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When Marissa Sordillo E'04 came to Northeastern University in the fall of 2000, she got more than she expected.
A stellar student, Sordillo received a $25,000 Legacy Scholarship when she was accepted — $5,000 annually over five years. That, she expected.
But when she met the scholarship's donor, Peter Ogren E'69, president of Hayes Engineering in Wakefield, Mass., she also received a surprise: a co-op job offer at his firm.
"I first met Peter my freshmen year at a Legacy Scholarship luncheon," Sordillo explains, an event designed to introduce student recipients to the alumni and friends who fund their scholarships. "He asked me if I'd like to come in to Hayes for a tour. I had never seen a real-life civil engineering firm."
So Sordillo said yes. And the she said yes again, when, after the tour, Ogren offered her a co-op job. That initial co-op experience at Hayes led to another, and then another, until Ogren offered Sordillo a full-time civil engineering job after graduation.
"Over time, Marissa became a valued employee," says Ogren. And valued employees, in fact, are what led Ogren to fund a Legacy Scholarship at the university in the first place. "Most of our practicing engineers here at Hayes are graduates of Northeastern," he says. "We thought it was a good thing to support."
Efforts like the Legacy Scholarship program are important, Ogren believes, because they encourage promising students to choose Northeastern University over less-expensive state colleges. Sordillo's experience bears this out: "I applied to five or six schools, but Northeastern was my first choice. The scholarship made it possible for me to go," she says.
Though Ogren and Sordillo graduated from Northeastern 35 years apart, uncannily, the two have much in common. Both majored civil engineering and are from the North Shore. Both did co-ops at Hayes Engineering and then went on to full-time jobs at the firm. Both also work at Hayes today: Ogren as president and Sordillo as one of the company's 40 engineers.
"I love my job and I like the variety," Sordillo says. "I never expected that a tour would lead to all of this. I was honored to receive the scholarship and grateful for the opportunity to co-op. Peter really took a chance on me, hiring me when I had no experience. Through Peter and Hayes, I not only got my first good co-op job, I got a start on a career," she concludes. "I learned everything I know at Northeastern and Hayes."
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