Welcome to Co-Op
"Our mission is to
provide our students and employer partners individualized opportunities to
enhance success and opportunity in the workplace environment through relevant
and challenging assignments that will result in the graduation of excellent
engineers and scientists."
aren't many opportunities that can boast the advantages that cooperative
education can offer. What other program can offer you the chance to learn, earn,
and graduate with a higher starting salary, while maintaining status as a
full-time undergraduate or graduate student?
The University of Pittsburgh
is steeped in history and tradition, and our cooperative education program is no
exception. Founded as the third co-op program in the nation, Pitt's co-op
program flourished until the Great Depression caused its suspension in the early
1930s. In 1987, under the tutelage of Dean Charles Sorber, the program was
re-established for undergraduates. Today, almost half of Pitt's graduating
seniors participate in cooperative education.
We have also expanded to
allow participation from Pitt students in science-related fields, and we offer
the co-op opportunity to all of our regional campuses in engineering and
engineering technology. Recently, we implemented a co-op initiative for graduate
level engineering candidates.
Co-op offers students the chance to obtain
a full year's worth of work experience prior to graduation.
Gian-Gabriel Garcia named National Intern
Student of the Year!
Pitt Co-op's are again being recognized
nationally! Gian-Gabriel Garcia, our Co-op Student of the Year, won the 2014
National Intern of the Year Award through the Cooperative and Experiential
Education Division of the American Society of Engineering Education. Gian
completed three terms of co-op with Universal Electric, but also interned during
the summer of 2014 with Eaton in Horseheads, NY. It was for a combination of his
work experiences and contributions to the university that brought this honor to
Gian. Gian was presented with his award in February 2015 at the Conference for
Industry and Education Collaboration that was held in Palm Springs, California.
"I first chose to attend Pitt with intentions of transferring to
Carnegie Mellon University. However, by the time I finished my first semester, I
enjoyed my experience so much that I had no desire to transfer. I quickly found
that at Pitt, I had many opportunities to become involved on campus while
growing my skills as a budding engineer. One opportunity that has made a lasting
impact on my undergraduate experience is the co-op program.
I spent my
three co-op rotations at Universal Electric Corporation (UEC), a small
privately-owned company in Canonsburg, PA that manufactures customizable
power-distribution equipment. My first major contribution was in helping to
develop UEC's first-ever training programs, enabling UEC to achieve its goals in
work standardization and quality management. With a formal training program in
place, new production employees will enter the manufacturing floor with baseline
knowledge, reducing their dependence on others to do their job. My second major
contribution was in helping to develop a tool management program for three
departments resulting in $100,000 annual savings in labor cost. More
importantly, by developing an organized tool management system, I was able to
reduce frustration in workers who needed to search for the tools they need to
perform their jobs. My co-op experience allowed me to draw the connections
between the concepts I learned in class and their applications to real-world
Aside from participating in the co-op program, I
took advantage of many opportunities to become involved in the Industrial
Engineering (IE) Department and in student organizations. In the IE Department,
I performed research for 3 years and was an undergraduate teaching assistant for
2 separate courses. I also took part in many of the department's networking and
social events like the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) Annual Student
Chapter Night and Student-Faculty Dodgeball Game.
On campus, I was a
member and student leader in many organizations focused on mentoring and
supporting freshman engineers and underrepresented students in engineering.
These organizations include Pitt EXCEL, the Freshman Engineering Leadership
Team, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the National Society
of Black Engineers.
Beginning in the fall of 2015, I hope to begin a PhD
program in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. After receiving a
PhD, I want to be a university professor so I can have the opportunity to be
engaged as a researcher, educator, and mentor. I hope to take part in addressing
many open-ended global problems, especially in healthcare, while continuing my
efforts to inspire young minorities to become interested and excited about
"In all cases, Gian was able to leverage the people to get the
updates required for him to complete his assignment. It is rare to see that
someone so young is able to develop relationships and get assistance from people
who have their own responsibilities and deadlines. The other area of
responsibility within Gian's internship involved the processing of returned
material from our customers. While he was here, Gian worked on (6)
failure analysis which was above the agreed upon initial goal of (2). In the
process of doing these analysis, Gian took initiative and created a visual basic
tool that would further streamline the analysis process after he left. This was
completely unexpected and since his departure has continued to add value to my
quality organization in streamlining the process. Another area where Gian went
above and beyond was his involvement in a kaizen event to re-layout the RMA
area. Gian took on a leadership role and drove completion of all of the
improvement actions. Normally this would not fall within the scope of an interns
responsibilities, however, Gian seemed genuinely enthusiastic about his
ownership in the process and asked to drive it to completion. In conclusion, I
am happy to report that Gian completely exceeded expectations by going beyond
the agreed upon goals and has had a lasting impact upon my location. I'd
therefore consider him an excellent intern of the year award that he is
being nominated for." Steve Mayo, Quality Engineer with Eaton
Co-op Student of the Year Finalist:
Oren S. Lawit, Chemical
Engineering, Exxon Mobil
Co-op Student of the Year Honorable
Molly C. Finn, Bioengineering, Bayer Consumer Healthcare
Shane P. Kelleher, Mechanical Engineering, Mine Safety Appliances
Aaron M. Lenzi, Mechanical Engineering, Vocollect by Honeywell
Alexander R. Sieman, Electrical Engineering, General Electric Energy
Michael A. Sivak, Civil Engineering, Mascaro
Westinghouse named 2014 Co-op Employer of the
Joe Kennedy, Director of Talent Sourcing, accepts the Employer of the
Year award from Gerald D. Holder, PhD, US Steel Dean of Engineering.
first co-op began with Westinghouse in the Fall of 1998. Since then, 82
students have accepted co-op positions with Westinghouse, spanning several
degree areas. Many have gone to work full time with Westinghouse. Westinghouse
was chosen for the sustainability and true partnership they have shared with the
University of Pittsburgh. Another is the true commitment they have made to our
program. They continually stay true to the co-op concept for all of those
students they have hired. Our students enjoy meaningful work and thrive
professionally. Westinghouse has also been a strong partner not just to co-op ,
but to the entire Swanson School of Engineering.
Each year the
Cooperative Education Program solicits nominations for Outstanding Co-op
Employer from faculty and students.
Co-op and Study Abroad --- You Can Make It
- 96% retention rate to
- You will most likely see an increase in your grades; last
year's co-op graduates boasted a 3.22 average GPA!
- Co-op graduates
average almost $4,000 more in a starting salary than non-participants
- Most students complete the program and graduate in 4 ½ years
- Academic credit is earned and official transcripts are certified with co-op
- All co-op positions are paid
- Each student has a
faculty co-op advisor
You Own Your Future! And BEST of ALL:
The staff of the co-op office maintains an open door
policy each day. We offer resume assistance, mock interviews, and individual job
development. Our goal is to help you find your path to future success. Our
students work locally, nationally, and even internationally.
Where Pitt co-ops work!
This map shows
the location of Co-Op student employers. You can interact with the map to zoom
in and out, and move left to right, to view regional and national employer