Andrew Batek

Company: Duke Energy
Company URL: http://www.duke-energy.com/careers/interns-co-ops.asp
School: Computer Engineering
Hometown: Chillicothe, IL
High School: Illinois Valley Central HS
Expected Graduation: 2012

Being from Illinois, I didn't have to go out of state to find a great engineering school.  With both University of Illinois and Northwestern University right there, I am often asked how I decided on Purdue.  

What finally attracted me to Purdue was the friendly atmosphere, Purdue's desire to have you as a student vs. just another head paying tuition, and Purdue's excellent co-op program.  Co-op was something I planned on the day I was accepted to Purdue.  You just can't beat professional experience before graduation.

Duke Energy is an electric utility company that serves customers three-phase electric power in Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  Duke offers an excellent work environment with an emphasis on employee safety and well-being in addition to company goals.

The most challeging part of co-op I have encountered is the ambiguous nature of real world engineering problems.  The answers aren't as straightforward as they are in classes.  This freedom is both challenging and rewarding.

1.  In today's job market, work experience trumps anything else you can put on a resume.  The fact that co-ops will have, at a minimum, three extended work sessions before graduation is a huge advantage by itself.

2.  Co-op, being more of a committent than an internship, garners more of a committment from the company.  Your project and networking opportunities are greatly increased when compared to internships.

3.  College students are known for being poor.  Co-ops are well paid and earning a co-op position can definitely ease the cost burdens of school.