Dirk Schmidt

Company: Indiana Department of Transportation
Company URL: http://www.in.gov/spd/2334.htm
School: Civil Engineering
Hometown: Leo, IN
High School: Leo Jr./Sr. High School - 2007
Expected Graduation: May 2012 - BSCE

I considered attending Purdue, because I believed I could earn a degree from a top-notch engineering program that would present many opportunities for me upon graduation. Hearing about the Co-Op Program solidified my decision to attend Purdue. In my humble opinion, receiving college instruction is very important, but it is only when that instruction is coupled with hands-on experience that a student can truly excel in their post-graduate endeavors. The Co-Op Program at Purdue succeeds in combining almost two years of experience with high-quality education.

INDOT provided me with many opportunities. When I came to Purdue, I knew that I wanted to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering, and my desire was to get into the construction field. I started out in construction at INDOT and absolutely loved the experience. However, during my second Co-Op session I was presented with the opportunity to work in the traffic engineering department at INDOT. Although I loved construction, I loved traffic more. That experience has ultimately led me to focusing on transportation for my undergraduate degree. The opportunities presented to me by INDOT helped me to define my career aspirations.

- Work experience coupled with academic theory = academic and career success

- More work experience when compared to three summer internships

- Additional work experience can help pay for college