McCormick Student Named National Co-op of the Year

Biomedical engineering senior Roshni Barot was recently named the national Co-op Student of the Year by the Cooperative and Experiential Education Division of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE / CEED).

This honor, given to only one co-op student nationwide, includes a cash award and a trip to the society’s conference in February.

The Cooperative Engineering Education (co-op) Program allows undergraduate engineering students to alternate periods of academic study with full-time periods of paid work experience related to their academic and professional goals. About 30 percent of students at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science participate in the program.

The program is one of many offered by McCormick’s Office of Career Development, which helps both graduate and undergraduate students obtain work experience that will complement their academic curriculum.

“Having a McCormick student win this national award is a testament to the academic and professional accomplishments of McCormick students, as well as to our great relationships with companies across industries,” says Helen Oloroso, assistant dean and director of the office. “We’re extremely pleased that Roshni will be recognized for all she has accomplished.”

Barot was previously named Northwestern’s Co-op Student of the Year. A co-op in the Renal Division of Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Barot was “an outstanding engineer and an exception employee,” according to her supervisor Justin Rohde, a principal engineer at Baxter who wrote a letter nominating Barot for the award.

In her position, Barot completed requirement specification documents and risk analyses and led the Clinical Trial Ancillary team, which was responsible for identifying, sourcing and designing every ancillary device needed for an upcoming clinical trial. She also created a complete risk summary for a device and took a lead role in analyzing the reliability of prototype devices.

“Roshni has become one of the most valued members of our team,” Rohde wrote. “She has consistently outperformed her peers, and in many cases, blown away even our expectations for a full-time engineer, let alone a co-op.”

Barot said she chose to work at Baxter because of the company’s reputation for giving co-op students challenges and leadership opportunities.

“The experience was priceless,” she said. “The amount that I learned and the networks I set up — it’s not something I would have gotten without a co-op experience. I really got to do a lot of hands-on work that I couldn’t have done in school.”

When she found out she won the national award, Barot says she was “shocked.”

“I knew that I had a great experience, but to be recognized for it on a national level is amazing,” she said.

Barot will receive the award at the society’s conference in San Antonio, Texas in February. She will receive her bachelor’s degree in March but will stay at Northwestern for another year to get her master’s degree in environmental engineering as part of McCormick’s BS/MS program with the Global and Ecological Health Certificate. She plans to pursue opportunities in global health engineering next summer, and hopes to pursue a career in the field after graduation.

“Doing co-op, I have two years of experience under my belt,” she said. “Co-op is an opportunity you don’t want to leave at the door.”