CTAAE faculty help students find co-ops during COVID-19

aubrey-kremer-web

BGSU tech students secure co-ops and applied learning opportunities

By Andrew Addessi ’20

Setbacks are often inevitable and common, but more remarkable is the individuals that find ways to come back stronger.

For many Bowling Green State University students in the College of Technology Architecture and Applied Engineering (CTAAE), they found their co-ops canceled or retracted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but through determination and support from faculty they found new ways to secure opportunities to stay on track.

“Quite a few students found ways to overcome these obstacles,” said Melissa Partin-Harding, associate director of BGSU’s Cooperative Education Program. “They should be proud of their persistence.”

One of the students hit particularly hard was Aubrey Kremer, a senior at BGSU majoring in Visual Communication Technology (VCT). Her first co-op had to back out due to COVID. The same day she got the news, Kremer was already searching for another opportunity. After a second co-op fell through, she was finally able to find success with the third.

“After losing two co-ops in a span of a few months, I felt defeated,” Kremer said. “BGSU supported me by providing assistance when I needed it the most. I would communicate with the co-op office and they would keep my spirits up. It may be simple but hearing that they were proud of me meant so much.”

While Kremer and her support system found ways to keep her morale high in her search, other students had an even more difficult road to navigate. With so many students suddenly needing to find new avenues, CTAAE faculty including Dr. Donna Trautman, associate professor in CTAAE, stepped up to help.

Students are being offered TECH 4950 as a co-op substitute. The course aims to provide these students with the same skills and experience they would get through a company or organization by conducting a technical research project

“We didn’t want the pandemic to dictate if students stayed on track or not,” Trautman said. “Success is when students graduate and acquire jobs that lead to great careers.”

Kacie Kueser is a fourth-year VCT major enrolled in TECH 4950. She had secured an internship before the virus, which was canceled. With deadlines for applications approaching quickly, she was grateful to be placed in TECH 4950.

“It gives us an experience similar to what we would be doing for a co-op, but with our own control and freedom,” Kueser said. “I am also hoping to create some elements that could be utilized in my portfolio as well to help me secure further co-op and job opportunities.”

Whether its pushing to secure alternate co-ops or having support from the CTAAE faculty, students like Kremer and Kueser are finding ways to succeed despite setbacks.

“We put a huge emphasis on connecting theory with practice,” Partin-Harding said. “We want students to participate in opportunities, that will help them develop their skills, leading to education and career success.”