Students Make Real-World Impact in Utility Industry
Stephanie Arredondo just helped launch a first-ever, $1 million LED lighting incentive campaign for wholesalers for one of the country’s largest electric utilities.
And she did it as a college freshman while interning at Southern California Edison.
Arredondo is one of about 150 students currently employed as paid interns throughout SCE. And their talents are being used on projects that have a direct impact on the company.
“This is the first company I’ve worked for and I’m still surprised at how much they trust me with real work,” said the 19-year-old who is majoring in marketing and operations and supply chain management at Drexel University. “Work that can have a direct effect on the company’s success.”
Through an intensive application process, Arredondo was selected to work full time in the Customer Service department and is currently involved with several projects. Other interns have been assigned to various areas, including electric vehicles, emerging technologies and customer experience.
And the interns are learning real-world skills they can use in their future careers.
Tony Stevenson, 24, is in his last semester at Cal State University Northridge where he will soon earn a degree in electrical engineering. Currently, he’s at SCE’s North Coast office in Valencia where one of his projects involves Automatic Reclosers, devices that help protect SCE’s equipment and ensure the safety of the public.
It’s work he never thought he’d be doing, although his mom always wanted him to be an engineer.
“As a kid, my mom would always say to me, “You’re going to be an engineer,”’ said Stevenson, the first in his family to go to college. “She wanted me to have a job that was respected.”
He added, “My strong suit was math so it seemed like a good fit. I have always gotten satisfaction out of solving difficult problems.”
The interns recently showcased their skills at the first Edison Intern Project Expo sponsored by SCE’s University and Campus Relations team.
“The expo provides interns the visibility and opportunity to interact and network with leaders and employees across the enterprise,” said Leanne Hua, SCE Human Relations consultant who helped organize the event. “This is a great outlet for interns to truly show how they have contributed to the company through their internship experience.”
Leo Labra, an SCE Human Relations consultant and co-organizer of the expo, believes it’s important to invest in young talent, especially in a quickly changing utility industry.
“Interns bring in fresh, innovative ideas and perspectives to the traditional way of doing things,” he said.
In addition to academic excellence, applicants for the competitive internship go through two rounds of interviews, including a face-to-face meeting.
Most of the SCE internships run through the summer.
“It’s been inspiring to work here. There are so many smart and talented individuals,” said Arredondo. “At the end of the day, I’m able to help people, our customers, save money and install energy-efficient technology”