How I used opportunities at UC to the fullest

Chemical engineering student describes her fish-out-of-water experience

Headshot of By: Bailey Freeland

By: Bailey Freeland

Chemical Engineering ‘24, CEAS Senator, Undergraduate Student Government

Co-op: AstraZeneca and Marathon Petroleum

I officially enrolled in the University of Cincinnati's College of Engineering and Applied Science on May 29, 2019. Some might recognize that date as nearly a month past the confirmation deadline.

Enrollment had marked the end of a long and turbulent journey of applications, acceptance letters, long phone calls and many plan As, Bs, and Cs. Every student’s commitment experience is different, but I knew I wanted to pursue a bachelor of science in chemical engineering.

Diving right in

The following fall, I made the trip to Cincinnati for the third time in my life and stepped onto UC’s campus. I felt like a fish out of water. I had no plan for roommates, organizations or programs. All I knew was that college was a time to take risks and cut your losses, so I dove right in. UC’s CEAS offers a large variety of organizational involvement and having held leadership roles during high school, as well as being encouraged by my teaching assistant, I applied to become an intern for CEAS Tribunal. This began my journey from intern to committee chair to today where I am one of the CEAS Tribunal senators, representing the college on student government.

UC's Mountaineering Club

Bailey backpacking on the side of a mountain

In late winter of my first year, I continued to take chances and signed up for my first backpacking trip to Big Bend National Park through UC’s Mountaineering Club.

Established in 1971, it's one of UC's oldest and largest student organizations. They organize group outings and provide specialized gear and training to students who are interested in hiking, rock climbing, exploring caves, kayaking, backpacking and other outdoor activities.

Since then, I have completed four trips and plan on many more! 

Became a peer educator for the intro to co-op class

Zoom call with Bailey as a peer educator

This past spring, I even applied to become a peer educator for Intro to Co-op and have since gained lifelong friends and many inspiring mentees.

Growing to be comfortable outside my comfort zone helped build my confidence in presenting myself to employers at the Technical Career Fair and in the interviews that followed. 

Started my first co-op at AstraZeneca

I have since completed my first two co-op rotations at AstraZeneca working in process optimization and look forward to starting my third co-op at Marathon Petroleum in the spring of 2022. By taking calculated risks and having UC’s many experiential opportunities at my fingertips, I continue to flourish throughout my collegiate career.

I learned to have confidence in myself

When going into your collegiate experience, I advise you to have confidence in yourself and your potential for success. Plans can change, and CEAS supplies students with all the opportunities you need to succeed including leadership, innovation, educational tools, and more! Take risks and venture beyond your comfort zone, you never know what good can happen.


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