Student stories

Mechanical engineering student graduates on a high note

Andy Huerlimann

Estadual Paulista University (UNESP), Brazil

Graduating this term with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a specialization in mechatronics and a minor in business, Andy Huerlimann won’t need to search for work any time soon. His co-op experiences have led to a permanent job offer from BM&M Screening Solutions, one of his previous co-op employers. “I truly think the co-op program helps develop graduates who are desirable employees,” he says.

Andy’s new position may have him doing client meetings all over the world, and he’s quite sure his international work experience helped him land the job. In his most recent co-op term, Andy worked as an engineering exchange student for Estadual Paulista University (UNESP) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Andy received the Graham Branton Endowment Award from Co-op and Career for financial support during his international placement. In his position with UNESP, Andy designed and fabricated a mounting unit and track system that enabled an infrared camera to travel around a hydroelectric plant, monitor temperature and abnormalities, and predict failures as part of a predictive maintenance research program. This project was especially interesting for Andy since he was the only mechanical engineer on the team. “I was able to make a significant contribution,” he says.

Part of the excitement of an international co-op placement is the travel factor, and Andy was able to explore Brazil during his time off. His supervisor even let him borrow a car for the weekend when public transit couldn’t get Andy to another city to visit a friend. “I loved Brazil,” he says. “I was able to travel from Foz do Iguazu in the far south, to Rio de Janerio and surrounding beaches, to deep into the Amazon jungle in the north. Every week, I had a new adventure!”

Andy strongly recommends that other students take the opportunity to complete a co-op work term abroad. “Aside from the wonderful enjoyment of simply being abroad, international co-op greatly adds to your résumé,” he says. “The cultural experience was the biggest takeaway. International co-op is a win-win-win—you have fun, you learn and you help build your career!”

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