The Department of Communication is Embracing Co-Op 2.0

In 2015, the Communication program partnered with the Division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education to launch the only co-op program housed within the UC’s College of Arts and Sciences. The optional program is highly competitive, accepting approximately forty applicants per year from a department of nearly seven hundred undergraduate students. When asked what motivated the decision to add a co-op program, the Communication Co-op Director, Steve Fuller, said, “Our faculty understand that students are concerned about finding good jobs after graduation. They lived through the Great Recession, watched family members lose homes, and will graduate will a massive student debt burden. We believe it’s important to prepare our students for the competitive job market, and helping students secure full-time, paid jobs while in college to earn money, gain experience, and network with professionals is vital to our mission.”

As evidence of that mission’s fulfillment, three of the four co-op students who graduated in December of 2017 were offered full-time jobs by their co-op employer.

Beginning in 2018, Communication sophomores interested in the co-op program should take PD 2070 (sections 004 or 005) before applying. Once admitted into the program, students rotate semesters between taking coursework and completing three full-time, paid jobs before graduating spring semester of their fourth year.

Four current Communication co-op students shared some of their experiences with the program:

Mallory Schweiger '17 joined the co-op program because she wanted to stand out from the crowd.

“I wanted to take my college career into my own hands and take advantage of every opportunity that has come my way. When I graduate, I will be able to say that I have more experience than just waiting on tables. In the competitive business world we live in, that is huge and means a lot to me to be able to use. My favorite project was coordinating Standard Textile's annual week-long United Way campaign. I helped fundraise, brought in kids from the local YMCA, and organized events such as a pumpkin decorating contest, donation incentives, and a luncheon. I used the skills I learned during classes to adjust to the fulltime workforce.”

Semhar Tsegay '17 worked to revamp The Devine Group's search engine optimization.

“I’ve assisted in revamping their website, adding and editing content, utilizing new tools, and analyzing how their information is perceived on the internet. I have been able to help the company reach higher results on search engines overall. I was able to create meaningful content that resonated with the audience and aligned with the company's strategy. Since I work for a smaller company, I’ve been exposed to multiple aspects of business and the creation of website design. However, the most significant skill I've developed is the use of CRM systems such as Pardot and Salesforce, which are essential to all aspects of marketing and sales."

Lucy Ferut '17 holds the record for miles traveled in the Communication Co-op Program.

“I assisted with launching a new bridal dress line for worldwide known designer, Pnina Torani. I ran Kleinfield's social media, prepared models for the shows, and assisted with sneak peek events. The biggest connection to my coursework was using public speaking and presentation-focused lessons towards confidently pitching to clients and effectively getting my intended point across. During my two co-op jobs, I lived in both Chicago and New York, gained hands-on public relations experience, and networked with professionals. Don't be afraid to go out of state for your co-op! This is the most exciting time when you have the freedom to apply and travel to where you may dream to live and figure out if it's right for you!"

Megan Dorning's '18 first co-op job gave her the opportunity to build and develop a cooking class process for Findlay Kitchen.

“I worked on the coordination and development of map logistics for all cooking classes, including researching pricing, advertisements, and creating a system for all money and ticketing processes. My experience taught me the true value of thinking creatively and strategically. You have to think three steps ahead to be productive. Through my public relations courses, I have been able to write and format professional documents. Those courses also prepared me to dig deep into company analytics to find opportunities and solutions for challenges facing my co-op employers. Working a full-time job is not a joke and getting used to longer days can be draining. Take time to remember why you are there and what everything from the past and present will do for your future."