Spotlight on Co-Op: Emily!

Filed in From the Staff by on December 4, 2017

Hello all!

With the upcoming winter break, you will surely have some extra time to be continuing your job search. As you look at opportunities, also look at your academic plan: is there room for a co-op? Working a co-op provides you with a multitude of professional benefits while you maintain your full-time student status.

This week, I caught up with Emily, a Co-Op Ambassador in the Career Development Center. Emily is a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering, and as a Co-op Ambassador, she talks to students about the co-op experience. Read on to learn more!

Image result for co-op wpi

LF: How did you plan for co-op?

EM: I met with Academic Advising to go over my classes and make a 4-year plan to ensure that I would graduate on time with the class of 2018.

When and where did you do your co-op?

Sophomore Year, during C- and D-term and into that summer, at Mercury Systems in Andover, MA

Did you relocate, live on campus, or live at home during your co-op? How was that the same/different as being a full-time student?

I lived at home so that I would have a 15 minute commute. However, I came to WPI on the weekends to hang out with my friends and participate in campus events and activities for clubs I was involved in.

What was your role at your co-op? What were your days and tasks like?

I worked on the mechanical engineering team. I was able to work on the long term projects with the team and have an input in design reviews. I also was given my own projects to work on too and had real, impactful responsibilities. Once we hired summer interns, I was able to train them which made me realize how many skills I learned and the professional development I gained throughout my time there.  

Did you choose your co-op to expand on pre-existing skills or to teach you new ones?

I decided to do a co-op to learn new skills. I used Solidworks nearly everyday so picked that tool up quickly even though I had no prior experience using it. I also learned new technical skills in the lab as well, even though my main tasks were in design.

What was your biggest takeaway from the experience?

I loved having an important role at my company. I wasn’t just looked at as a temporary co-op, but rather as a full-time employee. Additionally, being given tasks that would affect both long-term and short-term projects made me realize the responsibility I had which was really rewarding.

How do you market your co-op experience when networking? In interviews?

I emphasize that in my 7 month time there I was able to work on real projects with the team from the beginning to the end and have a valid input in any design reviews or conversations. I was given my own projects that I would oversee and be able to train summer interns on tasks and skills that I learned during my employment.

I am also more confident when I go into interviews or networking events because I know I had this great and impressive experience as an undergraduate student and know how to market it well to make me an even more competitive job candidate.

What is your advice to students considering co-op?

I would 100% recommend doing a co-op. It was one of the best decisions and experiences I have had through WPI. It has made me stand out in my internship and job search and helped me gain skills that I would not have learned in a classroom. Furthermore, I have been able to apply my experiences and skills I learned at my co-op back into the classroom. Students interested in co-op can make an appointment with the CDC to talk to one of us [Co-op Ambassadors or career counselors] here or email



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About the Author ()

I am pursuing a degree in Biochemistry at WPI with minors in Biology and Business. I am a Peer Advisor for the Career Development Center and am passionate about helping my fellow students be successful in their careers and in life!

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