SDSU Career Services: As an employer of SDSU interns and/or alumni, what are the strengths of SDSU interns/graduates? What benefit do you get from employing them? What keeps you hiring SDSU interns/graduates?
As a recent graduate and not a supervisor, I am not directly involved in hiring. However, based on my experience, I believe one of the many strengths of SDSU engineering interns and graduates is the hands on experience learned from various labs. In addition, the ability to emphasize in a particular area can be advantageous to some applicants. There are many benefits for companies hiring interns and recent graduates. They can give new perspectives on various discussions and products/business models. Hiring interns allows both the intern and company to ensure a good fit, without either making more extensive commitments. I feel that many SDSU interns/graduates have a strong sense of integrity and sociability, positioning them well for opportunities.
SDSU CS: What was your major at SDSU?
When I started at community college, I originally was a Business Finance major. When the economy turned south years ago, I really thought hard about my major. I decided to switch it to Engineering, which had a better outlook for jobs and utilized my strengths in math. When it came time to transfer, I transferred to SDSU in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Power Systems.
SDSU CS: Did you complete an internship at SDSU?
Yes, I was a summer intern at San Diego Gas and Electric. During my internship I was able to see my textbooks come to life. Instead of reading about a transformer, switch, or various other piece of equipment, I was able to personally witness these devices being installed and operated. I learned the importance of power quality, and how various devices are used to limit the affected customers when an outage occurs. Lastly, I was paired with a mentor who helped me further myself and get the most out of my internship.
SDSU CS: Could you please give us a brief explanation of your personal work journey?
I’ve worked many jobs in my life trying to find a challenging and rewarding career. I was an electrician, warehouse forklift operator, handy man, fiber optic cable installer, microchip designer, telemarketer, security guard, busser, bar back, and now an Electrical Engineer. I’ve been told I’m not your average engineer, but each of these jobs were important stepping stones to get me where I am today. My life as an engineer involves the skills that I have obtained from many of my previous jobs. For example, working as an electrician allowed me to relate better with construction crews and improve designs. Also, my service industry jobs allow me to think quickly and to relate to my audience, whether I’m contacting a customer, in a meeting, or giving a presentation.
SDSU CS: What one piece of advice would you want current SDSU students to know about being an intern?
There is a famous line often heard in infomercials “Try it before you buy it”. An internship is a way for you to see if what you’re pursuing is what you want to do. If you don’t like it at least you know what that position is and what that company is about. I’ve had a few friends switch their emphasis based on their internship experience. Also, ask lots of questions. Employers know you are still learning and you might not fully understand the concepts learned in school. An internship is a great way to learn more about the fundamentals and gain a few contacts to reach out to before you graduate.
SDSU CS: What does being an Aztec for Life mean to you?
While going to school I was part of the MESA program. This program allowed me to receive tutoring, resume workshops, and various other benefits. To me being an Aztec for Life means helping and supporting my community and school the way they helped me. I’m actively involved in various activities with the university including giving a recent tour of one of our combined cycle power plants to roughly 30 STEM students and mentoring electrical engineering students on an SDG&E sponsored senior design project.