For my STEP project, I completed an internship with Public Service Electric & Gas, or PSE&G. It is an electric and gas utility covering the New Jersey area. I worked as the Interconnection Strategy and Management intern. My team worked on project management of third party requests to interconnect onto the power grid. As their intern, I worked on developing the process flow as the team was newer to PSE&G. With the process flow, I developed a standardized manual on the procedures. I also completed a past interconnection database. With my STEP funding, I was able to purchase the necessary things I needed for this internship including specific steel-toed work boots, office clothes, food, and gas.
This internship was a great tool for me to figuring out what fields I may want to go into after school. I learned a lot about myself and what I want for myself professionally. Before this internship, I was still at a loss of what exactly I wanted to do after school. Studying Chemical Engineering, there are so many options to choose from when it comes to picking a job. Because I found a lot of them interesting, I did not know what field I wanted to go into. Now, I know that I want to focus more heavily on project management in the future. I also have a stronger desire in higher education from this internship. I believe I will get a Masters degree in either engineering management or business now to further my education. Another large change in my understanding of myself is how I feel about public speaking. While it still makes me nervous, I am know much more confident in my ability. Besides professionally, I also developed a lot personally through this internship, through the friends I have made.
Many different opportunities helped me develop these changes and discoveries. One of the main reasons I was able to decide what I want to do is because of the opportunities my group gave me to learn. My supervisor was very hands on about what the company and the department does, how we managed projects, and how my role fits. I also attended many trainings, to both extend my knowledge of my job as well as my knowledge of business and technical skills. From the combination of all of this, I realized that project management is the right career path for me. I am hoping to take this idea into an industry that I find a passion for, which I am still looking to discover.
Deciding to go to school for a master’s degree was never something I was planning on while I was going to school. For the most part, it is not necessary for my degree as it is for others. However, this internship helped change my mind on this ideal. The main reason is because of a newly hired employee that I worked with. She had a very similar path to me. She was a recently hired chemical engineering major who was an intern last year. I got to talking with her because I wanted to see how she was able to use our major in unique ways in the company. As we were talking, she mentioned her desire to go back and get her Master’s in Engineering Management. It was a mostly online program. After talking to her further, I realized that this would be a great path for me. It fits my career goals, while giving me a good opportunity to get a Master’s without having to do research. An added benefit is that PSE&G and many other companies will reimburse the payment of the degree which would really help.
One of the biggest parts of the internship was our presentation in front of the Senior President of my department with all of her senior leadership. I have always had anxiety over presentations, and really do not look forward to doing them. Needless to say, I was very anxious in the days leading up to the presentation. The thing that helped me feel less nervous was practicing as much as possible. I pretty much practiced in front of anyone that would listen to get the nerves out. While I was still nervous when I presented, I ended up doing really well after and realized I felt a lot more nervous then I needed to be. My team complimented my work after, which gave me a lot more confidence in my presentation skills. Overall, while I am not perfect at presenting, I still feel a lot more comfortable with it then I did before.
Having professional experience for an engineering student is vital for other jobs. However, it is necessary to make sure you make the most of any professional experience you get. While this internship was not with a company that is typical for my major, I made sure to put myself out there and explore as many fields of the company as I could. Without this internship, I do not know if I would have a five year plan of what I want to do in my life. It definitely helped me look at myself, and my education and realize what I want to do with it. I also see how valuable school really is, as it will help me achieve all the goals I want in my life. I am so thankful to have done this internship and for STEP for making this happen.