Meet Cesar Bueno (BS ’16) and Sri Vadrevu (BS ’17). They’re two of 18 UIC engineering students who interned with an Exelon Corporation subsidiary and added to the more than 75 UIC engineering students who were hired by the Fortune 500 company within the past four years for an internship or full-time employment.
Recruiting program specialist Kyle Wiersbe, who coordinates Exelon’s college-level internship program, says there are reasons the number is growing. “UIC is right in our backyard, and it’s prioritizing the same initiatives. So, it’s been a natural step to combine efforts in establishing inroads to career opportunities.” The inroad for Bueno was field experience in energy delivery at ComEd’s downtown office. For Vadrevu, it was troubleshooting systems and facilitating alarm software at Exelon Generation’s power plant in Morris, Illinois.
To get to these places, both students took advantage of the College’s resources to polish the skills that would help them get their feet in the door. Bueno connected with peers in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). “Some of the members recommended visiting the Engineering Career Center,” says Bueno. “I’m glad I did. The staff there helped me shape my résumé and practice interview skills.”
Vadrevu, who recently completed his second internship with Exelon Generation after landing his first during his freshman year through the College’s Guaranteed Paid Internship Program, took a more varied approach, talking to staff and faculty and taking guidance from his Engineering 100 class and the College’s Freshman Engineering Success Program. “I feel like a lot of other universities downplay communication and leadership skills,” he says. But Vadrevu believes UIC’s focus on skills outside the classroom, as well as inside, has helped transform him into a more confident and motivated prospective employee—one who Exelon would hire.
“We find UIC students are prepared, savvy, and hard-working. We’re happy to provide opportunities for them to grow as engineers,” says Scot Greenlee, Exelon Nuclear Generation’s senior vice president for engineering and technical services who has served since 2011 on the College of Engineering Advisory Board.
From the students’ points of view, nothing beats having engineering experience on a résumé. “Working at Exelon has been an invaluable experience. I loved the teamwork atmosphere and directly applying what I’ve learned in school,” says Vadrevu. To Bueno, the experience was inspiring. “Whether it’s planning a job or making sure customers get power again after a storm,” he says, “you really are powering lives here.”