Co-op experience builds confidence and career in construction


Like most students, Yasimin Kelly from BGSU’s College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering was preparing herself for life after graduation to ensure that she had enough experience to get a job. After participating in a construction management co-op, Kelly succeeded in landing that job before graduation.

The professors especially were extremely helpful, and being part of the program felt like being part of a new family.

After graduating in December, Kelly will be moving to Washington, DC to work for Baker Concrete as a project field engineer, a position she was able to gain thanks to the college and construction management co-op program. There, she will be assisting the project manager and superintendent with field tasks while helping with engineering layouts.

As part of the college program, students are required to seek two to three co-op experiences that put their degree to work and help prepare them for a job following graduation from their respective program. Kelly found that this was one of the most beneficial experiences that contributed to her new career. “Construction companies look to hire people who have experience,” Kelly said. “In the co-op program, I was required to go out and look for a job in my major, which allowed me to get the experience I needed.”

The co-op experience also provided Kelly with the invaluable opportunity to see what kind of construction industry she wanted work for. As a result, she was able to build a relationship with a company of her liking, which helped her land a position with Baker Concrete.

“My experience in the construction management program was not without challenges, but also extremely rewarding,” Kelly said, “Especially with being one of the few females in the program.”

Construction is a male-dominant career, and females that enter the profession need to be confident in their skills and strive for the position they want. “I had to prove that I was able to do any task that men can do in the field,” Kelly said, “But once I proved myself, I started to be seen as one of the many leaders in the construction management program.”

Aside from proving herself in the field, Kelly also had to force herself out of her comfort zone while learning how to become more independent. “I needed to learn how to keep pushing no matter how rough my classes or work became,” Kelly said. “I had to learn how to manage my time, classes and work in a way that fit best for me.”

Kelly says that what she will miss the most is all the friends and connections she made in the college and construction management program. “One of the best things about my experience was how close all the students and professors are,” Kelly said, “The professors especially were extremely helpful, and being part of the program felt like being part of a new family.”

Updated: 02/01/2021 11:04AM