Joylin Jeffries, a fourth year mechanical engineering student, has won first place in the Steinbright Co-op Photo Contest in the “Play” category for her photo, Scuba Diving. The photo was taken this past November, on a family Thanksgiving vacation that came during a break from her most recent co-op.
The six months away from campus weren’t all fun and games, though. Jeffries’ co-op was at Mott Watkins Associates, LLC, a civil engineering firm in her hometown of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. Jeffries felt that choosing a co-op outside of her major helped her see engineering from a different perspective.
“Even though my major is mechanical engineering, I still enjoyed my time and was able to apply my CAD and drafting skills,” she says. “I also helped with other things like permits, technical specifications, bid forms, and client invoices. I also got to witness the relationship between our firm and the local politicians (civil engineering is oddly political, believe it or not!) and our relationship with different contractors.”
Even while on vacation, Jeffries was thinking about engineering.
“The break from co-op gave me a sense of the real-world work environment because it allowed me to see the civil infrastructure in another, less developed country,” she said. “I think what stood out to me the most was how their roadways compared to ours. It made me wonder what their civil engineers were like, what their standards were, and if they had a strict code like we do here in America. This all made me think about possibly reaching out to engineers in other countries to learn their practices.”
Looking back on her co-op experience, Jeffries feels very accomplished. “Overall, the experience was very positive! I got to flex my AutoCAD muscles and learn more about what it takes to be the engineers on major construction projects.”
Congratulations again to Joylin Jeffries for taking first place!