March 26, 2010

Co-op Experience: Charlie Carnevale

"Overall I think that without this co-op I would not know what to expect in the software engineering industry."

Computer Science (BCOS) ’10
Co-op Employer: General Dynamics
Position: Software Engineering Intern

Building Confidence

Entering the computer science program, Charlie Carnevale was slightly intimidated by the number of male students in her classes. Despite this, Carnevale aimed high when it came to choosing her first co-op. She was offered a position as a software engineering intern in the Department of Advanced Information Systems at General Dynamics, the fifth largest defense contractor in the world.

“My co-op position has impacted me in various ways but the one that stands on the most is the confidence it has given me as a female in computer science. Once I began working I proved I was just as qualified as the rest of my classmates and that I can make it in a male-dominated industry.”

Real-World Experience

In her position, Carnevale tested systems that communicated the software with the missile guidance system and the software which ran the fire control system of a ship submersible ballistic submarine. When she returned to General Dynamics for a second co-op, she took on more responsibility and was even in charge of a small group to tackle larger projects. Carnevale reviewed codes to ensure developers followed the company’s standards, created help guides for new employees, and unit tested code for other developers.

“My manager did not check on me several times a day, but instead trusted me to come to him if I had a question about my assignment. This made the experience feel like a job, rather than a co-op.”

Ahead of the Curve

The co-op at General Dynamics gave Carnevale fervor in the classroom, and instilled a desire to learn more. She was also introduced to a design language that is now being taught in her classes, providing an advantage in her studies. Carnevale feels she is ahead of the game when looking for a job post-graduation, as she has already received job offers.

“I learned a lot about project management skills. Overall I think that without this co-op I would not know what to expect in the software engineering industry.”

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