UC Co-op: A 4th Year Biomedical Engineering Perspective

Hello fellow readers. This is my first time posting here. My name is Claudia and I am a 4th year (junior) in Biomedical Engineering at UC. I am currently on co-op for Spring and Summer 2008 quarters. While all UC engineering majors participate in co-op, Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science do co-op a little differently than the other majors in that their regular co-op schedule alternates every 2 quarters (in other words, every 6 months). For all other engineering majors, the standard alternating between co-op and class is every 1 quarter (every 3 months), though this schedule is pretty flexible for change.

I personally like going to class for 6 months and then working for 6 months. From my 2nd to 4th years, I am in-class Autumn and Winter (mid-September to mid-March) and then I am on co-op Spring and Summer (mid-March to mid-September). I see starting co-op as, in some ways, ending the school year and starting a summer job early, only it’s even better than that. I work full-time and get paid for it. The best part is that this job, unlike a summer job, gives me the chance– and the responsibility– to learn more about my major in ways I could never learn about in school. It gives me that experience that professors can only talk about in class. It’s the whole “I’ll believe it’s important when I see it in use” kind of thing.

While in class, I learn that there are different kinds of engineers like “materials” and “electrial” and “mechanical” and “biomedical.” While on co-op, I learn of a new set of engineers like “manufacturing” and “quality” and “regulatory.” Theoretically the same, yet applicably different.

My first co-op was Summer 2006 with BioSTAR, Inc. BioSTAR is a small and new company located in Claremont, California. Not only was BioSTAR my first co-op, but I too was its first UC co-op! BioSTAR’s founder, Dr. Wiesmann, went to undergraduate school at UC, so I’m happy he has incorporated UC into his company developments and opened the door for yet another place for cooperative education and biomedical engineering exploration to interweave (and 45 minutes east of LA in California, of all places!). I worked as a research engineer co-op there and lived in nearby college dorm on Harvey Mudd’s campus. And yes, I made a few trips to the beach and Hollywood.

My second co-op was Spring/Summer 2007 with AtriCure, Inc. AtriCure is a rapidly growing and reputable biomedical device company located in West Chester, Ohio. While in class, I live in Clifton. I’m from the eastside (Milford), so when I’m on co-op working in West Chester, I move back home. This allows me the chance to see my family a little more and save a good amount of cash! Since so much of UC incorporates co-op, it has been really easy for me to find housing in Clifton for my in-class quarters without signing any yearly lease that would make me responsible for finding someone to replace me… there’s always someone in need of a roommate! Anyway, back to AtriCure- I worked as a quality engineer co-op and got to see how the flow of material in a biomedical company is handled while maintaining quality assurance- from part to subassembly to full device. Pretty cool!

My third (and last!) co-op is this Spring/Summer 2008 once again with AtriCure, Inc. AtriCure’s purpose is “the advancement of medical treatments in order to provide a service to humanity.” This time around, I am working as a regulatory/clinical engineer co-op. I read up on and contribute to the latest going on with the clinical side of the industry and learn how medical devices are regulated in practice. I love getting a taste of different aspects of engineering. Who knew there were so many different applications to biomedical engineering? Who knew there were so many ways to make a difference?

AtriCure has been recognized for its outstanding quality and regulatory teams, and I am glad AtriCure has partnered with UC to give me the opportunity to develop and contribute within both of them. Thank you, UC Cooperative Education!


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This blog is operated by Engineering and Applied Science Ambassadors, a student group at the University of Cincinnati. Our purpose is to advance the relationship between the community, students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
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