Real Co-op Experience
Real-world experience empowers RIT’s graduates with a marketable edge. Co-op provides the opportunity to put classroom lectures, textbook theories, and your personal initiative to the test in a true work environment.
Below are examples of co-op experiences shared by RIT students. Read on and get an idea of the variety of jobs our students have held. Visit our International Experiences page too!
Check out our YouTube Channel with RIT On Co-op and Company Video playlists!
Share Your Co-op Experience
If your are a RIT co-op student open to sharing your experiences, we would love to hear from you! See details below.
Major: Civil Engineering Technology
Company Name: Weeks Marine Inc.
City/State: New Orleans, LA
Job Title: Assistant Field Engineer
Brief description of your job and responsibilities: Main responsibilities of the job included designing temporary work platforms/driving templates, creating and maintaining as-built CADD drawings, overseeing work to ensure specifications were met, organizing preconstruction/inspection meetings, and preparing all submittals from preparatory through closeout for the project including work procedures, product/material information, and worker certifications.
How did you find the job: I found this job by meeting a contact at the Regional Cost Estimating competition held in New Jersey every year. The Civil Engineering Department sponsors our cost estimating team every year. I recommend that students participate in any industry sponsored competitions or clubs relevant to their major so they can get out and make contacts in the professional world.
Brief description of your job and responsibilities: I work in the Brand Strategy department, figuring out the best way to monitor, develop, and manage the Kodak brand.
How did you find the job? Someone told me that Kodak was hiring, so I just went to the website and found something that I was interested in!
Tips or advice for students who will co-op for the first time? Do not be afraid to ask questions! You are not expected to know everything at first - that's why you do the co-op!
Brief description of your job and responsibilities: I worked with a multidisciplinary team of researchers to improve quality and lifetime of flexible Organic LED (OLED) devices. I was included in all facets of the research, including designing the experiments, mask designing, fabricating devices in the cleanroom, encapsulation of devices, testing, success and failure analysis, and even process improvement. I also conducted concurrently running experiments to test possible new materials and their compatibility with the various cleanroom processes. I also worked with mechanical engineers to develop a new means of doing encapsulation which included several improvements from the previous hand-operated procedure.
How did you find the job? I got an email from the co-op office about it and I applied immediately. I had the phone interview the next day and had the job offer within the next two days.
Tips or advice for students who will co-op for the first time? When you are job hunting, keep an open mind regarding the aspect of your field you want to work in because if you limit yourself too early, you may not end up with any job offers. However, if you keep your options open, you can pick and choose from your job offers later. At the job, remember that you are young student with little to no experience in the field. So even though you may feel a certain way regarding your work, you must follow proper protocol to get your opinions heard. Remember, prior experience is major factor at the workplace when making new decisions.
I work directly under the Project Manager. It is overall a great management experience. This is my first co-op, I am doing three blocks of co-op here with ConEd. My daily job description includes, but are not limited to: creating and maintaining different database/matrix for the capital projects as well as tracking the projects for updates and showing those as builts, physical drawings and P&IDs. Also, creating a database of the assets and the project information package.
My roommate (from RIT) had this co-op before me and I heard from him that ConEd was hiring students for co-op position, so I applied. Fortunately, I was selected as one of the three new co-ops here. I also was involved in the hiring process of three more co-ops. I did the interviews(phone) myself and then was left to decide on the best applicants. As my first co-op, this was the best experience (better than what I expected) I could have had in management.
I had never heard of Moog when I first approached their booth at the RIT career fair, but they had a picture of the space shuttle on their display. I was immediately interested. I soon found out about all of the technology that Moog works on and how that affects so many programs. I was now hooked and was not disappointed when I was given the opportunity to do a double co-op block at the Space and Defense Plant in Product Engineering.
It has been my dream for as long as I can remember to work on the space shuttle program. During my co-op at Moog, I was able to work on a shuttle project and much more. I worked on over 40 different projects in my short six months here including fixture design, a failure investigation, F35, JUNO, Design of Experiments, display stand design and many others.
I was pleased with how great this experience was for me. During my co-op block, I realized how Moog is very different from most companies mostly because of the Moog philosophy. The people here are truly what make the company so great. Everyone is so helpful and kind. You feel like family in no time.
