August 23, 2009
Co-op Experience: Christine Vu
Co-op Employer: Disneyland Resort
Position: Architectural Intern
Benefits of Co-op
Wentworth’s co-op program presented Christine Vu, BSA ’10, with two benefits she had not initially thought of when applying to the Institute. The first was being able to go back to her home state of California for her job; and the second was to fulfill every child’s dream and work for The Walt Disney Company.
“This co-op position aided and supplemented my classroom experience at Wentworth through the knowledge I gained as an intern. I was able to understand, with more depth, the ideas of architecture taught in class because I experienced it at work.”
To say that a six month co-op position as an intern in the Architecture & Facilities Engineering Services Department (A&FE) at Disneyland Resort in California was the opportunity of a lifetime for Vu is an understatement. As part of a team which focused on projects in their annual capital program, Vu was able to work on every aspect of a project, including scope development, design development, contract documents, bidding, constructions, turn over, and maintenance. Some of her specific tasks included field data collection, researching archived documents, preparing concept sketches, and CAD drafting. As time passed, Vu saw her duties increase as she proved to be a valuable asset to her team.
Vu credits her employers for helping her get the most out of her co-op experience. Together they discussed her learning objectives and assigned her tasks to help accomplish her goals. This included building a three dimensional model of the “Enchanted Cottage” to improve her skills in SketchUp (a 3D modeling program).
“In general, my employer and the entire team were so helpful and knowledgeable that just being in their presence was invaluable to my learning experience.”
Vu took away many lessons from her time at Disneyland that will help her as she continues her education at Wentworth and enters the workforce upon graduation. Most importantly, Vu’s co-op reinforced why she wants to be an architect as she was presented the opportunity to handle tasks similar to what an architect is faced with on a daily basis. Although architecture is a very demanding career, Vu now has a greater understanding of the exciting things she will be able to accomplish with her degree.
“I was given the opportunity to participate in every phase of a project, put in situations that were beyond the basics of what is taught in school, treated as an employee, and given the trust to perform the task at hand. Overall, I saw that an architecture career can be overwhelmingly rewarding.”