PROFILE: Co-op and Connections Pave A Promising Future For This UC Student
Engineering student Michael Alexander describes the real-world experience he has gained through co-op as well as the academic and social support systems he found at UC.
Date: 8/9/2004 8:00:00 AM
By: John Bach
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Lisa Ventre
Michael Alexander identified his passion for both engineering and design rather early in life. It first hit him when he was a child tinkering with LEGOs and later when he was a teenager sketching cars in study hall. Today the 22-year-old mechanical engineering student is one step closer to his dream job as a car designer.
"I'm interested in the technical side of design," Alexander said as he was preparing for his fourth quarter of co-op through the College of Engineering. "I love science, math and technology. But I'm also interested in the more artistic kind of design as well."
The second-generation engineer spent his first three co-op quarters with Procter & Gamble designing a room for nursing mothers, developing product packaging and creating a chewing model to allow researchers to develop better dog food. But it was this summer's co-op that placed him at Toyota working with an engineering group in a design-support role.
"I have gotten some great experiences through UC," he said. "Out of all the colleges I visited my senior year, Cincinnati was the best in terms of providing a solid engineering program and a well-defined co-op program."
It also didn't hurt that UC offered the Youngstown, Ohio, resident a full scholarship through the Emerging Ethnic Engineers (E3) program. It has been those types of connections — his involvement with E3, the National Society of Black Engineers and the African American Cultural Research Center Choir — that have kept him energized.
After completing his undergraduate work, Alexander intends to move over to UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning for a master's in industrial design.
"I feel like UC is such a big part of me that it will actually be hard leaving when I graduate."