I would highly recommend Moog to any prospective students based on my experiences here. For those students, I have learned that Moog understands the difference between getting an assignment done quickly and improving the process along the way so future assignments are quicker. I was impressed by the level of responsibility and trust I was given even as a new co-op student.
Major: Graphic Media
Company: Tampa Bay Lightning / St. Pete Times Forum
City/State: Tampa, FL
Job Title: Ticket Operations Intern
Brief description of your job and responsibilities: Lightning ticket account management and event night ticketing
How did you find the job? Internship listings on NHL.com
Tips or advice for students who will co-op for the first time? Always take advantage of opportunities to volunteer for extra work and cross-department training.
Major: Graphic Media Publishing
Concentrations: News Media/ Enterprises
Company Name: TheNewsMarket
City/State: New York, NY
Job Title: Media Outreach Intern
Brief description of your job and responsibilities: My job responsibilities include assisting the Media Project Manager in order to get more subscribers/users and marketing our video content to major news channels in America like BBC, CNN, CBS, ABC. The challenges that we are facing right now are user activity/engagement on our website and make their stories more popular for companies to use their video content.
How did you find the job? E-mailed the HR directly. They had an opening which was not posted. The HR responded to me for interview since my resume looked interesting – I then landed the job.
Tips or advice for students who will co-op for the first time? Research the companies in your field. Send out resume’s to corporate websites even if they don’t explicitly post about a job opening. Research your company well before going to the interview.
Major: Imaging Science
Year: Third Year
Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Job Title: Student Research Assistant
City/State: Oak Ridge, TN
Job Title: Student Research Assistant
Brief description of your job and responsibilities: I worked on projects to rethink emergency management, visualize nuclear reactor operator alert systems, and index information from the world's sensors. The main project I was involved with--Sensorpedia--will be public-facing, and will register geo-located sensors so that researchers can find data sources to perform simulations and discover links between seemingly unrelated data. It will also enable those in government and law enforcement to monitor many things, from environmental pollution to emerging disease.
How did you find the job? I was made aware of the job through the US Department of Energy Office of Science educational programs website.
Tips or advice for students who will co-op for the first time?
First, now is a great time to be involved with public sector science. Our government has acknowledged the meaningful impact science can have in meeting today's challenges in energy needs, infrastructure demands, and security concerns. It's a way of contributing knowledge, and making a difference. Second--and this likely holds as true for corporate co-ops as well--don't just apply to positions blindly. Find a contact in an organization--a mentor, someone whose work you respect, and contact them to find out what they are working on and what the challenges are. Be more informed--It'll show potential employers your interest and make sure that a position would be a good fit. Get out there. Apply for those positions you doubt you may get. Learn new things, both at in and out of the classroom.
Company: Hasbro Toys, Inc.
City/State: Pawtucket, RI
Assisted Pre-press managers with responsibilities pertaining to proofing the packaging for all of the various toy brands including: Monopoly, Baby Alive, Littlest Pet Shop, Transformers and Gi Joe.
I found the job through my counselor Shauna Newcomb who directed me to the Job Zone posting.
Advice: Make some friends and connections in the area. And spend some time with them going out and having fun. It will make your experience that much more enjoyable!
Company: Walt Disney Company Walt Disney World Resort
City/State: Lake Buena Vista, FL
Job Titles: Deep-Water Lifeguard and Professional Intern-Sales Assistant Disney Vacation Club
I was involved with the Disney College Program where I began as a Lifeguard at Disney's grand Floridian Resort and Spa and Disney's Polynesian Resort. I had the opportunity to work within several theme parks including piloting nightly fireworks cruises in the seven seas lagoon
I then continued on as a professional Intern with the Disney Vacation Club. I was the youngest person ever to work for DVC where I was a sales assistant at the preview center at Saratoga Springs Resort. I was recently in the Travel Channel Episode of Disney's Best Secret where I had a few brief speaking roles.
Brief Description of Your Job and Responsibilities:
I had been at Vicor for six months and got a chance to work along Manufacturing/Design /quality Engineering area.
