Senior to graduate with five co-op placements under belt

DETROIT (Nov. 29, 2012) – When Farooq Sheikh graduates with his bachelor’s degree in May, potential employers will take notice. The Wayne State University electrical and computer engineering senior’s resume already is jam-packed with practical and relevant industry experience. 


While working at his Marathon Petroleum co-op in Louisiana,
 Sheikh represented Wayne State by stamping its name on the
tallest tower of the third largest refinery in the United States.


Sheikh began his education at Wayne State with no prior work experience but, thanks to university resources, has already gained a wealth of hands-on career practice through five co-op placements at three different companies.

“There are a lot of resources available for students at Wayne State, and I discovered how to make the most of them,” said Sheikh. 

Sheikh came to Wayne State in 2008 and began looking for a simple job to help support him financially, but he encountered the barriers many first-time job-seekers face.

“During my freshman year, I tried to get a job but it proved to be a challenge when my resume was comprised of only general terms such as hard-working, motivated, quick learner, and so on,” said Sheikh. “Every job required some sort of work experience, and I didn't have any experience because no one would hire me.”

The next summer, Sheikh heard that the College of Engineering’s Connect Services Office was looking for volunteers. Sheikh was hired as a student assistant after working two months as a volunteer.

More confident in his job marketability, Sheikh searched the WSU Career Services website and was offered a co-op position as an embedded systems engineer at automotive company Vector CANtech. He completed a second co-op round at Vector CANtech and then began looking for positions in other industries.

After interviewing with Marathon Petroleum Corporation at the 2011 College of Engineering Career Fair, Sheikh was offered a position as an instrumentation engineer at an oil refinery in Louisiana for the winter 2012 semester. During summer 2012, Sheikh again utilized WSU Career Services to find a part-time internship as an airbag module test engineer at TRW Automotive, a safety systems company. During the summer, Marathon offered Sheikh a second co-op position for the fall 2012 semester, this time as an electrical reliability engineer at the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum. Sheikh gladly accepted the offer, eager to once again travel for work.

“I love that my job sends me off to various locations,” said Sheikh. “In the same calendar year, I have traveled from Detroit to the Gulf of Mexico and around the Midwest, from big cities like New Orleans to small towns with populations in the hundreds. I like the vast cultural differences and all the various people with whom I have worked. I love being able reflect on the things I learned in class during fieldwork.”

Sheikh aspires to be an independent business owner one day, and he is confident that his education and experience from Wayne State will help him achieve his goals.

“I am grateful to Wayne State for providing so many opportunities,” said Sheikh. “The College of Engineering gave me my first break and introduced to me companies such as Vector, TRW and Marathon. Being at Wayne State has been an amazing experience.” 

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Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students. For more information about engineering at Wayne State University, visit

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