Cook Selected as Spring 2024 Outstanding Co-op Student

By Natalie Bonner

Cameron Cook holding his award.

Cameron Cook, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, was selected as the spring 2024 Outstanding Co-op Student by the Engineering Career Development Center. Cook completed his first semester of co-op with International Paper during the spring 2024 semester at the Riverdale Mill in Selma, Alabama, under the leadership of a mechanical integrity engineer in the reliability department.

“I spent my time in the reliability department, and my main project was to produce a map of the over 350 pressure safety valves on the mill site,” Cook said. “Since my project required me to go all over the mill, I had the opportunity to really learn my way around the mill as well as get a good understanding of the overall process from a recently cut tree to a ream of copy paper or roll of linerboard. I also helped with the replacement of several [pressure safety valves] as we replace or repair them every few years to ensure they function properly, which has given me a respect for maintaining the equipment that makes sure everyone gets home the same way they showed up.”

Cook will continue to participate in co-op rotations with International Paper. Co-op, which stands for cooperative education, allows students to gain professional experience while completing their studies.

“Participating in the co-op program has provided me with meaningful work experience that allows me to see the applications of principles discussed in class,” Cook said.

Cook’s supervisors were impressed by his dedication, as he volunteered for 12-hour workdays, and his courage to speak on safety concerns.

“For a young man, very early in his career, Cameron displays a maturity and work ethic that is not so common anymore,” Cook’s manager, Holly Harvey, said. “He doesn’t shy away from new challenges and always seems eager to learn by asking questions and observing others.”

Cook expressed his appreciation for International Paper and the University, stating that co-op has allowed him to understand more clearly the career path he is interested in.

“I am very grateful and proud to have won this award, and it makes me happy to know that I am doing good work and am hopefully on the path to becoming a successful engineer,” Cook said. “I am appreciative to UA for the knowledge and tools they have provided so far and will continue to provide during my college journey and hope I will serve as a good example of the quality of UA and the College of Engineering.”

To learn more about the College’s co-op program, visit



In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s College of Engineering has more than 5,200 students and more than 170 faculty. In recent years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Boren, Mitchell and Truman scholars.

Author: Natalie Bonner    /    Posted on: June 28, 2024    /    Posted in:   Awards and Honors, Mechanical Engineering