During her undergraduate years, Victoria Maroon spent a total of nearly two years in co-op jobs at Creative Materials in Ayer, Mass., Pfizer in Andover, Mass., C. R. Bard-Davol Inc. in Warwick, R.I., and EMD Millipore in Billerica, Mass.

"From all of these co-op experiences, I realized what industry I wanted to work in and what I actually wanted to do as a career,” says Maroon, a chemical engineering student. “I was fortunate to be able to experience so many different areas and positions in companies which gave me a clearer picture of where my career will take me.”

Maroon first worked as lab technician at Creative Materials, which develops and manufactures specialty inks, adhesives and coatings for electronic and medical applications. “I helped their head research and design engineer complete projects for major clients, and it was the first time I ever saw my contributions add up for a company. I enjoyed working there because I immediately felt like I was part of the family.”

As a validation engineer at the global biopharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Maroon was trained on the company’s maintenance management software and documentation procedures. “I worked with a lot of students from all over Massachusetts and had one of the best summers of my life getting to know these fellow co-ops and our supervisors. The projects I worked on actually benefited me during my senior-year capstone project.”

At Davol, a market leader in products for hernia repair, specialized surgical procedures and biologic implants, Maroon was hired as a research and design engineer, working on projects for the company’s implantable hernia meshes. “This was one of the best working experiences I’ve ever had. I was viewed and treated as a full-time employee instead of a co-op student. I was given multiple responsibilities and was pushed to use my problem-solving skills on various projects. During this time I also honed my organizational and time-management skills, balancing lab experiments, meetings and training in all areas of the company in a fast-paced work environment.”

At EMD Millipore, Maroon worked as a market research associate. Millipore specializes in biotechnology and pharmaceutical drug therapies and generates revenues totaling $2.8 billion.

“I chose this co-op position because I have a business minor and wanted to see the business side of engineering companies,” she says. “Again, I met amazing co-workers and had a very rewarding summer working on a project to expand the company’s target markets and identify customers for their products.”

She adds: “UMass Lowell has prepared me well for the working world. The rigorous course curriculum and lab projects helped me develop my attention to detail and teamwork skills. I learned how to identify my teammates’ strengths and weaknesses and how to complement their work in order to get the project done and done well. I also learned how to communicate effectively in person, through presentations, meetings and reports.”

After completing graduate studies, Maroon wants to work in the medical device industry as a research and design engineer. “My goal is to work with implantable devices to improve surgical techniques and facilitate post-surgical recovery for patients,” she says.