starter projects for co-ops (and later opened up suggestions to Medela’s whole engineering department.) The first co-op semester would involve a great deal of training for the student, but the intention would be to match students with projects they could begin in one term and return to once they’re back at the company for the next term. As a mentor to the co-ops, Loeffel can trouble-shoot along the way. Just a few weeks into his first semester at Medela, MU co-op Shane Einloth, Eng ’16, honed in on the advantages of co-oping. But the biomechanical engineering major also admits settling into the process has been “kind of a shock,” albeit a pleasant one. Before he can launch into design work, Einloth learned “there is paperwork and approvals to get in order to achieve a simple task.” It’s this progression from rudimentary steps to project fruition that separates the office from the classroom. “The simulated project walkthroughs from freshman year were indescribably amplified,” he says.
two, they move to Manufacturing and Process Engineering, where they learn how products are made. The third semester places them in one of four Design and Engineering Teams, where they descend into design and problem resolution. The final semester gives co-ops the chance to select a new engineering department or revisit an area of their choosing.
compete for co-op positions within their field, whatever their major: civil, mechanical, biomedical, computer, construction, environmental, and electrical engineering. STRATTEC Security Corporation, a leading maker of automotive locks, keys, push-button starts and other accessories, operates one of the largest co-op programs, with 11 currently active Marquette students. It’s also highly structured, explains product engineer and former co-op coordinator Gregor Germana, Eng ’08 , Grad ’13. (Germana was himself a STRATTEC co-op as an undergraduate.) Co-ops spend their first term performing tests and compiling reports in the Testing and Rapid Prototyping Division Center. In semester
Back at Medela, Loeffel also sees long-term potential for the new co-op program to “test-run” potential new grad hires. But it’s not too soon to see other benefits of the new relationship with Marquette. Medela engineers are having co-ops revive projects that have been on project lists for some time, but have been pushed aside in favor of day-to-day work, says Loeffel. “Co-ops are great for projects like this because they are young and completely unbiased in the ways of the engineering world. That mentality allows them to quickly adapt and ask questions that may be overlooked by someone who has more experience and may make assumptions.”
Ultimately, one of the biggest benefits — for both company and co-op — is potential job placement after graduation. “We look at co-oping as a training program. (Co-ops) are already integrated in our culture and trained in our processes,” observes Germana.
At Waukesha-based HUSCO International, Pat Masterson, Eng ’98, is highly involved with the co-op engineering program. That’s more than 15 years after he was a co-op with Milwaukee’s Briggs & Stratton. Masterson also sits on an industry advisory board of the College of As Medela’s first engineering co-op, Engineering. He says HUSCO — Einloth appreciates the role Marquette which makes hydraulic controls Feeling grateful for her co-op experience at plays in bringing about this real-world Baxter Healthcare, Loeffel wanted Medela to for construction, agricultural and play a similar role in students’ lives. experience and the responsibility it automotive vehicles — sees its places on students like him. “If we [the co-op program as a crucial way to groom engineers co-ops] work to a standard, the company will know for careers in the industry. Six Marquette engineering what they can receive from an MU student.” students are currently in HUSCO’s program and 13 alumni work there full time. Every engineering major at Marquette has the opportunity to
Become a co-op partner Marquette partners with more than 100 leading international and local engineering and technology firms to support its co-op program, whose proud tradition extends back to its founding in 1919 as one of the first such programs in the country. Every year, more than 250 students gain valuable experience and mentorship while working alongside seasoned engineers. Students and employers commit to a two-year relationship during which students work at least three, full-time terms and complete required coursework during opposite terms. To learn how you or your company can benefit from being a co-op partner, contact Laura Lindemann at (414) 288-5698 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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