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BS/MEng Mechanical Engineering
Clifton Park NY

Thankful for Co-ops

Alissa Anderson on Monday, 15 November 2010. Posted in Co-op

“Engineering” is a broad term. For some it is the art ofbuilding cars and planes, for others it defines the world of research andinnovation. For myself, I look at engineering as a word to describe the art ofsolving problems. In an engineering degree, students learn how to think outsidethe box and to be creative in solving problems. In mechanical engineering Ilearn these problem-solving skills though a math/science application… but thethought is the same.

I went into engineering with the intent of improving myproblem solving skills and using my degree in the betterment of society – or inan industry I am passionate about. When I came into RIT I was unsure what typeof engineering I would be most successful in / would give be the greatest opportunity. After six months in the engineering exploration(undeclared) option I officially declared mechanical engineering because I feelit is the most diverse of the engineering options.

As a third year student, my next career step is to figureout what industry I am truly passionate about, and what branch of mechanical engineeringI should pursue. The RIT Co-op program has been invaluable in this search,after the past six months on the job I can truly say this Thanks Giving season Iam thankful for the co-op program and the opportunity to test out differenttypes of engineering and different companies. Not only does the co-op programgive me real experience, it has also shown me what variables are most importantin my career search (location, type of work, type of industry, pay, etc). 

RIT's reputation attracts a huge variety of companies and opportunities for students who desire a diverse co-op experience. My approach to the co-op system was to test out the different extremes of engineering in attempt to narrow my career goals. In the past six months I have worked under the sea (on designs associated with the submarine industry) as well as in outer space (perfecting products destined for the space-craft and satellites). I experienced home living as well as apartment living in a new city. I checked out the design world and compared it to my experiences in the product-engineering world. 

So many variables go into a career decision... it is like the college search all over! Welcome to the land of admissions, always searching for the next big step. 

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