Heavrin, Ison, and Rimpsey Shine

by Laura Merrill, Editor-in-Chief of Career Connection

As you learned in “What’s Up with Co-op?” there are many advantages to participating in co-op. Here are a few students who have reaped the benefits.

Robert Heavrin, a marketing student who graduated in 2005, is now a Licensing Coordinator for IMC Licensing. Tyler Ison, who is slated to graduate in spring 2007, has been offered a full-time position at Morgan Keegan, the investment firm where he did his internship. Chad Rimpsey (’06), a CIS major and starting football player, completed a year-long co-op at Colgate Palmolive in summer ’06 and was offered a full-time job upon graduation. These students agree that the co-op experience is essential for preparing you for the work world.

While co-op isn’t required for marketing students, Heavrin says he would have pursued a co-op whether he could get credit for it or not. “Getting credit is even better,” he said. More importantly, it prepared him for his work at IMC Licensing, where he participates in product development, coordinates with licensing and the manufacturer, and does some graphic design work. As Heavrin explained, IMC Licensing “takes a product like Life Savers® and comes up with other products that use that brand, like Life Savers® brand popsicles.”

One co-op wasn’t enough for Heavrin, who also landed co-ops at the United Way, Bisig Impact Group, and GE. Co-oping with these organizations helped prepare Heavrin for his job, but it also provided opportunities for networking and getting references from his co-op supervisors.

Co-op offers participating students the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to a real-world work situation. Ison, a finance major, was able to do just that. He applied what he learned in his honors CIS 300 course to his co-op job at Morgan Keegan. Ison created an Excel spreadsheet to streamline the work in his office, enabling staff to complete a project in two hours when it previously took a week to do the same thing.

Ison even found a class outside of his major helpful on the job. Marketing 301 taught Ison about the financial services industry, demographics, and how to dress for different clients. All in all, he says, co-op is just a good way to go. “You learn how to behave and how to dress, and you have role models who help you conduct yourself and talk professionally.” He added, “It’s difficult when you’re young to learn where you need to go and how you get there, but co-op has helped me find the steps needed to know how to get where I want to be.”

Majoring in CIS and playing football are difficult enough to do separately, but combine them, as Rimpsey did, and you’ve got a real challenge. But he rose to the occasion: While a starting defensive end for the Cardinal football team, he co-oped for Colgate Palmolive during his senior year. Rimpsey was offered a full-time position when he graduated from U of L. Although he chose not to move when the company relocated, he believes he learned valuable lessons on the job.

So, what would these students say to someone who’s debating about participating in co-op? Just do it! “Go into it wanting to learn—not with the mindset that it’s a requirement and that you have to get paid,” says Rimpsey.

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