Auburn Family

Co-Oping: A Senior's Story On Why It's a Must

Chris Bright, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering spent three semesters as a co-op at Mercedes-Benz in Vance, Alabama. There, he gained invaluable and practical hands-on experience in his desired field of study, which created the perfect stepping stone to further his education and career in engineering. Bright's incredible experience as an Auburn co-op has inspired him to encourage students to become a part of this worthy program. 

How it Started

Bright's passion for hands-on work and engineering has always been prevalent, but his biggest issue was figuring out how to incorporate his academic knowledge with on-the-job experience for a stellar resume. "Past co-op students would come around to some of my engineering classes and would talk about their positive experiences, that made me want to give it a try," Bright said. From there, Bright's interest was sparked.  After a few interviews and research, he made the commitment to co-op at Mercedes-Benz. For students that don't have guest co-op speakers, he suggests that they visit the Auburn Co-Op website for more information about how to get involved. 

His Experience

As a co-op at Mercedes-Benz, Bright experienced what life as an engineer is like outside of the classroom. To gain the largest variety of skills and training, each semester Bright had the opportunity to work in a different part of the plant. Not only was hands-on engineering experience an important aspect of his co-op, but Bright also values the connections and friendships he made. "The best part of my experience was establishing great connections, meeting people and mentors," Bright said. 

Why Students Should Get Involved

It's no doubt that Bright's personal success with the Auburn co-op program has prompted him to encourage students to get involved. From networking opportunities, creating contacts and having inspirational mentors, Bright believes that his experience as a co-op has prepared him for the real world. 

"I think students will gain valuable work experience that's out of the classroom, create wonderful memories and friendships," Bright said. "It also gives students a break from a semester and creates great references for future job opportunities."

For students interested in learning more about co-oping, visit AU Co-Op Program.

(Photos Used with Permission from Chris Bright)

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