Monday December 5, 2016

From Career Fair to Co-op to Career at Cargill: Nicolas Esparza Knows Where He’s Going

Nicolas Esparza, senior chemical engineering major, chose to venture outside of the classroom to gain real-world experience in engineering problem solving, capital projects, data and root cause analysis and equipment maintenance through the School of Engineering’s Cooperative Education Program.

For five work terms, Nick worked at Cargill, where he applied his classroom skills and knowledge in the professional engineering world.

Nick first interacted with Cargill during a Minority Engineering Program (MEP) workshop, where a University of Dayton alumnus shared Cargill information and opportunities. Later, Nick met the same alumnus at the University’s Career Fair and secured an interview. In May 2014, after his sophomore year, Nick began his Cargill co-op journey.

At Cargill, he used his engineering capabilities for problem solving in management, operations and maintenance. During his first rotation, Nick traveled to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he worked two terms at their soybean processing facility. He followed Fayetteville with a double work term at Cargill’s malt business in Spiritwood, North Dakota. His final co-op work term was closer to home at an oil refinery in Sidney, Ohio – Food Service Oils.

As Nick says, “Working in a production environment, I was able to learn how things actually function in real-life applications versus how equipment is theoretically supposed to function in a textbook. By working with people from management, operations and maintenance, I can say that I have worked with folks from all walks of life who have helped me to personally mature.”

The Cooperative Education Program at the School of Engineering was proud to learn that Cargill made Nick a full-time offer that he accepted. He is excited to continue his engineering career with Cargill at their Texturizing Solutions plant in Hammond, Indiana, after he graduates from the University of Dayton in May 2017.

Congratulations, Nick!

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