Students look to stand out with co-op internships
Many students are constantly searching for ways to stand out once they graduate and enter the job market. For many, that means working to get competitive internships and scrambling to find real-world experience.
But some students have already landed a full-time job, which they work for three semesters while still in school.
Four students are currently participating a co-op in Richmond, Virginia, at the chemical company DuPont.
Three of the participants said they all work on researching and testing Tyvek.
Tyvek is a water-resistant barrier that is put on houses while they are being built, chemical engineering junior Brendan Bates said.
After the students graduate, they will be guaranteed an interview at the company for a professional position, Ben Lambert, also a chemical engineering junior, said.
The students said they work every other semester and have been working at the company for about a month. Their first day was Jan. 12.
“It’s definitely a big adjustment, living like 600 miles away from home,” Lambert said.
Marissa Meaney, a mechanical engineering sophomore, said it was scary to move to a city where she didn’t know anyone.
Lambert said at first it was hard to adjust, but now he loves it and he likes work better than school.
Lambert said there are 17 students in total, four from MSU and the rest from Virginia Tech, Penn State and a few other universities.
“We’re like a close-knit group,” Lambert said.
Bates said all the students at the company have become friends and often hang out around the city on the weekends.
Bates said Virginia is a lot different than East Lansing, but Meaney said downtown Richmond is incorporated into a college campus, so the atmosphere reminds her of MSU.
Lambert and Bates said the company doesn’t provide housing, so they sublease an apartment from an MSU student who used to work with the company. Meaney lives with a current DuPont employee.
None of the students planned on doing a co-op when they came to MSU, but they applied, were hired, and decided to push back their schooling to do the co-op.
“It’s a pretty unique opportunity,” Lambert said.
“It’s an experience,” Meaney said, “If you’ve never had a full-time job, it’s nice to get a feel for how it is, then get a break for school.”
All three would recommend anyone who has the opportunity to do a co-op to take it, and Bates said he warns students not to turn down the opportunity just because they don’t want to take a few semesters off school.