Preparing for your future by getting involved on campus

Here's how I got involved and my advice for your college career

Headshot of Conner Johannigman

Conner Johannigman

Mechanical engineering, '23

Co-op: Program Management Intern at Tesla; Design and Test Engineering co-ops with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.

Finding what you’re passionate about and pursuing that passion with like-minded individuals or student organizations is a crucial step in building the foundation for your future self. The first few years at UC I had no idea what my passion was, but as I started to figure it out, opportunities arose for me to make connections and get involved with meaningful experiences related to my desired career path.

It’s OK to be lost

Many students (including myself) come to college with little idea of what they want to do after they graduate; that’s ok! Your classes, co-ops, and personal interests will eventually guide you towards a field that sparks your interest.

How I found my passion

A year or two ago, I started thinking about why I chose engineering and what I was hoping to accomplish with my degree. The simple answer is that I wanted to help solve some of the most difficult and important challenges we face today; so, I researched and decided I wanted to get involved with sustainable energy. I already knew I enjoyed the automotive industry through my previous co-ops at Cooper Tire, and I thought the concept of electric cars was interesting and cutting-edge. Because of this, I naturally gravitated towards Tesla.

I wanted to help solve some of the most difficult and important challenges we face today, so I researched and decided I wanted to get involved with sustainable energy.
A selfie of Conner standing outside Tesla
Group of students at Cooper Tires

How I got involved

The first few years of college, even when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I was involved with TEDxUCincinnati for a leadership program, and the Learning Commons as a Tutor and SRS Leader. However, last year, I joined organizations that aligned perfectly with my career goals and provided me with not only meaningful work experience, but a great group of friends and connections to support me along the way.

The two main student organizations I got involved with (they’re the best, but I might be a little biased):

  • Bearcats In(to) Tech (BIT)
  • Bearcat Electric Vehicle
Conner standing in front of a Tesla sign

Conner is currently a co-op at Tesla in California

The bottom line: Student organizations are a great opportunity that every student should take advantage of, your involvement on campus can play a huge role in your future career, and joining student organizations is often a fun addition to your college experience.

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