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A&M-Texarkana and Cooper Tire Partner for Internship Program

Published: January 21, 2015

Texas A&M University-Texarkana has long been known for its outstanding faculty, commitment to education, and support of the local community, but never has that been more apparent than now.  Several companies in Texarkana and the surrounding areas are now requesting and relying on TAMUT students for their interns and ultimately their permanent work force, and one of those companies is Cooper Tire.  Cooper Tire has been a vital part of the Texarkana area since the 1960s and is now utilizing the human resources that A&M-Texarkana can provide to enhance its workforce.

Currently, Cooper Tire has three A&M-Texarkana students in an engineering internship program.  These students are enrolled in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics College (STEM), majoring in engineering, and in addition to the world-class education they are getting from the university; they are enriching their studies with hands-on experience at the local Cooper Tire plant.  In addition to its long history of utilizing college interns, Cooper Tire also has close ties with The Texas A&M University System.  The current plant manager started his career at Cooper Tire as an intern, several of their current full-time technicians are A&M System graduates, and many employees have returned to Texas A&M-Texarkana to receive degrees after beginning work at the plant.

The current TAMUT interns are Melissa Reynolds, Caleb Sparks, and Daniel Bryan; Daniel graduated during December’s Commencement and has an offer in the works with Cooper Tire for full time employment.  Mr. Kenny Barbosa, Human Resource Manager at Cooper Tire says “The A&M-Texarkana interns are of the utmost value to us as an organization.  Some of these kids are homegrown, local kids, or they have lived on campus for a few years, so they know what’s here and what opportunities they have in Texarkana.  This program gives them the chance to stay here, work, and raise a family.”  He also stated “throughout our history, many of our interns have stayed on full-time in Information Technology or Engineering.  This program can only help the community grow economically by keeping the students here.”

Kenneth Irizarry, Instructor of Engineering and Science Education at TAMUT, says “this partnership, along with other partnerships in the community, makes the connection to academics in the workplace.”  He added “with our current industry partners, and collaboration with Texarkana Independent School District’s Martha and Josh Morriss Mathematics & Engineering Elementary School, we are well-positioned to be the “go-to” higher education institution for home-grown STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) support.”

Dr. Donald Peterson, Dean of the STEM College, added “Engineering education does not typically provide students with experience in actual working environments.  Through relevant internships opportunities, students can not only validate career paths but also obtain practical real-world training.  From the perspective of the companies offering internships, they are investing in the future of their workforce as student training often leads to full-time job placement following graduation.”

For more information on the Texas A&M University-Texarkana STEM College or Engineering Program, contact Mr. Irizarry at 903-223-3041, or visit www.tamut.edu

TAMUT Intern Caleb Sparks reviewing an assignment with Human Resource Director Kenny Barbosa, and smiling for the camera at the Cooper Tire plant.

TAMUT intern Caleb Sparks

TAMUT intern Caleb Sparks

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