By Rashed Fakhruddin, Engineering Supervisor, Nashville Electric Service
Through the Academies of Nashville, Metro Nashville Public Schools, in collaboration with the business community, works diligently to prepare students to graduate ready for post-secondary education and successful careers.
As an Academy business partner, Nashville Electric Service (NES) plays an important role in providing students with experiential learning opportunities, such as internships and job shadowing which assist future graduates with developing the necessary employability skills to be successful in their future careers.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I would like to highlight two students from John Overton High School who interned with NES’ Design Engineering department through Conexión Américas ‘Escalera: Taking Steps to Success’ program, which works with young adults who will be first generation college students in their families.
Juan Martinez and Eric Jaramillo made an impression on the employees of NES during their 40-hour internship last July. They exhibited great work ethics by interning with NES for half the day and then going straight to their construction jobs immediately following.
These bright students got an overview of NES’ substation controls and communication designs. They learned about system protection and distribution planning. They visited both the test and system control departments and observed the very impressive SCADA operations center.
They were also active participants in our project meetings, including a conference call with a manufacturer that NES was working through several issues with. On the call, engineers with the manufacturer were speaking in English to us and in Spanish among themselves. Juan and Eric stepped in and translated the conversations to help clear up the previous miscommunication. Our interns became heroes overnight. This highlights the importance of speaking a second language, which is an asset of many students attending MNPS. Over 30 percent speak a second language at home and more than 100 languages are spoken by students from over 75 different countries.
Although born in the U.S., Juan and Eric are of Mexican heritage, as is NES board member, Irma Paz-Bernstein. Upon completion of their internship, Irma invited them both to her business, Las Paletas, for a visit. The next day, Irma emailed me the following message:
I was happy to meet with Eric & Juan. The idea of inspiring young people always moves me. The interesting thing that happens is that something magical flips things around and I am the one that walks away different.
Listening to their hopes, their stories, their situations and how ready they are to be lifted, to fly, just made my heart grow. I thank you for the opportunity to be inspired and moved.
As much as we try to inspire these young adults, many times we are the ones who are changed in the process.