Hispanic Heritage Month – NES’s Experience with Two Interns from Glencliff High School via the Conexión Américas Escalera program

Rashed Fakhruddin, Engineering Supervisor, Nashville Electric Service interns in Control Design projects-staff meetingThe opportunity to job shadow a professional working in your desired career is an incredibly valuable experience. For Metro Nashville Public School (MNPS) students, it’s also a requirement. During fall break, Nashville Electric Service (NES) had the opportunity to welcome two aspiring engineers from Glencliff High School through the Conexión Américas Escalera program, which works with young adults who will be first generation college students in their families.

Carlos H. and Adiel A. were motivated and eager to learn. On their first day, I had planned to briefly meet with a professor and a Vanderbilt baseball player during my lunch break with my two sons. Carlos and Adiel accompanied me for the trip. Besides meeting with second baseman Tyler Campbell, I introduced them to one of my electrical engineering college professors and a civil engineering professor whom I had sat in on his dissertation rehearsal in 1987 during my freshman year. The students then got to sit in on an engineering class and visit a robotics/automobile lab on campus.

On our second day lunch break, we played two games of full court basketball. Ouch! My back is still asking for relief! What I didn’t realize is that Carlos and Adiel were captains of their cross country team that had just won district. Coincidental, my wife and I had just watched the movie McFarland USA earlier that week, a very inspiring true story that had been featured during Hispanic Heritage Month.

interns w Vandy baseball star tyler campbellThroughout the week, these bright students got an overview of NES’ substation controls and communication designs. They learned about system protection and distribution planning. They visited the test and system control departments and got to observe the very impressive SCADA operations center. They were active participants in our project meetings, helped gather and compile information from protective relay sheets and organized electrical drawings to fit inside our storage cabinets.

In total, Carlos and Adiel completed 40 hours of work at NES and have the soft skillset required to succeed along with an excellent work ethic.

MNPS has been working hard to get students prepared to graduate and pursue post-secondary education and a successful career. As a business partner, NES plays an important role in complementing the work that MNPS does. By providing practical experience of the theory that is taught in the classroom, students can connect the dots and become better prepared for the workforce. Experiential learning opportunities show students that great opportunities can be obtained through a quality education. Internships and job shadowing specifically provide advanced training and exposure to growing career fields.

Interns at Vandy w Prof MazitaI hope that one day in the future, Carlos and Adiel will have the opportunity, after receiving their college degrees, to return to NES as full-time engineering employees.