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Zari Malbacias

Zari Malbacias

  • Major: Industrial & Systems Engineering
  • Company: Denso
  • Graduation Year: Dec 2020


I did my co-op with DENSO. They are one of the world's biggest automotive component suppliers. I had my coop in Maryville, Tennessee, where I completed 3 rotations. I worked in the Quality Assurance Department in the Body Electronics Division where I dealt with in-process manufacturing quality issues and reliability for new product launches.     

There was still so much that I didn't know about engineering that I felt like I needed some experience that can't be taught in the classroom. I had many friends that did a coop, and I wanted to be able to have experience in knowing if engineering is truly what I want to do for my future career.      

Since I worked in quality, I was involved in numerous investigations into quality issues. I found myself spending hours out on the manufacturing lines and talking to the production workers. It was important to build good relationships with everyone around me because the production workers had sometimes more knowledge than the engineers. They work on the lines every day, and their experiences and feedback to me was very helpful. From all this, I gained a deeper understanding into engineering that we work with real people. It's not only the customers we think of, but the people that work around us that help make these products possible.  

My co-op helped me gain intangible skills like being self-confidence in making crucial decisions. Since the engineers that I worked with at DENSO gave me responsibilities as if I was a full-time engineer, I learned to be comfortable with making decisions. With this, I learned that I can't be afraid to make mistakes, and it matters more how I can accept those mistakes and what I can do to find the best solution. I will carry this with me as I finish school and begin a career as an engineer.

Obtaining a co-op assignment is worth it. A co-op assignment helps get you valuable experience, and there's the opportunity to work on better projects and gain more responsibilities with the long work term. Aside from those benefits, a co-op is a perfect opportunity to reflect and understand what you want to do in your future career. You might definitely think engineering is for you or it isn't. You also gain exposure to other departments and understanding the company structure, and you can develop interests in other departments or fields for your future career.

I love to watch sports and am heavily involved as a camera operator with VFL Films on campus. I also enjoy photography and listening to all types of music from 70s rock to K-pop.

The Engineering Professional Practice Office has been really helpful to me during my time here at UT.

Zari Malbacias

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