Engineering involves more than what you learn in a classroom or lab. It’s about creating things, solving problems and working in teams. To help you get that experience, Engineering at U of T has a co-op program called the Professional Experience Year Co-op Program (PEY Co-op). Interested students go out to work for 12 to 16 months, normally after third year. These are real engineering jobs where you have the opportunity to put into practice all the things you learned in the classroom (and earn a good salary). Below, Emily and Robin share their PEY Co-op experiences:
“The best part of my PEY Co-op experience is the people I worked with. My thoughts and ideas during group discussions and team meetings were valued and considered even though I was only an intern student, and I felt that I was an integral part of the team,” said Emily Miao (CompE 1T5 + PEY).
Miao completed her PEY Co-op placement at Intel Canada, where in the position of Digital Design and Verification Engineer, she wrote code to test new design features and tested digital designs to ensure they functioned properly. If it wasn’t working, she would debug the design to find out why. In this role, Miao applied classroom theory on setup and hold time in digital circuits, an important concept used in digital design and verification.
As a new graduate, Miao looks forward to continuing to challenge herself in the workplace. “I had a great experience on PEY Co-op. I really enjoyed the challenging work, the team discussions, and coming up with creative solutions to problems encountered. I was able to apply theories learned in the classroom to applications at work, and I would like to continue to challenge myself and my problem solving skills in the workplace.”
“It’s exciting to see the impact that electrical and computer engineering can have in the medical field,” said Robin Todd (Year 3 CompE) “My PEY Co-op placement gives me the opportunity to learn from knowledgeable mentors in the friendly and open work environment that Synaptive Medical offers.”
Todd’s PEY Co-op placement at Synaptive Medical, a company that develops innovative neurosurgical technologies, is the perfect fit for her. A computer engineering student with a biomedical engineering minor, she has always had an interest in medicine and at her PEY Co-op placement she is turning her passions into practical experience.
As a Software Developer on the Drive team, she works on a neurosurgical robot arm and enjoys that she is able to problem solve and learn every day. ECE coursework has been very helpful in preparing her for this role: “I use the programming skills that I developed in many of the computer courses that I took over the past three years, from first year Computer Fundamentals to third year courses such as Operating Systems and Algorithms and Data Structures. I also find it helpful to have a knowledge base in engineering design. Classes such as Engineering Strategies and Practice and Communication and Design allowed me to gain experience working on engineering projects in a team setting.”
As for the future, Todd plans to keep her options open for now and is considering medical school as a possibility. She feels that her PEY Co-op experience will provide a lot of insight when it comes time to pick which path to take.
To learn more about the program, please contact the Engineering Career Centre:
222 College Street, Suite 106
Phone: 416-978-3881, 416-978-6649