Megan Thomas

Author: Megan Thomas
Company: HNTB Corporation (Indianapolis)
Company URL: http://www.hntb.com/careers
School: College of Engineering, Civil Engineering
Hometown: Vallonia, Indiana
High School: Brownstown Central High School, 2005
Expected Graduation: December 2010, BS Civil Engineering

Once I decided on engineering as my major of choice, Purdue's reputation made the university the next logical decision.  A family friend was graduating from Purdue as I was getting prepared to begin my college career.  This friend was a Co-Op and from speaking with him, I knew that one of my goals throughout my first year at Purdue would be to secure a position with the Cooperative Education Program.

After my first semester at Purdue, the idea of alternating full time school with full time work sessions sounded increasingly appealing.  The Cooperative Education Program provides real world experience that can only be gained by immersion in the work force, which couples nicely with the education attained at Purdue.   

Through the Co-Op Program, I was able to gain a position with HNTB Corporation at their Indianapolis location.  HNTB was founded in 1914 as a railroad bridge design firm and has grown to encompass many disciplines within civil engineering and has office locations nationwide.  At the Indianapolis location, I work within the Water Services division.  From my first work-session, I was provided quality work projects and my responsibilities have grown as I have gained classroom experience.  HNTB has allowed me to pursue different aspects of the work they do to further my interests.  I have taken numerous trips to the field with different professionals which allowed me to gain a hands-on, visual understanding of the projects I have been able to work on.        

My decision to join the Cooperative Education Program was my single most important college decision.  By choosing to become a Co-Op I gained more from my education, had a way in which to supplement my college funding, and provided myself a welcome change from full time college classes.  As a Co-Op you understand how the subjects you tackle in the classroom translate into the workplace.  Seeing the application of my classes fueled my desire to be knowledgeable about the subject matter when I returned to Purdue.  The pay I received while I was on work-term was very advantageous in funding my work and school sessions.  Another added benefit from the Co-Op program is having your nights and weekends free without the concern of homework, projects and exams to worry about while you are on your work-session.