Student Perspective: Find Success with Internship and Co-op Experience
July 26, 2012
Today’s blog is written by Amber Owens, who is a senior in Industrial & Systems Engineering. She’s in the process of completing her fifth co-op rotation and looking forward to graduating this year.
Currently, I work for GE Aviation in the Test Facilities Engineering department. This is my second co-op with GE Aviation; I worked in Engine Services at one of our repair shops last fall. I also completed two co-op rotations with Omegadyne, an instrumentation manufacturer, and one internship with Great Lakes Assemblies, a supplier of tire, wheel and center console parts for Honda. My co-op experiences have helped me gain expertise in manufacturing, process improvement, and design roles. I highly encourage you to do as many co-ops and internships as possible and if you are unsure of the experience, I can say firsthand that it is definitely worth it.
Gaining valuable work experience while in college is a great way to start seeing what you might like to do after you graduate. I can’t imagine going into the full-time work force after college without experiencing it during co-ops and internships. The most important thing I have learned during my co-ops and internships is the importance of building your network and working relationships. These relationships are a great way to learn more about a company and potential job opportunities. Also, they really give you an edge in this competitive job market we are a part of.
I know that many students are wary of doing internships or co-ops because they are nervous and believe they might not know enough to excel. This is definitely not the case, and companies that look for co-ops and interns are normally very passionate about spending time and helping you learn what you need to know to successfully perform your job. Don’t worry if you fail because the best way to learn is to make mistakes. This will only help you succeed in your career. Have a positive attitude and strive to learn as much as possible during school as well as internships and co-op assignments. You will be surprised how much of your college coursework becomes a major part of your work experience. My co-op assignments have helped me better understand my college courses and have helped make me a more rounded engineer. My engineering work experience has really prepared me for the real world, and I look forward to expanding on what I have learned in my career. Put yourself out there and never stop learning because the best way to apply your engineering skills is to go out into industry and make a difference.
"The world is your school."
-Martin H. Fischer