Raisa Sharif, BS/MS Computer Engineering ’25

The Co-Op

I didn’t expect my co-op to put me in the center of an interagency effort to address the needs of people without homes or those with addiction or mental health needs. But it did, and I love it. I’m working as a management analyst in SEPTA’s Surface Operations Division. My role is to maintain records related to SEPTA’s SCOPE (Safety, Cleaning, Ownership, Partnership, Engagement) initiative. That includes monitoring the deployment of social service workers from three nonprofit organizations who offer resources to those in need. This experience has exposed me to all levels of management that I hoped for, and I’ve gotten to meet Gov. Tom Wolf, Rep. Matt Bradford, SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards and even Bon Jovi!

The Object

This is a map I created of stations within SEPTA’s system, highlighting hot spots where vulnerable populations congregate. Volunteers and outreach workers used it on a night in February to tally homeless persons on the street and in SEPTA stations for a biannual point-in-time count that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires from each county.

The Takeaway

Observing the interactions between different agencies, I’ve come to appreciate how important collaboration and partnerships are. I’ve also learned that I thrive in a hybrid environment that combines remote and in-person work. As the first person to tackle this job in the first year of a fairly new program, it’s been exciting to help put the pieces of the puzzle together. And it’s confirmed that I love working in my home city, Philadelphia.

In a typical year, more than 92 percent of Drexel’s undergraduates participate in the Drexel Co-op program — the University’s signature model of education that balances classroom theory with job experience. What does a Drexel co-op look like? In this regular feature, we ask Raisa Sharif, who spent her first co-op tracking social service delivery on SEPTA subways, to show us.