As Eliza Ramirez maneuvered the hilly, winding path leading up to the California Polytechnic University Pomona student center, she noticed that, aside from some construction to expand the campus, little had changed since she graduated two years ago. Walking into the big angular building, she recalled the uncertainty she felt as a student waiting to start her career.
Ramirez recently returned to her alma mater as one of 20 Southern California Edison engineers who volunteered to be part of the Cal Poly Pomona – SCE Corporate Mentorship Program. The 10-week program aims to help engineering students connect with someone in the industry and receive guidance about career opportunities.
“In school, I was fortunate enough to try different things and eventually find out what I wanted to do,” she said. “Not everyone has that time or financial opportunity. Through this program, students can learn about it firsthand. Sometimes students graduate and their expectations don’t align with their careers.”
Ramirez wants to provide her mentee with a real world, day-to-day perspective as an engineer and give her some insight about the innovative science and technology involved in her work.
Many of the SCE engineers work in Grid Modernization, where they are working to modernize the electric grid by supporting the continued growth and integration of key environmental technologies. Cal Poly Pomona engineering students applied to fill 20 spots in the pilot mentorship program.
Senior Travon Dent knows firsthand how important electricity is after growing up in a home that didn’t always have power. Fueled by his experience, Dent wants to work in power-related fields to make energy more efficient and accessible to less affluent families.
“This mentorship is a great opportunity to help me prepare for my career by connecting me with people in the field on a more personal level,” said Dent, who is majoring in electrical engineering. “I’m excited to ask my mentor questions about his work and accomplishments and learn about how he got to where he is now in his career.”
While the mentorship program is aimed toward helping students navigate the energy industry and engineering as a career, it also allows SCE to develop relationships with bright young minds and highlight future internship opportunities. It’s not uncommon for SCE interns to be converted into full-time employees.
“That’s a commitment that Edison has with all the students -- you are the future,” said Dana Cabbell, SCE principal manager of Electric System Planning, who spoke to the students at the program’s launch. “You are the ones who are going to take over and push the electrical industry forward and we recognize that.”
Ramirez, who also interned at SCE, hopes the mentorship program will open the door for students to have real, hands-on work as an engineer.
“Now that I’m on the other side, it’s my turn to give back,” she said.
Visit for more information about internship opportunities at SCE: http://www.edison.com/home/careers/students-recent-grads.html