My first project was to design and model a fixture in SolidWorks – A CAD software, for identification of PCB (Printed Circuit Board) belonging to ROHS/NONROHS as we had an issue with identification of different sizes of the printed circuit boards on the shop floor. Besides that, I designed a workstation for vacuum kit assembly where trim leads and debris are removed so as to minimize scattering of particles during trimming with the help of lean manufacturing principles. I also measured and analyzed the consistency of solder paste height on specific apertures, evaluating several options of screen print stencils using Minitab- A statistical software.
Second project was based on designing a fixture for cleaning small stencils. We had an issue with variation in solder paste height as small stencils were cleaned manually so I designed a fixture which holds small stencils with ability to be cleaned in the big stencil cleaning machine within cycle time.
I worked with engineers, as a team, in the area of product testing, component and material evaluation, process improvement and failure analysis, development and evaluation of ideas for cycle time reduction.
How did you find your job? – Fall career fair 2009
Tips or advice for students who will Co-op for First time? I would say that be responsible about project with confidence because that would help you for your future job. I was true to that and immediately got another co-op at Ultralife Batteries Inc. as a Design Engineer.
Company: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
City/State: Pasadena, CA
Job Title: MSL System Testbed Engineer
Brief description of your job and responsibilities: I work with the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) System Testbed team preparing test procedures and reports for various flight components. I integrate hardware into the system and perform functional tests. I am also assisting in the layout and development of a testbed for use with MSL mechanical equipment such as the rover arm, drill and cameras.
How did you find the job? Society of Women Engineer’s National Conference
Tips or advice for students who will co-op for the first time? Ask lots of questions and challenge yourself!
About the photo: This is me in the Mars Exploration Rover Laboratory system test bed. This is a duplicate of the rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, that are currently exploring Mars. This is used for testing various maneuvers before performing them on Mars.
Abhishek Sharma at Eastman Kodak Co.
Major: Telecommunications Engineering Technology
Year: 2nd Academic Year (Masters)
Company: Eastman Kodak Company
City/State: Rochester, NY
Job Title: RF/Wireless Engineer
Brief Description of Your Job and Responsibilities:
I am a Telecomm Grad with a focus in Wireless Communication. My Job profile at Kodak matched so well with my interests and I got to work on almost every Wireless technology possible - RFID, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, WUSB, ZigBee... you name it!
What I started with initially was to use RFID in existing Kodak Printers to track parts and also for Media authentication to prevent 3rd party counterfeit. Carrying on with this experience in RFID, I was involved in researching new wireless standards/technologies to incorporate them in existing or future consumer products. Did a lot of brainstorming with different groups within Kodak to understand their requirements and to propose feasible solutions. Of late, I got into a new project which is supposed to be a 'Big Development' in Wireless communication for Kodak, got lucky to grab the attention of our Vice President, Mr. Jeff Hayzlett, who came down to our Lab to see our Prototype Demo after he heard the latest buzzword from other people. Besides this, I was also required to design Antennas, write firmware/software and give presentations within groups and outside customers. All in all, a very fulfilling experience working with one of the leaders in Imaging - Kodak!!
How did you find your Job? Spring Career Fair ' 08
Tips or Advice For Students Who Will Co-op For The First Time? Just do your best and make the most of your short time (I was lucky to work 6 months). Be a good listener, while at the same time don't hold back your thoughts/views/suggestions that you feel might benefit the company. Always be confident and thoughtful about what you say and be sure to have something strong to support your theory.
3 months is too short a time to create a solid impression... so make the most of it ‘cuz as they say, 'First impression might be your last...'
What do you do?
Member of Packaging Development Team. I worked on new innovations, working with suppliers to execute merchants (marketing) and design team's visions; Created specifications.
How did you find your job? I found this job on the RIT Job Zone website
Any advice? Don't ONLY rely on career fairs because you never know what's out there. There are many companies that miss the career fair and is still looking for co-ops, so do your research.
