July 29 is National Intern Day. To celebrate, we spoke with a current intern and employees who got their start at OUC as an intern about their internship experience.
Jesus Calderon-Acevedo, Associate CIP Analyst
Jesus Calderon-Acevedo started on his career path at OUC in May 2019 after learning about OUC’s Emerging Student program while attending the University of Central Florida. Since then, Calderon-Acevedo has had three internships in various OUC departments while studying for a bachelor’s degree in information technology (IT).
Calderon-Acevedo credits his internships with preparing him for his current role and exposing him to different aspects of IT.
“In my first internship with the IT Audit department, I developed an analytical mindset which primed me for a position in critical infrastructure protection,” he said. “During my time with the Digital and Technology department, I assisted with the development of a smart speaker user interface and subsequent pilot program, which expanded my project management skills.”
Hired as an Associate CIP Analyst in 2021, Calderon-Acevedo ensures OUC’s electric system is reliable and protected in accordance with the standards of North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC). He is responsible for reviewing NERC’s regulatory standards to ensure OUC’s bulk power supply remains secure and compliant. He also works to improve regulatory procedures by formulating best practices and automating processes.
Calderon-Acevedo’s advice for interns is to use internships as an opportunity to discover different career paths.
“During my internships, I was able to explore different fields within IT. I learned about career opportunities in cybersecurity governance and compliance, which has led me to where I am today,” he said.
Kimberly Fullenkamp, GIS Intern
Kimberly Fullenkamp’s interest in engineering and power generation started at a young age when she accompanied her father to the Lakeland area power plant where he worked as a technician.
Combining her passion for technology and her desire to continue her family’s legacy in energy industry, Fullenkamp is pursuing dual degrees in computer and electrical engineering at the University of Central Florida. As a member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society at UCF, Fullenkamp got the opportunity to tour OUC’s Stanton Energy Center (SEC) in 2019. The tour sparked her interest in internships at OUC and within a month she was interning with the Document Management division in the Digital and Technology department at SEC.
As a geographic information system (GIS) intern, Fullenkamp works alongside electrical engineers in drafting and revising electrical, mechanical and control drawings for the combined cycle gas and coal-fired plants at SEC.
“I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the electrical systems within a power plant by applying my education to real-life applications. This internship has solidified my interest in working in the electrical and power generation field,” she said.
Asked what kind of advice she would offer prospective interns, Fullenkamp stressed the importance of networking:
“Take every opportunity that is presented to you and be sure to make yourself present with those around you. This internship is a result of me stepping outside my comfort zone and expanding my network.”
Noelle Rogers, Business Support Specialist
Noelle Rogers’ passion for crisis management drove her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a master’s certificate in emergency management from the University of Central Florida. Rogers joined OUC in 2018 as an emergency management intern, and in 2020 she transitioned into operational technology (OT) as a Business Support Specialist.
“During my internship, I was my bosses’ shadow. I was not only exposed to the operations at OUC, but also the industry as a whole,” she said. “My boss, Joe Reilly [Director of Operational Technology], and the entire OT team included me in every aspect of the job, all while supporting and encouraging me to take advantage of the industry’s educational opportunities. Joe is the kind of leader who takes you not just where you want to go but where you ought to go. Ultimately, it was him and the camaraderie that exists in OT that played a big part in why I made the transition.”
As a Business Support Specialist, Rogers serves as the liaison between OT and Compliance to ensure low and medium impact standards are satisfied through the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) to keep OUC’s power supply reliable and secure. She also maintains response plans for Cyber Incident Response efforts, supporting OT and the Incident Command Center.
“My role in OT does more than allow me to fulfill my passion for emergency management. My work supports the efforts to protect the bulk electric system, which in turn impacts and preserves our homes, businesses, communities and cities,” she said.
Rogers emphasized the importance of being observant during an internship, saying prospective interns should “think of your internship as another year of education and learning how things operate in your field. Internships are a time to ask questions, watch how things are done and learn. Don’t rush past those important moments.”