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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
UC ingot

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."

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