I had an excellent summer at Google. The atmosphere at Google is completely different than any other corporate environment that I've ever heard of. I typically put in 12+ hour days (including time for lunch, dinner, tech talks, the gym, etc) because I enjoyed being at work so much! It very much has the feel of a college campus, only you're getting paid a salary instead of paying tuition! People are always cheerful and willing to help out one another. Maybe it's because instead of dreading coming to work every day, Googlers actually look forward to coming in --- I know I did! [read more about Kurt's great experience at Google]
Major: Computer Science
Year: Second Year (MS Computer Science)
Company: Paychex Inc
City/State: Rochester, NY
Job Title: Data Warehouse Specialist
Job and responsibilities: Reporting, Data Analysis using Data Mining, Unit and Integration Testing during ETL operations for the company and develop Java programs in order to automate sql test scripts.
How did you find the job? Job was exciting, the company is good, but my team was just great! It has been an important experience for me during which I did not only learn a lot adding to my professional experience but also helped me grow into a self-motivated individual.
Tips or advice for students who will co-op for the first time? It was my first job experience, but was a successful one of which I am proud I was a part of such a company. My advice would be, just be yourself, have an open mind, always take initiative and be self-motivated. It will definitely take you a long way in life! And most importantly, have fun :-)
Although no new nuclear power plants have been built in the US since 1977, there is still a lot of work needed to maintain the current US fleet. Such has been my work at Structural Integrity, located in Denver Colorado.
My duties at SI have been mainly to perform fatigue analysis for nuclear reactor components in order for the plants to get the “green” light from the NRC to continue operation.
As a ME major with an energy and environment focus, I feel that the preservation of our current nuclear fleet, and hopefully its future expansion, can help supply the US with cleaner, cheaper and safer energy. Working as a consultant in the nuclear field has been a great experience this summer, and the Colorado mountains have been great too!
Advertising photography majors can take their degrees in a thousand different directions. Sarah Weeden chose the corporate track. This Bristol, NY native used the co-op experience to shape her career path and start planning for her future.
What were your main duties?
I assisted Jon Hrichak, Wegmans corporate photographer. My responsibilities in the beginning were mainly to provide basic assistance with setup and break down in the studio and on location, to organize and archive the photography, and help with studio management. As I gained more independence I took over a portion of the product photography that went into Menu Magazine and weekly ads.
What was your first day like? Were you nervous? Were you put in the spotlight in any way?
My first day was a total whirlwind. Jon took me around and introduced me to everyone as “the new intern,” and I tried to retain everyone's name. I had a tour of Corporate Wegmans, which is enormous. There are almost four thousand employees at Corporate. And of course I remembered all their names.
Did you make any mistakes during your job? How did you correct them?
I was late on the first day. I definitely got completely lost trying to find the Corporate office.
But I remember my boss commenting on that once, saying that he was actually impressed with how well I dealt with the "situation," and that it showed him I could handle pressure well. So that worked out!
What was your biggest accomplishment during the co-op?
After time, I gained the respect and confidence of Jon and the Wegmans Advertising Team, and I was given a substantial amount of responsibility shooting assignments. If Jon had to leave for any reason, I was his replacement in the studio. And of course it feels like an accomplishment and it is a great feeling to go pick up a Menu Magazine and see your photos!
Looking back, would you change anything you did
Besides being late on the first day? I suppose I would strengthen my organizational skills even more; my experience with the corporate environment has shown me the importance of organization and time management. An assistant's job is to keep the photographer organized, because things in a studio can get pretty hectic.
Why did you choose to continue working at Wegmans?
Well, the food of course! But honestly, I continued through the year because I was asked to, and the days when the workload was the heaviest for Jon were conveniently the days I was available to come in to the studio. I hope to retain my ties with Wegmans for years to come, for not only have I made professional contacts, I have met many wonderful people who have helped me to grow personally and professionally.
Do you hope to work for them in the future?
If a position with the Advertising Department were to open up, I would most definitely consider applying. The Wegmans Team is a great environment to work in. With my pending design education, and with my experience in the photographic field, I am sure there would be a few positions that I would be well suited for.
How do you feel your co-op prepared you for future work?
My internship provided me with the ability and confidence to be prepared for a variety of situations. I was able to see how designers, creative leaders, copy writers, and photographers work together. Like a design agency, the teams work to produce work for clients within the company, much like an ad agency would work.
