Photo of Madison Gropp“My Co-Op with Ulliman Schutte has been incredible,” said Madison Gropp, a Michigan State University civil engineering major who plans to graduate in 2018 with an emphasis in construction. “This completely shaped what kind of civil engineer I want to be, and proved to me I want to work in construction.”

As an Engineering Co-Op at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Baltimore, MD., and previously an Estimating Co-Op in the home office in Miamisburg, OH, Gropp was given tasks similar to those of other engineers. At Back River, Gropp was responsible for an embedment list for an entire building, going through drawings and looking for penetrations in concrete.

“Having real responsibility showed me that the company believes in the co-op student’s abilities, and gave me realistic picture of what my every day would be like as an engineer,” she said.

Even though Gropp grew up around construction—her father is a civil engineer and works in construction litigation—she felt a little intimidated at first heading to a construction job site. But interacting with other co-ops and the mentorship from other women at Ulliman Schutte gave her the confidence she needed to thrive.

“My peers and supervisors are very personable, and I really liked the immediate and specific feedback,” Gropp said. “This not only shaped me as a future engineer, with a knowledge of the water infrastructure industry, but also shaped my expectations for what I want out of a company. The Ulliman Schutte Co-Op experience was easily the best commitment I have ever made.”