Engineering student William Holman was one of three winners of the Ohio Cool Co-op Contest, sponsored by the Ohio Cooperative Education Association (OCEA).

In the spring and summer between his junior and senior years, Holman, a civil-engineering major, completed a co-op with Transystems Corporation as a bridge engineer, which included applying what he had learned in the classroom about bridge mechanics on visual inspections of various Ohio bridges, some more than 220 feet high.

“I immediately realized I had picked the correct field,” he said of the experience. Holman spent many days climbing complex bridges throughout Cuyahoga County and Cincinnati for the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Cuyahoga County Engineers Office. He would spend ten-hour days walking under the bridges, wearing a harness and lanyard attached to a static line along the bridge in order to perform routine visual inspections of the beams carrying traffic.

“There are numerous challenges in bridge inspection include dealing with the heights in precarious situations, enduring the physical pain of climbing, and handling the potentially toxic environment often under bridges,” said Holman of his co-op. “In working through all of the challenges, I gained experience and found myself immensely rewarded as both an engineer and as a person, which is definitely pretty cool!”

Holman is currently pursuing his master’s degree in civil engineering.

The purpose of the Ohio Cool Co-op contest is to encourage students to share their stories  about their engineering learning experiences and their contributions to companies in Ohio. The OCEA is comprised of Ohio colleges, universities and employers. The overall mission of the OCEA is to strengthen the functioning of cooperative education through the active interchange of ideas and experiences for Ohio institutions of higher education, employers/organizations and individuals.