Trevor Vandermeer

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Trevor Vandermeer

Department: Chemical Engineering

Co-op: Roche Colorado

"Working with professionals in a corporate environment allowed me to apply knowledge I had learned in the classroom to my work, as well as acquire new knowledge that could later be applied in the classroom."

A couple of years ago, Bev Louie, co-op director for the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, visited Trevor Vandermeer’s classroom to tell students about a job opportunity with Roche Colorado, a pharmaceutical research company. Trevor submitted his resume, and after an interview, received the job. Before graduating in May 2007, Trevor completed three co-op rotations with Roche Colorado, performing new assignments every time.

“My work involved many aspects of chemical engineering to which I had little exposure at the time I started, such as separation techniques and automation,” says Trevor. “Working with professionals in a corporate environment allowed me to apply knowledge I had learned in the classroom to my work, as well as acquire new knowledge that could later be applied in the classroom.”

Trevor’s assignments included investigating new processes for development of an existing drug, leading a team on a research project, and investigating different formulations for a drug to be used in a clinical trial. Having numerous assignments gave Trevor an opportunity to experience various aspects of the chemical engineering field and reaffirmed his career path, working with pharmaceuticals by means of process or automation engineering.    

“Having a year of professional experience not only looks great on a resume, but allows me to speak with confidence about what I have learned from both the working and academic worlds. The relationships that I developed at Roche I still maintain, which I see as a great benefit that could not be found in the classroom,” Trevor says.

Working for Roche Colorado helped Trevor to polish his professional skills. Trevor shares the following advice for students participating in a co-op:

  • “Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know the answer.  Your supervisor and other people at the company know you are a student and don’t know everything about the job, so they are usually more than willing to help if you are stuck on a problem.”
  • “Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion if you think something could be accomplished in a more efficient, timely manner.  Companies are always open to suggestions on how to be more efficient.”
  • “Professional communication is another important key to being successful at your co-op job.  Always address people with respect, and in turn, you will earn respect from your co-workers.”

Trevor recommends the Co-op program as a way to gain experience and earn money.  According to Trevor, “Co-op is the ultimate scholarship.”

Important Announcements

December 2014 Engineering Recognition Ceremony to be held at Macky Auditorium on December 19, 2014.

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