Northeastern University has a great co-op program. Students participate in anywhere from 1 to 3 co-ops to get real-world work experience. One semester you go to class, then the next you go to work full time for 6 months. It’s a great way to help you figure out what you might want to do when you graduate (or sometimes, don’t want to do when you graduate). Many are paid, so you can also save while you’re not in class. I chose to do three, which are summarized here:
National Fire Protection Association
My first co-op was in 2006 as an Editorial Assistant at the National Fire Protection Association. I mostly proofread fire codes, organized the office’s library, and conducted research in the association’s archives. Proofreading fire codes is not the most exciting work (as you may imagine) but it gave me much needed editing experience.
T. Rowe Price
My second co-op through Northeastern University brought me to Owing Mills, Maryland home of insurance company T. Rowe Price from July through December 2007. My coworkers were great, I got to explore Baltimore, and got to expand my portfolio. While insurance may not be the most exciting of topics, I strengthened my writing and was able to work with our design team to work on the creative for brochures, pamphlets, and other marketing materials. It was a pretty stellar six months.
My third and final co-op was as a correspondent for Boston.com, the online section of The Boston Globe from July through December 2008, as well as some work filling in after my co-op was completed. I loved this job. I was responsible for updating the home page of the Business section, as well as lede stories on subsequent landing pages. The work became increasingly fast-paced, as the economic collapse of 2008 was happening during my tenure at the paper.
In addition to updating the site, I got to create my own photo galleries which involved taking pictures, researching, interviewing people, and uploading the content to a CMS. Check them out:
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