A Day in the Life of a Co-op

Molly Cuka
Molly Cuka spoke at the Engineering Leader of the Year award ceremony.

With this standing feature, the College of Engineering highlights the cooperative program, in which students fulfill six-month internships in fields of their own choosing to gain experience and to see how they like the work. But what exactly is that work? What does a co-op do all day? What are the tasks assigned? And what time is lunch? With these questions in mind, CoE publishes the third installment of A Day in the Life of a Co-op. We introduce Molly Cuka, whose co-op with Boeing ran from September 2017 to this past March. She is still working part-time for the company.

Name: Molly Cuka
Class: 2019, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, BS; minor in business
Co-op: Boeing Company, Philadelphia, PA
Work Performed: V-22 Osprey program, Reliability & Maintainability Engineer

5:30 a.m. Catch a trolley in the Spruce Hill neighborhood, and then a bus, to get to work.
7 a.m. Start the work day; coffee, emails; work on projects involving, for example, information on trending parts.
8:30 a.m. Daily meeting with entire R&M staff to go over tasks, projects, who’s working on what; use the meeting as a way to determine where to be of assistance elsewhere in the V-22 group.
10 a.m. Meet with a component supplier to talk about testing, manufacturing and general updates. On occasion, visit a supplier site; strengthen relationships with suppliers.
11:30 a.m. Lunch; participate in Boeing “Lunch & Learn,” in which employees discuss their work. Subjects range from 3D printing to non-destructive testing, among others.
1 p.m. Work on a project; for instance, centralizing the location of the V-22 program’s block diagrams and schematics; renaming and loading files into an Access database via script.

Or, write up investigation reports based on supplier visits and conversations; summarize testing on units, and write up background and history for each.

Or, update investigation-related documents on testing instructions and procedures.
3:30 p.m. Check in with supervisor prior to end of day
4 p.m. Leave work; take bus to airport and then train back to Drexel campus for night class.

TAKEAWAY: “I really loved my co-op. I loved it for three reasons. One, I got to apply stuff I had already learned in school. Two, I got to learn stuff I’d never learn in school. Three, I figured out that I definitely want to work in this field. It was nice to get that kind of confirmation after wandering around in majors for a while, because when I first came to Drexel I was a business major.

“I cannot even express how great the co-op program is. It allowed me to try careers before I actually graduated. I have two younger brothers and one of them is going to a school with a co-op because I told him, this is incredibly valuable to your career; it’ll set you up so much better for when you leave compared to a traditional four-year program. The Boeing co-op was awesome. The work is great. The company’s awesome.”