Northeastern University revealed the winners of the 2015 Coolest Co-op Video Competition on Wednesday afternoon at the Cooperative Education Awards, an annual ceremony honoring the co-op accomplishments of a distinguished group of high-achieving students.
The Office of Student Affairs runs the yearly competition, which challenged undergraduates to design a two-minute video showcasing why they’ve scored the coolest co-op in Northeastern’s history. A team of faculty and staff members judged the clips, awarding cash prizes to the top three finishers.
Emma Ouellette, E’16, placed first, winning $1,000; Maria Sofia Soto, AMD’16, placed second, winning $500; and Julieta Moradei, E’16, placed third, winning $250.
In her video, Ouellette described her ongoing co-op with Planetary Resources, the Redmond, Washington-based asteroid-mining company. On day one, she said, she was assigned a major task: designing the thermal control subsystem for a satellite, one that was launched into space in April. Her responsibilities ran the gamut, from creating 3-D models of the satellite components to outsourcing the parts for fabrication.
“This experience has reinforced my love for space exploration and given me a different view on how to approach problems that seem insurmountable,” said Ouellette, a fourth-year mechanical engineering major. “Now, more than ever, I’m ready to enter the modern space race and start working on the challenges that face the human race as we continue to extend our reach beyond our home planet.”
Soto recently returned from her marketing co-op with National Geographic Learning, the Boston-based educational publisher. From June through December, the fourth-year communication studies major developed marketing campaigns; created web content; organized events; and supported the global sales team.
“The materials we promoted weren’t just teaching grammar rules and multiplication tables, but cultural skills that are so necessary in the 21st century,” Soto said in her two-minute video. “When you find a company that offers an incredible variety of work, lets you make an impact, and has a wonderful mission, that’s when you know you’ve found the coolest co-op.”
She noted that the co-op experience motivated her to expand her academic focus, which currently includes a minor in graphic design. “Programming languages will be an essential skill in the coming years,” she said, “and this experience has encouraged me to enroll in programming classes.”
Moradei worked at Disney World this spring, inspecting the Florida theme park’s rides and designing the structural specifications for the rehabilitation of particular attractions.
Her co-op experience, she said, pushed her out of her comfort zone and shaped her newfound passion for combining creative thinking with technical design.
“Engineering at Disney World is incredibly unique,” said Moradei, a fourth-year civil and environmental engineering major. “I took on obstacles that I would never have faced at any other company.”