UC DAAP students recognized for achievement in co-op

Cooperative education shaped their development as designers and creators

Each spring, the University of Cincinnati’s Division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education honors students in experience-based learning programs.

These ten students have demonstrated outstanding achievement in cooperative education in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). Their stories illustrate why the University of Cincinnati is a top five university for co-ops and internships according to U.S. News Best Colleges rankings.

Sean Buckley, Urban Planning

Sean Buckley (pictured in feature image, above) completed five co-ops with a variety of employers: three private-sector consulting firms, a local government agency, and an international nonprofit called Resilient Communities that focuses on sustainable development and community engagement in Morocco. Buckley says that through co-op, "I was able to experience places I never would have [otherwise] and form connections with incredible, interesting people."

Jordan Sauer, Master of Architecture

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Jordan Sauer achieves a major milestone this spring. Photo/Provided

This spring, Jordan Sauer will become the first person in Ohio ever to become a registered architect upon graduation. Normally, qualifying for licensure can take months or even years after completing a professional degree, but, due to a new board rule and a pioneering program in UC-DAAP’s School of Architecture and Interior Design, Sauer was able to complete two years of professional experience through co-op, take and pass six licensure exams, and complete a professional degree, all at the same time. He will be the first person in Ohio and among the first in the country to achieve this milestone. Upon graduation, Sauer will work full-time with K4 Architecture in Cincinnati, where he completed six of his seven co-op rotations.

Aditya Rao, Architecture

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Aditya Rao coordinated across three time zones to enter a design competition during the pandemic. Photo/Provided

Aditya Rao has been interested in airport design since his first co-op search. This year, amid pandemic shutdowns and while living in India, Rao teamed up with a fellow UC student from Indianapolis to enter an airport design competition. A project architect and studio director in the Dallas office of prolific airport design firm Corgan, where Rao had co-oped previously, provided advice. Rao says coordinating the work across two continents and three time zones was tough, but they were able to communicate virtually and get things done. Although his team did not place in the competition, the experience taught him about conceptual planning projects in aviation and allowed him to keep in touch with senior architects at Corgan. Rao will pursue a career in aviation design after graduation.

Maddie Baskin, Interior Design

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Maddie Baskin says that, thanks to co-op, “I know the kind of designer I am and want to become.” Photo/Provided

Senior Maddie Baskin is an excellent student who took full advantage of her co-op opportunities. She accumulated a breadth of skills and learning through co-ops in retail design, experiential design, and a self-directed experience. Baskin is effusive about the co-op program and credits every one of her co-op semesters for providing diverse learning experiences that were formative for her as a designer. “Each time I returned to classes [from a co-op experience], I had gained new perspectives, learning, advice and mentors to help me grow as a student.”


Amanda Howe, Fashion Design

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Amanda Howe’s co-op experiences spanned apparel, footwear and accessory design. Photo/Provided

With domestic and international co-op experiences spanning apparel, footwear and accessory design as well as international publications, senior Amanda Howe is a collaborative, inspired and interdisciplinary design talent. Her creativity and curious mind have brought to life innovative professional practice experiences that cross the craft of high-end fashion with some of the most cutting-edge virtual reality and 3D design technologies. Of her experience, Howe says, “The DAAP co-op program has enabled me to explore new disciplines and learn how to apply them in real-world and professional settings around the U.S. and Europe.”

Nicole Baah, Industrial Design

smiling young woman poses with a building and trees in the background

Nicole Baah will work in design research after graduation. Photo/Provided

Darwin T. Turner Scholar Nicole Baah took advantage of opportunities to co-op in different industries and countries. She completed her first co-op in design research at Crown Equipment in Ohio before spending a co-op semester in Santiago, Chile. She spent her next summer in Chicago working for Chamberlain in UX/UI. For her final co-ops, P&G picked her up for the Transformative Platform Technologies (TPT) innovation team and brought her back for a term in Beauty (Skin Care). Her advisor says Baah stands out as a natural leader and mentor to younger students. After graduation, Baah will join Milwaukee Tool’s Design Research team full-time. Of her experience, Baah says, “I’m so grateful for the variety of co-ops I’ve had! They provided an opportunity to explore my field and find my passion.”

Lia Cavalaris, Fine Art

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Lia Cavalaris says her co-op experiences gave her “an unshakable sense of purpose in my creative practice and in myself.” Photo/Provided

Lia Cavalaris approached the Fine Art co-op program with optimism and an attitude of discovery. She recognized the value of co-op and strove to make the most of each experience. One employer writes of her: “Lia worked extremely well with the volunteers, staff and students at The Academy of World Languages and those we help. People fell in love with her simple smile and gentle approaches to problem-solving and were in awe of her creativity. I was so impressed by this student that I wrote to the professor to ask if there was a scholarship that I could nominate her for.”

Abby Gold, Communication Design

young woman poses with wide stream, trees and mountains in the background

Abby Gold at Olympic National Park while on co-op in Seattle in fall 2020. Photo/Provided

Abby Gold spent her co-op terms with JUICE Pharma in New York City, Homee in Northern Kentucky and Pilot Lab in Seattle. She has championed peer mentorship in the Communication Design program, and employers describe her as positive, adaptable, curious, and able to tackle any project fearlessly.

M. Atikul Khalid, Master of Community Planning

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Atikul Khalid. Photo/Provided

Khalid completed a detailed and comprehensive watershed analysis project for OKI Regional Council of Governments. He extensively used Python programming and ArcGIS Pro software for the analysis and created 111 different maps to identify riparian areas to prioritize for conservation. He worked closely with OKI environmental planner Margaret Minzner. His final report, delivered via WebEx due to the COVID pandemic, was outstanding.

Akshat Srivastava, Master of Design

Akshat Srivastava built on his remarkable undergraduate co-op experiences with a graduate-level role as Digital Technologist at Punchcut in San Francisco. His co-op advisor Lisa Barlow says that Srivastava is intentional in his professional choices while remaining passionately open to possibilities, and that he “routinely exceeds expectations while displaying grace, integrity, calm confidence, and an unyielding commitment to exploration.”

About Experience-Based Learning and Career Education

Faculty and staff in Experience-Based Learning and Career Education at the University of Cincinnati facilitate real-world work experiences for students, teach students to prepare for their professional lives, and provide career services to students and alumni. At the same time, we connect employers and external partners with the talent they seek in a variety of arrangements both inside and outside the classroom.

Feature image at top: While on co-op in Cleveland, urban planning major Sean Buckley volunteers at a traffic-calming Pop-Up Parkway in Euclid, Ohio. Photo/Provided

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