What It Means to Be a Co-op at Topic

The cooperative education program at the University of Cincinnati has a detailed set of weights and measures to determine the quality of a co-op. While these fields have been studied and hand picked as the best way to rate a co-op, there are experiences that can't be put on a grade scale. I'm Joel Mercurio and I'm here to elaborate on these subtleties, and where they are found at Topic Design.


Work isn’t work if you're waking up everyday and going to a gathering of friends, instead of a collection of droning co-workers. From the first time I stepped through the door for my interview, I could feel the relaxed vibe of Topic. There was friendly chatter, no cubicles, and my favorite part, no dress code. Topic is a modern, collaborative work environment - not stale nor complacent.

At previous co-op's, I’ve been apart of very organized offices of efficiency where employees are divided into grey scale cubes. While there cubes work for some people, it’s not the most ideal working environment for me. I've always heard of and hoped to be part of a more modern, up to date, start-up type company and I found that at Topic. Topic is living proof that quality and efficiency are found more in freedom and expression than in typical office practices and regulations.

Life as a Co-op

I'm about to wrap up my full time stay at Topic, and so far it's been a great experience. I've had my hands on real projects for clients, participated on client calls, and have learned a whole new programming language (Ruby).

The projects have been challenging and rewarding. From dynamic MVC driven websites to full javascript calculators, there have been plenty of projects to get involved with and learn something new from the developers at Topic.

The office environment itself has been a blast, too. I previously mentioned the laid back, relaxed aura of this office; it has definitely turned into one of my favorite aspects of working here. In my co-op career, I've been through five different companies and can safely say Topic ranks #1, if not a close tie for #1. The work is awesome, the people are even better, and it's in a great location! Although I am wrapping up my full time position here I look forward to continuing building on my experiences during part-time over the school year.