Recent graduate in electrical engineering named Alabama Association of Colleges and Employers Co-op Student of the Year

Published: Aug 15, 2023 8:00 AM

By Joe McAdory

Jared Jones’ Auburn University Cooperative Education (Co-op) experience keeps paying dividends.

Jones, the university’s 2022 Frank Vandegrift Co-op Student of the year, was recently named the Alabama Association of Colleges and Employers (AACE) Co-Op Student of the Year for 2023. Jones, who graduated in May with a degree in electrical engineering, developed a proof-of-concept test device for sonar systems, debugged software on damaged units and more during his 2019-2021 co-op experience at Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics in Eufaula, Alabama.

“Receiving the award has been an incredible honor,” said Jones, now an electrical engineer in Dynetics’ product development department. “When I began co-oping, I never imagined that I would have been nominated for something like this, much less received it. I am thankful to Johnson Outdoors for providing a great co-op experience, and for those who mentored me while I was there. Their desire to help me be successful has gone beyond just the workplace as can be seen by their willingness to provide a recommendation letter for the award I received, and that means a lot. 

“I am also very thankful for Auburn and the co-op program. It is neat that the program is involved with organizations such as the Alabama Association of Colleges and Employers that seeks to recognize students.”

Auburn Engineering Co-op is a planned, supervised program that alternates semesters of full-time college classroom instruction with three semesters of full-time paid employment. Work assignments are closely related to students’ academic programs and designed to prepare students for their respective professional careers by combining academic training with practical work experience.

“I learned a lot from my classes at Auburn, and this knowledge, along with the hands-on practical experience from co-oping, prepared me well,” Jones said. “It was beneficial that I was able to return to the same company for each co-op rotation. After one rotation, there was a familiarity on both sides, and I knew what to expect coming back for my second rotation. I already knew the people and was familiar with the projects that were going on. My supervisors already knew my skill set and knew what projects I could jump in on. 

“I recommend, to any student, that they should get at least one or two semesters of job experience in their chosen career field, whether that be from co-oping, interning or doing research. Employers really want students with experience. My co-op experience was one of the reasons why I have my current job. They were impressed by my resume, and what I learned while co-oping helped me to answer engineering application questions that I was asked during the interview.” 

Students interested in the college’s co-op program, which features more than 100 recruiting companies and an average salary of $20.86/hour, are encouraged to schedule an appointment with co-op coordinators via Handshake or contact Edie Irvin, assistant director for cooperative education and internships, at

Media Contact: Joe McAdory,, 334.844.3447
Jared Jones is now an electrical engineer in Dynetics’ product development department in Huntsville, Alabama.

Jared Jones is now an electrical engineer in Dynetics’ product development department in Huntsville, Alabama.

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