Rounding out an impressive career at Stevens Institute of Technology, Regina Pynn was recently named the 2011 NJ Cooperative Education Student of the Year. A member of the Class of 2011, Regina graduated with a BE in Mechanical Engineering, an ME in Systems Engineering and a graduate certificate in Space Systems Engineering. During her five years at Stevens, she participated in five co-op assignments, including one with NASA and two with Hamilton Sundstrand, which parlayed into a full-time job offer.
“Once I figured out my career trajectory and knew I was interested in something highly technical in the space industry, I was able to chart that through co-op,” Regina explains. “I tried a bunch of stuff – from working at a toothpaste factory to an HVAC company to the space field – and that allowed me to figure it all out. I had time to really learn and explore what I wanted.”
Working with the co-op office, Regina’s experience was submitted for consideration for both the NJ and the National Cooperative Education Student of the Year awards.
“An exceptionally talented young woman, Regina’s dynamic personality and proactive approach have allowed her to succeed academically, professionally and experientially,” reads the submission from the Office of Cooperative Education at Stevens. “We can attest to Regina’s accomplishments both inside and outside the classroom. Scholar, leader, volunteer, engineer – these words only partially describe this exceptional young woman.”
Regina will receive the award in early June during a special meeting of the NJ Cooperative Education and Internship Association.
This is not the first such accolade for a Stevens student. Celebrating 25 years of cooperative education in 2011, Stevens boasts five NJ Cooperative Education Students of the Year over the past seven years. In addition to Regina, Michael Phipps (’04), Jibu Abraham (’05), Poitr Czerechowski (’06) and Keith Cassidy (’08) have each been awarded this title. In 2005, Daniel Mirota was named the National Cooperative Education Student of the Year by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), a prestigious honor that Keith Cassidy earned as well in 2008.
Along with her coursework and co-op terms, Regina was also extremely active on campus. During her senior year, she served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Stute, prior to which she was a staff writer. She also re-founded Red Shift, the student literary magazine, where she also was Editor-in-Chief, co-founded the student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, was an RA, worked on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade inflation team, and was a member of the Equestrian team. She was awarded a NJ Space Grant Academic Fellowship for her Senior Design work, and has received several leadership awards throughout her years at Stevens.
During her last term at Hamilton Sundstrand in summer 2010, Regina, who was working in the Space division, participated in a mentoring program where she was matched with a mentor who worked on the Aircraft side of the corporation. It was then that she learned about the greater scope of United Technologies Corporation (UTC), the parent company of Hamilton Sundstrand, and that experience led to her receiving an official job offer on the last day of her co-op assignment. Regina will soon join the organization as a Project Engineer based in their Connecticut headquarters.
“Stevens is a great incubator for figuring things out,” Regina says. “I 100% endorse co-op. Co-op is the best decision I made in college. I think everyone should be open to it, learn about it and challenge themselves to succeed in it.”