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College of Engineering / CDCR / Cooperative Education Program / Co-op Ambassador Program


Co-op Ambassador Program

Join our team of Co-op Ambassadors! The Co-op Ambassadors are a group of student leaders devoted to outreach and programming to increase awareness of the Co-op program and encourages undergraduate participation. Co-op ambassadors are upperclassmen who have successfully completed 2+ co-op terms, demonstrate leadership on campus and at their respective workplaces, and those who want to positively impact the campus community at large.

 

Here are some testimonials from our 2020-2021 Co-op Ambassadors from their work-school rotations.


James Craig, Building Science at Holder Construction
"Being a co-op student has a litany of advantages. For one, co-op students' work experience sets them apart when it comes time to find a full-time position at a company. And further, co-op students have the opportunity to begin saving for adulthood before graduation. More than these, though, I believe that the life experience gained from co-op was the most valuable thing about it. During your co-op sessions, your employers constantly evaluate you and how well you might fit in as a full-time employee. Auburn's Co-op program requires a SkillSurvey evaluation at the end of each work semester. Through these surveys, discussions with my supervisors, and a conscious effort to work on my weaknesses between work terms, I felt that I had ample time and feedback to make significant improvements between work terms. By using the tools made available to me by the Auburn Co-op program, which nurtures an attitude of relentless improvement and development, I feel I will have come out of the Auburn Building Science program a much more mature, capable, and prepared individual than I would have otherwise."


Grace Allen, Industrial and Systems Engineering at Southern Company
"I have benefited in numerous ways from my co-op experience. One main way I have benefited is that I have set myself up for having a job offer before I even graduate college. During my co-op, I have been treated as an actual engineer, and my company has always put forth the effort to train me as such. Because of this, I have already gained real-life work experience which has definitely prepared me for the future as an engineer. Another way I have benefited from this experience is that my network of people I know has expanded. Southern Company is a big company, and during my co-op, I not only gained experience in my own department but I also have been given opportunities to network with other engineers and co-op students that have different jobs within the company."


Nicholas Palmeiro, Mechanical Engineering at WestRock Demopolis
"The 2 ways that I've benefited most from my Co-op experience so far is being able to grasp abstract concepts better and learning about what an engineer does that we don't learn in the classroom. At WestRock Papermill in Demopolis, AL, we use pumps all over the mill to move water, pulp, and other liquids from where it is produced to where it is used in the papermaking process. Learning about how these pumps work in the field helped me when we learned about pumps in Thermodynamics. Instead of it being a concept that I only knew on paper, I was able to better visualize the idea because I had seen them actually function in the field. Learning about what real-world engineers do is also beneficial. We learn concepts and equations in class, but a lot of what engineers really do is to work with other people. At my Co-op, I've had the opportunity to run construction crews, plan out work schedules, and work with vendors to source equipment. These are skills that I would not be able to learn through a book, and I believe that this skillset will give me a boost when I graduate compared to other graduates who have not done a Co-op."


DuBray McNeal, Electrical Engineering at Southern Company
"I have benefited from the program in multiple ways. One I touched on in my previous answer of establishing connections and allowing for a longer interview process. Even after my rotations have ended I am still in contact with multiple full time employees from the company who have been more than happy to assist me with anything I may be unsure about it. They understand where I am in life because it is something they’ve all had to experience themselves so having their knowledge and expertise to guide me has improved my professional, educational and social development rapidly. It has also given me an insight into the professional business world. Everybody is nervous when entering an unfamiliar situation but being able to work through those nerves now while currently in college has made it so I will not have to revisit those nerves post-graduation when starting my first job. It has taught me how to personally navigate the stress that is a byproduct of working a full-time job. The most important this I did learn during my experience that I also brought back to campus with me, is the need to seek out what you want and not waiting on others to deliver you the change you want to see in yourself. If you feel that your development is being stifled performing a certain task or staying on a certain path then you should speak up and make it known that you feel this is not benefiting you. I am now able to take charge of myself without a feeling of guilt. My co-op work experience has given me the best set of starting tools to make sure that my career post-graduation is tailored perfectly to the engineer that I want to become."


