Young minds are like sponges.
In order for learning to take place, however, they must pick something up, look at it, touch it, feel it, turn it around, try to find out what it’s for and what can be done with it.
That is exactly what CPS Energy’s interns have spent the entire summer doing – and last week, they got to hear from those who’ve already succeeded.
Almost 30 interns, from programs such as Inspire U, Student Assistance for Education (SAFE), Students Interested in Technical Education (SITE), and College interns met with CPS Energy’s Senior Leadership Team.
The messages they heard were powerful, the interns said.
“The advice (they) shared was differed from the usual ‘work hard to succeed’ advice,” said Adam Bolin, 17, a student at Communication Arts High School interning in the Communication Engineering Department.
Instead, Bolin said, it was about “each person knowing and using their strengths while striving to be a memorable individual, something I found very unique and insightful.”
Jenna Saucedo, chief of staff to CEO Doyle Beneby, started the presentation by introducing each member of the leadership team to the interns. They briefly described what they do at CPS Energy and what habits helped them achieve success.
For Jelynne LeBlanc Burley, executive vice President and chief administrative officer, that includes the drive to succeed, being self disciplined about your work, having specific goals and being open to learning as you go.
She also counseled the interns to give back.
“Bring someone with you,” as you strive toward your destination, she said. “That’s what it is all about. It’s about service.”
Maria Koudouris, senior vice president of customer service and gas delivery, had a similar message.
When you’re taught new information, she said, be able to turn around and teach it to others: “What you teach is a reflection of you. Whoever teaches you is a reflection back on them.”
The interns were thrilled to make connections with senior leadership.
“I was able to set up a lunch date with one of the executives who happens to know some engineering and I will be talking to him and discussing schools,” said Max Tesalona, 17.
Tesalona attends DATA, a magnet school at Roosevelt High School. He’s interning in the Civil Engineering Department, and plans to study engineering in college.
Alexander Curiel, a college intern in the Office of the President, was impressed that the senior team took the time to talk to the interns directly.
A business major at the University of Southern California, Curiel believes they did so in part because the interns themselves have a lot to offer.
It’s “a testament to the appreciation of the ambition and hard work demonstrated by the interns this summer,” he said.
Tania Hernandez, 21, is a college intern in the Integrated Resource Planning Department and a student at the University of Texas at San Antonio studying mechanical engineering. This is her fifth summer interning for CPS Energy.
She said she’ll definitely take the advice she heard at the breakfast.
“They all know what it takes to be successful,” she said.