career.

I decided to co-op so that I could add industry experience to my resume and gain a better understanding of the career opportunities available to a mechanical engineer. I also wanted the opportunity to apply the engineering knowledge I had gained in my classes to real-world problems in a professional setting.

During my co-ops I was able to hone in my technical and soft skills in ways that go far beyond what can be achieved in the classroom. Each co-op term has challenged me in a new way and shown me what it takes to be successful in industry. I can confidently say that my co-op terms have made me a more well-rounded professional and ultimately a better engineer.

To someone considering a co-op, I would suggest that you try not focus too much on the time you think you are losing by pushing your graduation back. Instead, focus on the experience and skills you will be gaining by utilizing that time working as an engineer. Trust me, it is well worth an added semester or two.

Outside of work and the classroom I love traveling to new places! One exciting perk that comes with doing a work assignment is the opportunity to explore a new area. While at Tesla, my weekends were spent traveling around Northern California, camping near the beautiful Lake Tahoe, and visiting several national parks all within driving distance. I highly recommend you take advantage of your co-op location!

Holly Robbins

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