Justin Tran, Electrical and Computer Engineering at Southern Company Georgia Power
"I've been able to gain invaluable work experience from my co-op that augments my understanding of my computer engineering major. It's amazing how I was able to go into my co-op immediately after my first year of school in the summer, and the vast amount of information I took in at the time. Upon returning to class the following fall for my electrical engineering classes, I wasn't surprised that I already learned a good amount of information just from my co-op. Moreover, I was able to use my in-class experience from my software classes and apply them in the real world to facilitate the work of my co-workers in a professional environment. These two things: being able to take information from class and use it in the real world, and taking professional work/skills from my co-op back to the classroom are the core of my co-op experience, and I wouldn't trade anything for it. Lastly, the networking opportunities that I've had with my managers and co-workers speak volumes, as most of my team at my company were, in fact, co-ops themselves. These relationships will undoubtedly be beneficial in the future, especially since I'm looking forward to working for Southern Company in the future."


Josh Holland, Chemical Engineering at Envent
"Two years ago when I transferred to Auburn I never would have thought that I would be in the position that I am in today. But because of Auburn and the amazing Co-op program, I was able to experience and participate in things that I never thought I would be able to. Before entering the Co-op program, I was really only worried about obtaining my degree and then getting a well-paying job after graduation. I had no idea what you needed to truly succeed in the engineering field, I just wanted to put my head down and get my degree. Through the Co-op experience, I have seen how important practical experience is in the engineering field. I have been told countless times by people in the industry that experience is how you get a job. Without the Co-op program, I never would have been provided the resources to obtain this very important work experience. The Co-op program has also allowed me to travel to places I never would have gotten to travel to. I have always been infatuated with the Oil & Gas Industry and through the Co-op program, I have been able to travel to different Oil & Gas facilities throughout the United States and see what it's like to work in these amazing facilities. I was also able to see the concepts that I have studied in school applied in these facilities, which was one of the most rewarding things about working as a Co-op. But most importantly to me, the Co-op program has also allowed me to build relationships with people, both at work and at school that I never would have met if not for the Co-op program. While a work I was able to form relationships with the people I worked with on a daily basis. Forming this relationship made me realize how valuable relationships are in a professional environment. If you take a genuine interest in others you build a mutual trust with that person, making them much more susceptible to cooperate with you and help you get your work done. This is something I never would have realized if I did not work a Co-op. I have also formed unique friendships with other Co-op students through like experiences. Since many of the students who Co-op are around campus and in my classes at the same time as me, I have been able to form a group of friends who have the same academic and professional goals, and most importantly I know they want me to succeed. The people I have met, the professional and engineering skills that I have developed, and the lessons that I have learned will all carry over into my future professional and personal lives. These have all shaped me into the person that I am today and that would not have been possible if not for Auburn's Co-op Program."


Johnny Leara, Electrical Engineering at Southern Company Alabama Power
"My co-op experience has provided me many skills that I will take into my career. I've participated in countless meetings, conference calls, and town halls. These three things have given me communication skills, confidence, and experience working with coworkers. The projects and material I have worked on correspond with the material taught in the classes I have taken. It's really neat to see how my classes directly related to the power industry and my co-op position. I have also participated in the Southern Company co-op/intern representative program called the Students of Southern Company. This organization is built for the co-ops by the co-ops to enhance our skills in the workplace, learn more about the company, and network with other fellow co-ops. I have served as secretary and treasurer over my first two work terms. In my last rotation in the fall of 2020, I will serve as president. As president, I will be in charge of making sure all meetings, plant tours, and social events run smoothly. I have gained more experience from my co-op work terms than I originally thought, and I would love to share my knowledge with future prospects."


Caroline Allen, Industrial and Systems Engineering at Delta Air Lines, Delta TechOps
"I have grown from my co-op experience in so many different realms. One of the main ways I think all students can benefit is by learning how to work and approach corporate culture. The little things such as meeting etiquette, communicating effectively in-person and via email, as well as working with different business units and types of people are skills you can’t learn in the classroom, and having 1+ years of experience under your belt before graduation is not only something that will set you apart when applying for full-time jobs, but that will better prepare you once you start your first full-time job. Another way all students benefit from co-op programs is through networking. My network expanded exponentially through my co-op. I was presented with the opportunity to network with my co-op peers, my specific department, employees of all ranks throughout the company, as well as with our corporate partners and customers. Co-ops also get fundamental industry insight that one cannot get without completing either a co-op or internship. Lastly, through my co-op with Delta Air Lines specifically, I benefited from being able to travel the world with my family and peers. I created memories inside and outside of the workplace with peers that I can now call great friends. For these reasons specifically, and many more, I would recommend co-oping."