Oct 6, 2010
Hello fellow Bearcats! My name is Mike Niese. I am starting my senior year in the College of Business majoring in Industrial Management. I would like to take the chance to share with you highlights from my journey this summer in the Second-City, the Windy City, the beautiful city of Chicago.
In previous Co-op experiences, I had worked with Chiquita in downtown Cincy. There, I was doing supply chain and network optimization. I wanted to get more hands on, however, so I traveled to the Chiquita owned Fresh Express salads bagging facility in Franklin Park, IL to begin my work for the summer. My position at Fresh Express was as a production assistant. I spent much of my time on the floor observing the production lines and trying to find areas for improvement and to limit the downtime of the bagging machines. It was a great opportunity to learn hands on in a manufacturing environment, something that I had no previous experience with.
Apart from work, I had all sorts of opportunities to get around the city. Because I lived in an apartment in Schiller Park, which is just east of O’Hare,I didn’t get to experience Chicago quite as much as I would have liked. But with my girlfriend, sister, and parents all making weekend visits, they definitely helped me get around town. I went to the Field Museum, top of the John Hancock Center, saw the Broadway show Billy Elliot, played a round of golf at Cog Hill, went on a architectural river tour, saw a White Sox game, went to the beach, and caught the Tim McGraw concert down in Tinley Park…and that was all packed into just three different weekends! My roommate, a Chicago native, also took me out on numerous occasions to experience the city. From horse races to softball to night life, I saw a lot of what Chicago had to offer in my three short months.
On top of all that, I had the fortune to get connected with the UCAA Chicago Chapter. With Dave Watkins’ help, I was able to get in touch with some fellow Bearcats while in town. I attended the UC watch party for the disappointing Fresno State game, went to the UCAA Cubs game at Wrigley (my first time watching a game there), and also attended one of the UC Sendoffs for new freshman where I was able to give a current student’s perspective and refresh my tour guide skills in the process! Dave and I are still in touch to this day, and I am very thankful for everything he did to connect me with other proud Bearcats while I was in Chicago..
Overall, the three quick months I spent in Chicago were immensely valuable to my growth as a student, as a professional, and as a well rounded person. Co-ops are a great way for students to gain professional experience while still in school. Being involved in numerous student organizations back at UC such as the Student Alumni Council, ROAR tour guides, and RallyCats, I have been able to thoroughly enjoy my college experience thus far. Still, living and working in Chicago for the summer was an unforgettable, immensely rewarding experience that has proven to be a great spring board going into my senior year at UC. Go Bearcats!!!
P.S. If anyone has any questions or would like to hear more on my perspective as a student, feel free to contact me. I love sharing my UC experiences with fellow Bearcats! Thank you!