The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Nancy Brown, industrial engineering specialty

Co-op Experience Lights Up Career for Engineering Student

Industrial engineering student Nancy Brown is one senior who is not worried about her career choices after graduation. This summer she will enter General Electric’s Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP) for two years, an offer made following her positive cooperative education experience with GE in Louisville, Kentucky, last summer. Following the two-year program, Brown will be hired at the Louisville location, headquarters for G.E. Consumer Products.

“I will enter the OMLP in July, and every six months I will be moving to different divisions such as lighting or appliances, all under the umbrella of G.E. Consumer Products. I could be living in any number of locations in the Midwest or the South. I am very excited about the opportunity to have this broad learning experience,” Brown said.

Brown’s work at GE last summer paid off in a number of ways. Not only was she named the recipient of GE’s national Student Intern/Co-op Contribution Award and presented with $500, a plaque and a personal letter from Jim Campbell, GECP CPO, the plant manager surprised her with a $500 management bonus at the end of her term. Brown says she was well-prepared for co-op through classes taught by UTC faculty such as Dr. Neslihan Alp, Dr. Cecilia Wigal, and Rick Keyser.

“Technical problem solving is the basis of all UTC engineering classes. I was able to easily relate the problem solving skills I learned in my classes to many of the day-to-day issues I was faced with at GE during my co-op terms. Also, communication and public speaking is stressed throughout our curriculum, which was very beneficial,” Brown said.

Hugh Prevost, UTC Director of Cooperative Education loves to see everything come together for co-op students. “That is what co-op is all about: a great work experience to challenge the students with first-hand experience in their major, preparing them for the ‘real work world,’" Prevost said.

Brown believes the cooperative education experience is essential for a college student’s future.

“I definitely advise all students to get involved in UTC’s co-op program. Actually, I think it should be mandatory for engineering students,” Brown said. “You can never understand the benefits of incorporating work with school until you’ve experienced it. Not only does it build confidence and give you an edge over those students who have not participated in the program, but it makes your classes so much more enjoyable when you can relate the concepts you’re learning to your past work experience. Also, it is so much easier to find a post-graduate job when a company has already spent the past few years investing in you, and ultimately, that is the goal.”