As a Project Lead at Sandbox ― one of Northeastern University’s student-led software development organizations ― Cindy Luo embraces the importance of working in immersive, hands-on roles during her time as a computer science student.

At Sandbox, students tackle real-world projects for clients in a team setting. The students involved in the organization are go-getters, consistently seeking opportunities outside of the classroom to gain purposeful engineering experience.

In her second year at the Khoury College of Computer Sciences, Cindy was eager to pursue a co-op position through which she could make a lasting impact along with her work through Sandbox.

That’s when Cindy joined the Engineering team at Paperless Parts. Seven months later, her work has impacted not only the present operations of Paperless Parts’ customers but also the future of the American manufacturing industry.

Cindy credits the impactful nature of her co-op experience firstly to the emphasis the engineering team places on what its co-ops get out of their time at Paperless Parts. Rather than simply assigning work that needs to be completed, the team cares about the learning aspect of the role. This has allowed Cindy to explore different perspectives in computer science and develop her skills in formerly unfamiliar areas.

The receptiveness of the team to Cindy’s ideas has also shaped her ability to contribute to the company and its customers. She explains how her voice as a co-op has been valued on the team, noting, “They treat me as a normal software engineer rather than a co-op or an intern.”

When it comes to how Cindy has impacted the industry through her role over the past several months, she says she sees it most clearly through the customer feedback on the work she has done. After building a crucial revision feature, for example, there was tremendous positive feedback from customers that allowed her to see just how direct and meaningful her work is for users.

“Paperless Parts has everything you should experience as a co-op,” Cindy said of why this has been the ideal position for her. “Everything that you do here will make a significant impact on the product and on the customers.”

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