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Russell McCoig standing in front of a construction project that he participated in during his co-op experience.

Co-op Spotlight: Russell McCoig

Civil and environmental engineering student Russell McCoig co-oped in Louisville, Kentucky from January-December 2022 with EMJ Construction.

“My co-op experience allowed me to see the construction process in the field and how designs don’t always work out perfectly, but that’s okay. Going into this experience, I had just transferred from the electrical engineering program and wanted to experience civil life firsthand to aid me in my design choices by seeing how they could affect construction. I worked on a job site in Louisville, Kentucky for the entirety of my co-op supervising the construction of a senior living facility that covered a total of over 200,000 square feet,” said McCoig. “During this time, I worked on several high-value tasks including fire protection, RFIs, punch list, and a granite log that was at the request of the architect and owner. These tasks taught me a lot about how to work with people of all backgrounds and how to be the one who was able to talk with these individuals to ensure a smooth process in all aspects whether it be an OAC or an inspection. Most importantly, this experience taught me that the most important part of engineering is being adaptable and understanding that something can always be improved upon.”

When asked what advice he had for other Engineering students who participate in co-op and internship programs, McCoig said, “Everyone should combine their educational time here with at least one work assignment. These provide nothing but benefits and thanks to the number of partnerships that the university has, everyone can find an opportunity that’s the best fit for them. Even if you don’t believe that a co-op is for you, there are multiple opportunities in internships and local part-time assignments. Maybe you want to do a year straight through like I did and travel to explore new places? There is not only one way to do it and fortunately, the number of opportunities available to us is seemingly endless.”

While summarizing his thoughts on the experiences provided by participating in a program through Engineering Professional Practice, he said, “None of this would have been possible without the hard work of the Engineering Professional Practice staff. I have attended three expos and have left with an offer to expand my education through a work assignment at every expo. EPP puts so much work and dedication into helping us as future engineers. I implore you to go by, today, and talk to the lovely staff there and start working on furthering your career and knowledge as an engineer today!”