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Coolest Co-ops: Not your Typical 9-to-5 Job

As an intern for ThorSport Racing, Sean Brown tracked lap times and fuel mileage with programs he wrote in order to determine strategy at races like this one in Nashville, Tenn.

Lauren Deerhake assisted Anheuser-Busch operating engineers to inspect the boiler tubes during a boiler overhaul during her co-op.

Two mechanical engineering seniors, Sean Brown and Lauren Deerhake, were winners of Ohio’s Cool Co-op Contest.

Brown worked as a race engineer intern for ThorSport Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series while Deerhake landed an internship with Anheuser-Busch in Columbus, Ohio.

The contest, which is part of the Ohio Cooperative Education Association (OCEA), showcases co-op positions in order to strengthen the position of cooperative education in Ohio. It aims to attract and retain Ohio’s talented youth as an important workforce development strategy.

OCEA member institutions were asked to submit a list of eligible students to the contest. Then students were encouraged to enter submissions for the chance to win prizes such as a digital camera or a portable DVD player. Winners were picked based on online voting from the general public and with final judging done by OCEA Executive Board.

Co-op Contest Winning Essays by Sean Brown and Lauren Deerhake:

NASCAR Engineer, by Sean Brown
During the summer of '08 I worked as a race engineer intern for ThorSport Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (now called the Camping World Truck Series). ThorSport finished the 2008 season with driver Matt Crafton fifth in points, and the driver of the second team truck, Shelby Howard, finished the year in the top 20. During my time with the team we competed in eight truck events and also competed in two NASCAR Nationwide Series events. Almost every weekend my team and I would hop on a plane and fly around the country for another race. Some of the places we raced were Indianapolis; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; Milwaukee; and Chicago. During the race I would sit on the pit box with the crew chief and track lap times and fuel mileage with programs that I wrote. It became my responsibility to determine race strategy and when the team should pit for fuel and tires. After the race there was always time to explore the night life of the host cities with the other members of the crew. Being in a NASCAR garage, you are surrounded by people you see daily on television and even end up on television yourself a couple times. Every time you turn around there is a celebrity of some kind next to you. These celebrities could be drivers like Kyle Busch, Jimmy Johnson or Dale Earnhardt Jr. They could be team owners like Richard Petty or Randy Moss (of NFL fame), or it could be any of the numerous grand marshals and National Anthem singers like Paula Dean or Taylor Swift. It does not take long to realize that the people everyone else idolizes is just a normal person like you, and conversations with people like Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. become normal.

The King of Beers, by Lauren Deerhake
Houston, TX to Columbus, OH… moving 1,300 miles north and away from family and friends was a daunting experience, even for someone like me who enjoyed meeting new people. Finding that niche where I fit in would be crucial to my happiness and independence. In my second year at Ohio State, I landed an internship with Anheuser-Busch. My first day of work was intimidating because I didn’t know anyone, and all the employees seemed to be very good friends. Not long after I started, I was asked to join a recreational soccer team with many other employees. It was a blast and I met a ton of people outside of my department around my age. The connections I made with these people helped me in my job, and they were more than willing to help show me the ins and outs of the company and the city. My big project was a solids press start up, and at first it was an overwhelming task, but with the help of my boss, contractors and other employees we accomplished this task. It felt great to see my project from start to finish and my fellow employees came to me asking me about my projects. They give me a lot of credit and are always helping me succeed. There were a lot of activities to take part of outside of work also. Since I worked for a beer company, there were many social outings and parties with the perks of our free beer. Even though I was just the co-op they always reached out to me even if it was a fun night of guitar hero or the Columbus Blue Jackets games. The Columbus brewery feels like a second family; people who are always there for you and willing to help!