At Ropes & Gray, Co-op Experience Becomes More

December 22, 2016

Kiara Torres (right) works on space planning while on co-op with Ropes & Gray

Kiara Torres (right) works on space planning while on co-op with Ropes & Gray

Wentworth students often find that their initial tenures with a co-op employer turn into much longer stays. For Kiara Torres, BFPM ’17, a one-semester co-op with global law firm Ropes & Gray turned into a full year of experience.

Torres completed her first co-op with the firm between January and April of 2016. She then stayed on part-time from May through August before accepting another co-op with the firm for the fall semester.

A guest lecture in one of Torres’ facilities management classes by Ashley White, a senior operations coordinator at Ropes & Gray, made an impression and played a role in Torres’s decision to pursue a co-op with the firm.

“The lecture really opened my eyes to space planning,” Torres says.  “After her presentation, I knew that one day I would love the opportunity to work with Ashley at Ropes & Gray.”

Torres found a facilities co-op position listed on the Center for Cooperative Education and Careers website and “jumped at the opportunity.”

Torres has spent much of her time at Ropes & Gray conducting space-planning work. She helps negotiate space for new employees, moves existing people and workspaces, manages various work order systems, and audits security systems across 11 worldwide offices.

“Space planning can become a rather complicated puzzle, and I have to look at all the moving pieces,” she says.

Torres is also proud of the work she conducted on the Pro Morale Space project, in which she explored options for converting a cafeteria seating area into a breakout and lounge space.

“Since I have the trust of people in my department, I was able to take on this project and lead the initiatives,” she says. Tasks included research and presentations to the department and chief of real estate and the office’s managing partners. Torres worked within a budget of $150,000, and had free reign over design and furniture.

Torres credits her Wentworth education for providing knowledge of real-world workplace scenarios. She also notes a class with professor Margot Chamberlin, in which she designed a mock law firm, providing a chance to learn details of space planning including hierarchy, culture, and office standards.

Torres plans to continue with Ropes & Gray in 2017. She will work part-time with the firm during the spring semester.

“I originally chose my co-op for the great work and learning opportunity I would find,” she says, “and I couldn’t be happier.”

--Greg Abazorius

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