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March 01, 2024
4 minutes to read  

The Experience Of An East West Engineering Co-op

Current Georgia Tech student and engineering co-op participant, Charlotte Meyers, shares below how her experience at East West has benefitted her growth as an engineer and has provided hands-on educational opportunities that will prepare her for a successful career after graduation.

When I first received my offer for a Co-op position, I hesitated for a moment. Thinking back to all the cliché intern stories I had heard from my peers: going on coffee runs, editing excel sheets, or working on a small piece of a project they would never see actualized. However, on my first day at East West all my worries relieved, I knew this would not be another typical intern story. After my first week, I had a completely new understanding of what being a professional engineer looked like. Every day was a new learning opportunity that complimented the work I was doing in my academics.  

Charlotte Blog 1I spent my first working semester gaining more information than I initially knew what to do with: CAD skills, design for manufacturing, prototyping, testing, and implementing creative solutions - to name a few. I was constantly working on multiple different projects, each exercising a different skill. For each task, I was given the space to try, fail, and adjust. I cemented all the problem-solving skills I was gaining along the way through learning by trial and working with my hands. By the end of my first semester, I had worked on drawings that would be implemented in production. In addition, I generated innovative ideas based on test results that transformed the next prototype revision. Finally, I utilized modeling skills to perform root cause analysis for product longevity. A prime example was proving factures were not caused by stress induced from thermal expansion of dissimilar materials. Highlighting the overlap between my Deformable Bodies’ lectures and real-world applications. All the work I had done was not only meaningful to their respective projects, but required advanced skills beyond the classroom.  


Now that I am midway through my second semester working, I am stepping into a more autonomous position.  I have more responsibility on the projects I was previously working on. For example, a project I worked on heavily the last semester involved some minor testing and small design iterations. Now on the same project, I have been able to help carry over to the mass production phase. Readying a project for production includes building prototype units, writing assembly instructions, and providing guidance on tooling changes. Because of projects like this, I can safely say the responsibilities I am given within my role at East West greatly surpass that of my peers working for other organizations. Not only did my range of responsibility grow through my second semester, so did my confidence as a young professional, all credited to these opportunities. 


The task of picking a company or a role to start your professional career through is daunting, especially to students still pursuing their academic career alongside. Remember, the experience is what you make of it, regardless of what you choose. However, I would strongly recommend a co-op program to anyone, despite your hesitations. Working multiple semesters with a single company allows for growth within your role as you return. Working while still advancing through your academic schedule brings school to life. In every class I can clearly see where this lesson would be applicable in a professional sense. Additionally, I can call on knowledge gained outside of the classroom to aid my success in classes. My co-op has made me a better professional, a better student, and a natural learner. And, while my opinion is certainly biased, a co-op with East West does all of this and more.  


I have enjoyed my experience so much, I decided to add two more working semesters (from the original three) before I graduate. I am very thankful to work for an organization where being an “intern” does not mean coffee runs or excel spreadsheets (although I do use excel to model engineering challenges). It means getting guidance from engineers with years of experience. It also means getting opportunities to showcase my growth and receive recognition and responsibility. While my day to day changes every week, I can always count on each day being a new opportunity to learn and develop.  

To Learn More About the East West Engineering Co-op Program: https://www.ewmfg.com/students/