Co-op Program - Our Crown Jewel
Joseph Hasekamp (EE, '11) had his car packed and was ready to leave for his co-op assignment with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., before he realized he wasn't quite sure what his role as part of a Systems Engineering team would be.
"I knew what project I was going to be part of, but I wasn't quite sure what it meant to be a Systems Engineer," he says.
Undaunted, he headed to his new assignment. Over several months he planned and executed testing on different mechanical components in electrical, thermal, and mechanical environments. Those tests included wide band electromagnetic shielding effectiveness testing, impact tests into water using a large diameter air gun, and thermal testing of a newly designed assembly.
"I learned that a Systems Engineer is a mix between a project manager and a technical engineer such as an Electrical or Mechanical Engineer," he says.
With the experience under his belt, Hasekamp recognizes the mentorship that he received on the job as imperative to his skill development.
"I needed to improve my written and oral communication skills and learn how to lead a team to be effective and detailed," he says."Through the guidance of mentors in my department I learned how to take control of a meeting and steer the conversation to a productive outcome while still learning from the expertise that the senior members of the team had to offer."
Pacific Engineering and Computer Science students continue to garner real-world experience through our co-op program. As noted by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Computer Science, our co-op program is the "crown jewel" of the school. Students relate their classroom theory to professional practice, increasing their confidence, motivation, and professional maturity. The program benefits industry partners by providing a long-term recruitment vehicle with access to a valuable short-term source of talent, continued connectedness with the university, and a constant infusion of the latest technology into their companies.