Mar. 25, 2011
A different kind of Toy Story
Just call it the work of playtime. Student Sam Ryan has a “dream co-op job” through Kettering University -- he gets paid to break toys for toy manufacturing giant Fisher-Price.
“I work as a Plastic Material Engineer for Fisher-Price in New York,” the Mechanical Engineering major said. “I suggest materials and do durability studies – if there is a way to break a toy, we want to know about it before it hits the market,” he explained. “It entails working with designers and product development engineers to troubleshoot and improve current plastic materials used in our toys, as well as researching and developing materials for new products.”
Having fun smashing toys wasn’t Ryan’s original plan for college. “I came to Kettering thinking I would work on cars, until my first co-op job led me to specialize in polymers,” Ryan explained. “Kettering is teaching me to be an innovator, teaching me to always look for improvements. I recommend that today’s students take a lesson from my experiences and be open to all opportunities.”
Venetia Petteway, Kettering’s Corporate Relations Executive, said there are interesting and great co-op jobs available these days. ”Our Co-op Employment Fair on March 29 had more than 100 employers, each one looking for the talent they need to solve real issues,” she said. “Kettering has purposefully focused on expanding its industry base to diversify outside of the automotive industry. We are constantly searching for opportunities in Life Sciences, Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, Bioengineering, Acoustics, Optics, Bioinformatics, Nanotechnology, Alternative Energy, Aerospace, Food Processing, Logistics, and the service industry, to name a few.”
Fisher-Price is among the 550 businesses and industries that hire Kettering students for jobs around the country these days. Petteway said that long-time supporter General Motors still employs the most Kettering co-op students, but today’s employer list includes Beaumont Hospital, General Electric, the U.S. Air Force, Argonne National Laboratories and the ever-popular DisneyWorld.
“Kettering is developing talent to help deal with real world issues in real time,” she said. “Our co-op system grooms professionals who are poised and prepared. This keeps our employers eager to hire co-ops and graduates into good jobs and good salaries.”