January 21, 2009

Co-op Experience: Allison Wellman

"My Chapman co-op was a great experience, and I know it will help me in the future."

Co-op Employers: Chapman Construction/Design
Position: Assistant Project Manager

Allison Wellman chose to attend Wentworth primarily because she saw the co-op experience as an invaluable asset after graduation. For two years in a row, Allison has participated in a co-op at Chapman Construction/Design. During her first year, she was given the opportunity to go out into the field and experience building. She was able to see how the construction process works from the supervisor’s on-site perspective. She also helped design and draw plans for the Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) renovation and solar panel addition that Chapman was performing on their office. This year Allison has continued to work on the office renovation and has been able to focus on earning LEED credits for the project.

“Chapman gave me the opportunity to really dig into LEED for their project and to take the LEED AP exam. I am now LEED certified as I just passed the exam! At Chapman, I create renderings, plans, section, and any other necessary drawings. I have done a lot of analysis, documentation and calculations geared towards achieving LEED credits for the project. I attended expos to help network for green building and I am involved in other sustainable projects. I have also worked in the field, estimating and doing other construction management duties.”

Allison’s responsibilities have increased significantly since she started at Chapman last year, allowing her to learn a great deal about every aspect of the construction industry.

“A lot of times one of the biggest problems on a project is when the architect and contractor don’t get along. There is often a barrier and even possibly a lack of respect due to not fully understanding the importance and/or difficulty of each individual’s job. I feel that I have been able to bridge the gap between the two professions, and that I can understand the importance of working together on a project because of my experiences at Chapman. They have really given me the opportunity to see construction projects from every angle”

Chapman has been a great place for Allison to complete her two co-ops, enabling her to gain valuable professional experience.

“My co-workers encouraged me to ask questions, and they have helped me organize my projects better. I have had a much wider range of tasks at Chapman than I could have had at other places. Most of all, they have treated me as an equal and have always been concerned with helping me succeed and continue learning.”

Allison got in contact with Chapman at the Wentworth career fair. Hoping to obtain a unique position in the construction field, she showed Chapman her ‘teaser sheet’ with some drawings. Chapman saw her as a good match for their solar panel project, and they agreed on a position that would combine working in the field and on solar panels.

“I think I got pretty lucky. I showed the right drawings to the right company, and I knew immediately it was the right fit. I would suggest starting to look early so you can make sure you find the co-op you want.”

As a result of her co-op experience with Chapman, Allison can confidently say that her future will be in the construction business.

“I am confident going into my thesis year that all of my experiences in sustainable design at Chapman will influence my final projects, which will take on “green” characteristics. All of the LEED and sustainable experience will definitely come with me wherever I go. Who knows, if I’m lucky, I might even end up back at Chapman!” 

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