As an engineering intern that analyzes data for energy management and gas services projects, it’s easy for me to keep my head down and focus only on technical work. However, a recent Intern Retreat challenged me to get social while learning how my role fits into the bigger picture at CPS Energy and take steps now to advance my career.
I joined about 50 other interns to speed network with CPS Energy team members in various positions ranging from gas planning to senior leadership.
We went beyond socializing and getting exposure. I gained insight about some of my current projects. One of my responsibilities is updating and supporting our database that monitors and analyzes our energy and gas grid. A new initiative aims to provide this data to other departments. As I speed networked, I discussed applications of our database with team members in Gas Planning, and Energy Supply & Market Operations, two very different departments. I learned how my work can impact theirs.
Several senior leaders joined us to offer advice, including Lisa Lewis, VP of People and Culture, Kent Landrum, VP of Enterprise Service & Chief Information Officer, and John Bonnin, VP of Energy Supply and Market Operations. Lewis shared about the value of gaining work experience through internships. She pointed out careers of today’s students are very different from those of older generations. My generation may work many different careers as opposed to one lifetime career. Her talk made me realize that I had no idea where I would be working in ten years. I knew I would need to take more practical steps to ensure future success.
Landrum and Bonnin encouraged us to develop a strong business network. The people I’ve met here have already provided excellent mentoring. In my future job search, they could help me with references and connections. The senior leaders also pointed out it was important to understand how the skills I learn now can later be transferred to different departments and companies.
After an interactive learning experience in the morning, we got a chance to experience CPS Energy’s commitment to volunteerism. Interns and mentors worked together at the San Antonio Food Bank to bag veggies for families in need. We contributed to the food bank’s goal of providing six million meals for kids during critical summer months.
When my internship ends this summer, I’ll be better prepared for my junior year at the University of Texas at Austin where I’m studying mechanical engineering. I gained hands-on experience working on advanced systems directly with experts. I’m grateful for this chance to get out of the classroom and learn in the real world so I can successfully pursue a job as a control systems engineer someday.