Joy Olufemi's interest in engineering grew from a straightforward concept:
some structures occur naturally, and some are manufactured. When she grew
up and learned the difference between the two, she wanted to understand
better how we build these manufactured structures.
"I was fortunate that my mother saw this interest and helped cultivate it
by enrolling me in science camps during the summer break," she recalled.
This head start allowed Olufemi to realize that she wanted to study
mechanical engineering. "I chose my major in particular because it is one of
the broadest fields in engineering, and I want to be open to working in
With the co-op program, Olufemi has been able to try her hand at different
engineering positions. Her first co-op was at Stonefield Engineering and
Design, where she worked as a traffic engineer co-op. Her primary
responsibility was to evaluate the impact of a new project development on
the existing flow of road traffic. She enjoyed the experience but wanted to
learn more about a different area of engineering: building construction.
After returning to campus and taking classes where she learned about HVAC
systems, Olufemi’s desire for a job in building construction solidified.
For her current co-op, she searched for positions she knew would deal with
construction and landed a job at Ballinger as a plumbing engineer intern.
She has primarily been learning about plumbing codes, fixtures, drawing
pipes into floorplans, and the different kinds of systems that make up a
well-functioning plumbing system.
Olufemi has also had the opportunity to learn Autodesk Revit, a building
design software. She is looking forward to bringing that expertise back to
Overall, Olufemi said that the co-op experience has been an affirming
experience.“My jobs have trained me to be a more well-rounded engineer and
effective team member who can understand project requirements and meet
them,” she said. "They have also affirmed my choice of major. It's one
thing to know that mechanical engineering is a broad field; it's another to
experience it first-hand.”