Thanks to the Pacific Cooperative Education Program (CO-OP), Gavin Tan ’20, an engineering management major, has had the chance to make a dream come true by working for Daimler AG in Germany. CO-OP is an experiential internship program for students of the School of Engineering and Computer Science.
With a lifelong love of cars motivating his choice of major, Tan wanted to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by CO-OP to complete an engineering internship at an automotive company. After spending time online watching videos of cars, he was motivated to explore the automotive industry further and emailed his faculty advisor, Dr. Abel Fernandez.
“I didn’t think much of that email after that, until one day Dr. Fernandez sent me an email asking if I am free the next day, as there are some professors from Aalen University in Germany who are visiting Stockton,” said Tan. “He said there may be a potential opportunity to work at Daimler, and he wanted to introduce me. Can you imagine? I send my advisor a simple email over summer, and months later, not only does he remember, but he has a potential internship opportunity in the automotive industry that he wants to connect me with.”
As a result of that initial email exchange, Tan landed an internship at Daimler Trucks where he has worked in the purchasing department with diesel truck-exhaust system parts and to ensure after-treatment systems align on a global level. He also has gained experience in negotiating contracts and was involved with the establishment of a global lead-buying workshop. Although working in a German-speaking environment was a challenging adjustment, Tan is thrilled with his experience at Daimler. “The nature of my work is exciting; you really feel like the time you put in saves the company money today,” Tan says. “I think the coolest thing is each morning when I walk into the plant, I see the Mercedes Benz logo spinning atop the office building and I tell myself, ‘Dude, you work in the flagship building of the headquarters of Daimler!’ It’s been five months, and so far, that hasn’t gotten old yet!”
Tan’s experiences at Daimler will definitely shape his future ambitions. He wants to pursue a career in intellectual property and patent law as in-house legal counsel for a company such as Daimler. “I think my CO-OP experience should come in handy when I am applying for jobs after graduation,” he says. At the same time, he is grateful to Dr. Fernandez and other faculty at the School of Engineering and Computer Science for their support. “It really is the dedication of the faculty that serves as the backbone for the educational experience at Pacific.”