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‘Coolest Co-op’ a riveting experience

Watch the three winning videos here.

While on co-op last year, junior Gustav Hoiland immersed himself in the supply chain management industry — right down to the nuts and bolts.

Hoiland, a business major, worked at Gexpro Services, a supply chain services outsource provider. His office, located in Naperville, Ill., distributes engineering commodities such as fasteners, screws and bolts, and the co-op allowed him to explore all facets of the business. His mornings were spent building and analyzing inventory data, and communicating with colleagues across the globe. In the afternoons, he even processed orders in the division’s warehouse — everything from packing, taping, scanning and shipping boxes.

“Everything we own has passed through a warehouse like this, and the experience forever changed the way I see and understand business,” he said. “I got the inside look at what business is.”

The co-op not only provided him this first-hand corporate experience he desired, but his inspired video about the experiential learning opportunity earned him first place in Northeastern University’s Coolest Co-op Video Contest.

The Office of Student Affairs sponsors the contest, asking undergraduates to make a short video showcasing why their job was the coolest co-op at Northeastern. The contest was launched last year to help celebrate the centennial of the university’s renowned co-op and experiential learning program.

“The ‘Coolest Co-op’ competition serves as an exciting way for our students to reflect on their experiences and share their unique perspectives with our community,” said Ed Klotzbier, vice president forstudent affairs.”What has been great about this contest is seeing how creative our students are while learning about some really cool co-ops. I am continually amazed at the experiences our students are having, and we hope to continue to hear even more stories as this contest continues.”

Connor McKnight, a music industry major, earned second place in the contest for his co-op at Billboard Magazine in New York City. He not only contributed more than 200 reviews, articles and news items for Billboard publications, but he also played a key role during artist showcases — setting up recording equipment, manning the cameras and mixing board, and even stepping in on the guitar for a few sessions.

The experience also led to Billboard hiring McKnight as a correspondent back in Boston.

Taking third place was Daniel O’Brien, an international affairs major and former Marine. After earning a Presidential Global Scholarship, O’Brien worked for the Common Language Project, an international nonprofit online media group that aims to engage and inform Americans about critical issues of our time.

He interviewed Iraqi refugees in countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Syria, about their perspective on the Iraq invasion, and later would produce video blogs reflecting on his experiences in the region.
While in the military, O’Brien was stationed in Iraq. But he said traveling through the region as a civilian as part of this co-op dramatically increased his understanding of the Middle East, which, he said, will have an enormous impact on his studies at Northeastern.