Did the co-op help you to hone in or find a particular area of photography that interested you the most?
After working with the Advertising Department and working with the Creative Team at Wegmans, I felt not only more prepared, but even more motivated to pursue a career in advertising. When making my career choice to go into art direction, I could not have worked at a better company to provide me with the background to make that decision.
What are your plans for the future?
Getting into grad school is my first priority, as I am planning to get a Masters in Advertising Design. I feel this will best prepare me and round out my skills for a job at an advertising agency. After graduation, I will begin the climb up the corporate ladder to being an art director, and hopefully I will have a big hand in the photographic and image direction for the company I work for. I see myself at an ad agency like Ogilvy & Mather or a stock photography company such as Getty Images.
For my first co-op, I researched like a maniac on RIT’s Job Zone System and the Internet to find things that interested me. I started at a company called Detection Systems, where I was a test engineer. I wrote and revised programs for a new motion detector and also learned a new programming language. I learned a lot there.
For my second co-op, I decided on Advanced Micro Devices because the job as a production and development engineer there sounded interesting. I worked on the K-6 MMX processor and did a lot of experiments to improve production to reduce
test time. AMD even sent me on business trips to Vermont and California.
The team I worked on was really good, and it felt good that I went to Austin, where I didn’t know anyone, and I left there with so many friends. There were 40 co-op students at AMD from all over the United States, and two girls from Louisiana and Arizona were my roommates. We hung out together and even went to Mardi Gras and Cancun.
For my next co-op block, I’m thinking of going back to AMD because I liked it so much, but I don’t want to rule out anything!
Job Title: College Student Tech Senior Specialist
State/ or Country: Maryland
Brief description of your job and responsibilities:
I worked inside corporate headquarters on technology strategy initiatives. I was able to support multiple VP’s by programming web crawlers to automate gathering data. Another initiative that I supported was University Research which deals with determining which schools and proposals to fund. It was fascinating to see how there are so many creative people doing research and what might be coming in the future.
How did you find the job?
I worked for Lockheed Martin last summer in their Owego, NY location. I was then moved to corporate headquarters for a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Tips or advice for students who will co-op for the first time?
I would say start looking early. You never know what might happen. I know lots of freshman that find internships and they then have some experience that makes them more valuable when they start competing against their classmates in the future. I would also say that you should make sure that the job is something that you will benefit from in future interviews in both skills and abilities. Show that you have the ability to be stretched and don’t be afraid to ask for more to do.
Through my studies and my co-op experience, I found out that I really liked chemistry, especially polymer science. It’s a huge part of our daily lives (think plastics). I co-oped at RIT’s National Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery, which is part of the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies. During this co-op, I invented a new process useful for industry and the environment. The process has been submitted for a patent.
I earned a diploma in polymer technology in my homeland of Pakistan and came to RIT to get my bachelor’s degree. I plan to get my master’s here, too. Then I want to work for a company like DuPont—that would be very interesting. My family has always run businesses. Someday, I’ll do that, too.
In the Center of the Action
New York, New York
The television medium fascinates Charles Clemens. A marketing major, he co-oped for ESPN in Manhattan. “This is a great experience,” he said via long distance after his first week on the job. “We took a trip to ESPN’s production facilities in Bristol, Connecticut, and watched the taping of the Sports Center program. These people are real professionals.” Although Clemens plans to become a lawyer, he sees his co-op experience as immensely valuable. “I get to try something new and challenging,” he says. “It couldn’t be better.”
RIT co-op students have worked all over the world, with large and small companies, collaborating with all types of people and employers love them! We want you, as a current co-op student, to share your experience. Planning on submitting a video, that is great too.
If you wish to write up something -- please include the following:
State/ or Country:
Brief description of your job and responsibilities:
- How did you find the job?
- Tips or advice for students who will co-op for the first time?
- How has co-op benefitted you?
- What is your favorite co-op memory and/or accomplishment?
Please include a photo of yourself at work if possible.
By submitting your co-op profile you have agreed to our use of it on our site and in publications like the co-op newsletter.
Email to Gretchen Burruto: email@example.com, Subject line: Co-op Profile