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Maria Zemke

Maria Zemke


Knoxville, Tennessee

During my co-op I worked with MTI (a Steel Partners company) in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I worked three rotations back-to-back between June 2018 and May 2019. I worked in the prototype/design department and worked on 3D printing, designing tooling, chemicals inventory, and kaizen events. I had a summer internship in 2020 with Frito-Lay where I researched a possible expansion of the Food for Good program within PepsiCo. This project involved doing a market analysis of possible cities, researching potential partnerships, and identifying infrastructure that would help facilitate an expansion.

I decided to co-op to help me decide if what part of mechanical engineering I wanted to be involved in after graduation.

The most valuable lesson I learned about engineering design is to consult both the machinists who will be creating your design and whoever plans to use your design once finished. Odds are, they will have better ideas than me on how to plan the part to best fit their needs and abilities. 

I can see more applications of the material I learn in class now. Terms I was taught on co-op now pop up regularly in class, and it helps to be somewhat familiar with them already.

 I would recommend a co-op because it took me several months to feel really comfortable with my projects and to get more involved in interesting tasks at the company. These were tasks that the summer interns at my company did not have a chance to be involved in. Because I had a co-op, I better understand what it is like to show up to work day after day and make the most of the job I have.

I like to go on road trips, play ukulele, take my dog to the park and on hikes, improve my beginner cooking skills, and play board games.

Maria Zemke

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