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My Experience in COE

September 21, 2016

About Me

Tyler Cole is a fourth year Chemical Engineering student who is also completing a Masters in Engineering Management. While at Northeastern, Tyler has completed two co-ops in biotechnology, at Genzyme and Amgen. In addition, he is a member of the Connections Program, which is a research-based group that provides tutoring and review sessions for first year COE students, a member of AIChE, Tau Beta Pi, Omega Chi Epsilon, and is a Husky Ambassador Tour Guide.

My experience in COE 

Hard work pays off. That’s what they’ve been saying since the beginning of time. Makes sense right? Well, I thought I knew what that meant: study hard and you’ll do fine on the exam. What I didn’t know was that the reward was a little bigger and a little less tangible than that perfect score on the Transport exam (that I would never really get anyway).

My hard work began with my chemical engineering curriculum. As a freshman and sophomore I spent long nights doing homework and studying for those math quizzes that meant so much at the time—and now, unfortunately, do not mean as much. Lab reports and derivations kept me busy for quite some time, and the stresses of a demanding major forced me to analyze the world in new ways, allowing me to find solutions to everyday problems. I thought that my reward would be a better understanding of things like distillation columns, and while that is still very much a work in progress, I have realized that the reward was different: friends who share similar obstacles. Those long nights and endless classes were not sought after alone, but with a small friend group who motivated me and kept me energized. To this day, we stress out and laugh hard; we are just as confused as we are crazy—yet we push on. This realization that I have made bonds and friendships that will last longer than any Thermo exam didn’t happen overnight. Instead, it grew out of the understanding that the reward for taking challenging classes is not necessarily the best grade, but rather the best friends.   

Hard work is also a major part of my co-op and extracurricular experiences in the College of Engineering. My co-ops at Genzyme and Amgen have allowed me to apply my learned knowledge to the ever-changing world of biotechnology. Process engineering roles have given me the opportunity to understand complex processes that help people feel better. Once again, I learned that the reward is not just an extra line on a resume, but instead is a network comprised of professionals, knowledge, and patient experiences. Through this network, I have been able to connect with ISPE, gain an understanding of a complex industry, and learn about a patient-focused approach that you can’t learn in a classroom. Four bullet points on a piece of paper will never do these rewards any justice.   

In addition, my experience with the Connections program has been one of my favorites so far. I joined the program that provides tutoring and review sessions to first year students while I was still a first year student myself. As I have grown with the program, I have contributed to a research paper, and have spent a significant amount of time explaining Chemistry concepts to students who needed a little extra help. This hard work has led to one of the best and biggest rewards for me at Northeastern thus far: providing advice to freshmen. While it might sound more like a burden than a reward to some readers, to me this experience is what keeps me returning to Connections each year. I love telling them that I was the student who sat in the review session for the free pizza, didn’t understand what a work function was, and really didn’t know what this co-op was that everyone kept talking about. My hope with these conversations is that my message gets across: it will all be alright. These freshmen may not see their hard work paying off in a week or a year which makes it difficult to push on, but if their reward is anything like mine, I will know that my help made a difference.