Rich Chiesa

Company: BP
Company URL: http://www.bp.com/
School: Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Madison, WI
High School: Madison West (2003)
Expected Graduation: 2008

Working for BP has been amazing for me. With the price of oil and gas rising, I notice the oil industry getting more and more complex every semester. My first two sessions, I worked in chemicals. I spent one semester running a pilot plant reactor and one semester doing process modeling. It was a real on the job learning experience. First, I had to get comfortable with the way industry works versus school. My third term was working in a refinery on the west coast. This was the first time I had responsibility for other people's work. I had to direct contractors in the data analysis of our relief systems. This was a great opportunity for me.

BP is a great place to work because of the size, scale, and importance of the work we do. Without the co-op program, I would never have been able to go and see the real-life stuff I've been able to experience.

Every time I come back from my co-op work session, I know I'm ahead in my classes. What we do at work is typically a direct application of what we learn about in class. One of my professors even had me teach a part of the class what I have learned about the petrochemicals and the refining industry. Also, when I go into interviews or update my resume, I have real experience I can list that I know the recruiters will love to see. I'm sure it won't be hard finding a job when I graduate and also have a year and a half of experience as a real engineer. Oh, yeah, and the money isn't bad either."