Co-op Stories: Joey Cordeiro

By: Joey Cordeiro

Joey Cordeiro is a Junior in the Electrical Engineering program at Wentworth. He completed his first co-op with Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Newport, RI as a Student Trainee/Torpedo Systems Engineer. Joey recently sat down with CO-OPS + CAREERS to share his co-op story.

Student on Naval Base

Tell us about your first co-op:

I worked in the Systems Integration and Test Branch in the Undersea Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department. My role was to support the build and programming of a test set for an electronics assembly used in a weapon system. I worked under and was mentored by several experienced electrical and computer engineers. I had already completed a summer internship with NUWC last summer.

What interested you in NUWC?

Working for a defensive and weapons company has sparked my interest for a few years now. I always knew that if I got into this line of engineering then it would be a very satisfying job, and I would be working on something that has an impact on today’s world.

Applying for a role with the Navy, were there extra steps you needed to take?

The application process was like most other engineering internships, including submission of a lengthy application, resume, and doing a few initial phone interviews. The process became much more involved once an offer was made and I accepted. The process of acquiring the required security clearance to work this government job was a lengthy one at that. The procedure was well worth it looking back; getting the great opportunity to work for a strong Navy operation such as NUWC.

What was a typical day like at your co-op?

I normally spend my mornings reading torpedo specification documents and reading up on the hardware that I would be working with. There is an abundance of information and aspects of undersea weapons to learn about. The rich history of the vigorous engineering and years of hard work that has gotten NUWC to where it is today is truly what gets me excited to come to work every morning. I would typically spend all of my afternoon in the labs with my project team members working on the various tasks of our project. This spring co-op, I spent a majority of my time building a test set for the electronics assembly being programmed for the torpedo.

You are completing your second co-op with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. What has changed between your first co-op and your current?

I, along with my co-workers and managers, had more confidence in me to give me more responsibility and work load. I was able to work on multiple aspects of my electronics assembly program. On my first co-op I spent a lot of time working on specification documents, and revising and updated them to Navy standards. This time around, I was able to complete more hands-on work involving design, fabrication, and testing of a torpedo test-set.

Why did you choose to return for a second co-op with your employer? What advice do you have for students who are interested in returning to their first co-op employer?

I returned to NUWC for this co-op for many reasons. One of the main reasons is because of the satisfaction I got from working for the Navy. Seeing the great things we do as a 3000-person team here at NUWC, it was a no-brainer for me to return. A lot of it also had to do with my knowledge of defense systems as a whole. I learned a lot on my first internship, but I wanted to learn more and I felt that another 4-month co-op would do just that. I wanted to learn as much as possible about undersea warfare and what it feels like to serve the Navy fleet every day.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Joey! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Adjusting to the Workplace Part 2: Young Alumni Panel

The Real Truth About Adjusting to the Workplace from Recent Wentworth Alumni

By Ria Kalinowski

 

As part of the 2019 Summer Leopard Lunch & Learn Series, CO-OPS + CAREERS invited four young alumni to campus to give advice about adjusting to the workplace. Our moderator was Janel Juba, Co-op + Career Advisor. The alumni were as follows:

  • Hayley Patton, 2016 Biomedical Engineering Graduate. Currently working at ZOLL Medical as a Design Quality Assurance Engineer and completed one co-op at the manufacturing center at ZOLL.
  • Will Ma, 2018 Computer Information Systems Graduate. Works as an IT Service Desk Analyst at Criteo. Also, the CEO and co-founder of “STEAM Boston”. Completed co-ops at Dell/EMC, Brightcove, and EF Education First.
  • Kasey Cordeiro, 2018 Electrical Engineering Graduate currently working at Starry. Completed two co-ops at Raytheon and worked full-time for them as well post-graduation.
  • Alyssa Payette, 2016 Biomedical Engineering Graduate working as a clinical applications analyst at Mass General Hospital. Completed one co-op there as well.

Alumni Panel Photo

Professional Relationships

The alumni shared advice about building professional relationships in the workplace. Two main points that came up were the importance of being confident, so people begin to trust you and figuring out what to share and what not to share:

Hayley: Make sure you have those little boundaries, don’t be too personal, but don’t also be a clam.

Alyssa: In the last 3 years, I got the opportunity to serve in a few different management roles, so I can actually speak to the other side of it as well. So initially kind of like what Hayley was saying, it was a little touch and go trying to find what to share and what not to share. Afraid of it being off putting, you kind of want to blend with the teams you are on. So, you definitely want to share to identify those things you have in common. It can be tricky when you’re worried about crossing lines.

Will: Some advice is to try not to be too personal. Make sure to not cross the line.

Another way that these alumni managed professional relationships, especially with their manager, was by speaking up and asking questions. Having open lines of communication with your manager is important so that your expectations align:

Kasey: Definitely speak up if something is not working for you or if something could work better. I find that a good manager will be open to that kind of feedback. They want your productivity to be as high as it can be and they want you to be comfortable in your work space.

Alyssa: And you have to remember that your managers are trying to accomplish the same goals as you so if you are struggling, my best piece of advice, which I have done, is to set up a meeting to discuss your professional relationship.

Hayley: I’m the type of person who asks a ton of questions…when I first started I was going to [my manager] at least 3 or 4 times a day asking where’s this, how do I do this? But he was super helpful. He also provides information on where to find information on the questions you have. So he also kind of pushes you to find it yourself.

 

Company Culture

These alumni gained a lot of knowledge about their company’s culture through research, the interview process, and observation:

Will: Basically the first week they can give you an understanding of how the culture is, so what kind of clothes they wear, is it really casual or more professional, is it a 9-5 culture or is it more like a work hard play hard type of culture – there are a lot of factors you can learn from that first week…and also the interview too, when you have an interview one of the questions you should ask is how is the company culture.

Kasey: I actually used WITworks, and on there [saw that] Starry goes to the Career Fair… so I looked at [WITworks] and it said something like company culture or in their dress code maybe and so I looked through those and saw it said very casual… and so I used those to play my interview strategy where I was sort of half business causal but more on the casual side… I think it helps the transition a lot.  And then paying attention to how they acted in the interview, and how casual it was, and the way they interacted with each other, that was my strategy.

Alyssa: Like Will said, definitely in your interview ask about the culture, because sometimes you don’t meet with everybody when you go in for an interview… so definitely find out what the specific group you are working with has as far as culture, and then speak up, ask questions, pay attention to your surrounds when you go in for an interview.

Alumni Photo Panel

Learning from Failures

Making mistakes are an inevitable part of adjusting to a new workplace. The alumni shared how they were able to overcome or learn from these experiences:

Hayley: So I do a lot of testing, and it has to be super attention to detail… one time I was testing one of our new AED products, and I had put in a code for the Wi-Fi, because our device communicates over the internet to the hospital… and it just so happened that the number I put in was [wrong]… you have to make sure that no matter how many times you’ve run through this or how many times you’ve done it, you have to treat it like your first time.

Will: So what I did was I basically wiped out a whole computer, and the employee wasn’t happy… we didn’t really do that much research, and so after the computer was wiped, I had to create a backup plan-  how can I prevent this mistake from all the 20 other employees in the whole company from deleting someone’s files, so I made some documentation, and talked about some steps you can take to solve this bug on the computer, and actually a lot of employees are looking at this documentation to this day… overcoming failures makes you grow and turns you into a better employee and turns you into a better person.

To read more about adjusting to the workplace, click here.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office. And be sure to check back next week for Part 2 of Adjusting to the Workplace.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.