My First Week of Co-op

Well, after a very demanding 20-credit winter quarter, the moment I anticipated since applying to Drexel finally arrived — my first day of co-op. After a much needed spring break spent with friends, I was very eager to begin my first of three co-ops. Having been in classes for over a year, walking into the Jacobs engineering office on Monday morning was almost a surreal experience. While this is not my first time working at an engineering firm (I interned at a Civil Engineering firm in Seattle during the summer after my freshman year), it definitely felt exciting to walk into a building that I will be spending the next six months working at.

I actually have the ability to contribute to a real company and get a glimpse of what the future may hold, which is truly an extraordinary opportunity

After I was introduced to my team and set up my desk, it began to become real to me that I actually have the ability to contribute to a real company and get a glimpse of what the future may hold, which is truly an extraordinary opportunity.

While the first few days were slow, work has really been picking up. Although I’m only in my second week of work, I already have multiple projects I am working on simultaneously. The major project I am working on is creating an interchange between Interstate 95 (I-95) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This multi-phased, multi-million dollar project has been ongoing for over fifteen years and is actually the last highway project in the country to be financed under the Federal-highway act of 1956. In short, when I-95 was created, it was intended to be a superhighway that ran continuously from Florida to Maine. However, residents of Princeton and New Brunswick, N.J. did not want a freeway running through their counties, and thus, the highway was made discontinuous; there is a “missing link” in I-95 between New York City and Philadelphia. Additionally, there is no interchange between the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276) and I-95, one of the only instances in the country in which two interstate highways intersect without an interchange. This is the project that I will primarily work on throughout my co-op here at Jacobs Engineering and I have already learned so much about Transportation Engineering in the week I have been here.

I have quickly realized that even though the theory behind engineering is incredibly important, there is an immeasurable value in having practical skills in your particular field by graduation, something that Drexel clearly recognizes and addresses through the co-op program. While it’s only been a week, I’ve truly enjoyed my time as a working man, and I am very eager to continue learning both technical and practical skills through my time at Jacobs.