Michael T Cyb

Company: The Dow Chemical Company
Company URL: http://www.dow.com/
School: Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Carmel, IN
High School: Carmel High School, 2004
Expected Graduation: May 2009

The first time Michael was exposed to Purdue University was during the summer of 2003 in the STEP (Seminar for Top Engineering Prospects) program. According to Michael, "My hometown is 60 miles from campus; this short distance facilitated many campus visits both during the summer and the regular school session. My senior year, I committed to Purdue because of the balance it provides between academic rigor and extracurricular student activities.

I was accepted to the Co-Op program in January 2005. My father was a Co-Op during his undergraduate studies at Kettering University (formerly known as GMI), so I knew first-hand about some of the advantages being a Co-Op would provide later. I accepted my Co-Op offer from The Dow Chemical Company because they offered me a chance to "show my stuff" in the real world and offered me a competitive salary to work in Houston, TX.

The Dow Chemical Company is the largest chemical company in North America, if not the world. They manufacture everything from Styrofoam used to insulate homes to polyurethane coatings used to paint cars. One of the great things about Dow is that they find an apartment for you at the work site and subsidize the rent. The projects are tailored to your skill set; realistic goals to complete are set out at the beginning of the term. A challenge I have faced is writing a computer program to read text data from files and generate interactive charts that are fool-proof and can be edited with the push of a button.

Being a Co-Op student has taught me how to live 1200 miles from home and to support myself entirely off my earnings from work. I know that I can be moved anywhere and not worry about who my roommate will be or whether I have friends in the area. Also, the Co-Op program has showed me what engineers do in the "real world" (outside Purdue). I have learned to effectively communicate my ideas to people in several different job roles."