This blog will mainly talk about my co-op experience. I’m a junior in packaging science, and over the past 6 months I worked as a packaging engineering intern with Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. I got my co-op from the Career Services and the email that career counselors sent out. I received an interview on campus and then got an offer.
Getting a co-op
Many of RIT programs require 1 or 2 co-ops to meet the graduation requirement. Co-op (cooperative-education) is a program where students work in the industry related to their field of study. RIT Career Services offers spring and fall career fairs that attract hundreds of employers across the country to recruit interns and full-time workers from RIT. Also certain majors, such as packaging science, have their own career fairs. Find more about RIT Career Services here.
People may ask, “Will RIT help me find a coop?”
The Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education offer services such as counseling, workshops, mock interviews, etc. to help students prepare for career fairs and interviews. Also, the university-wide career fair is a great platform provided by RIT co-op office for students to meet employers and to start professional networking. Companies like Apple and Google have also had occasional meet and greets and on-campus interviews.
The upcoming spring career fair is on March 2nd. Stay tuned and get your resume ready!
My co-op experience
As a packaging engineering intern for Ocean Spray, I assisted packaging engineers as well as ran my own projects where I developed packages and qualified new packaging materials. I worked with different departments within Ocean Spray. For example, I worked with Quality, Procurement, and Marketing. I also got the chance to oversee the production of my project, which is extremely fascinating.
One of my biggest takeaways from my co-op is understanding how to communicate in a corporate setting and working with multifunctional teams both within and outside of the corporate. I also got to see what industry is like and how my major works in the industry. I got to understand different styles of team dynamics as well.
Besides the day-to-day office setting, I also was involved in fun things with my fellow interns. I participated in Dragon Boat Race with other Ocean Spray employees and interns in Boston. I was also lucky enough to be invited to one of the Asian Culture cruise tours, and attended Indian Bungla competition.
Students are required to fill out evaluation forms of their co-op experiences. It is a good way to express your opinions/like or dislikes. Also, your employer will fill out an evaluation for the interns which they will go over with you. This gives you some feedback on your performance in the duration of your co-op.
Some suggestions I have for co-op students: Keep an open mind and be willing to learn! It’s OKAY and encouraged to ask questions. Also build professional relationships with people you work with!