If Xama Joshi’s life had turned out differently, she might be treating your cold instead of coordinating your energy transmission. When Joshi came to Orlando from India in 1997, she was planning to become a doctor. However, at that time, there was no medical school in Orlando, where she wanted to stay to support her parents.
Fortunately, a counselor at Seminole Community College (now Seminole State College of Florida) noticed Joshi’s high test scores in math and physics and advised her to consider engineering. She completed an associate’s degree, then enrolled in a four-year program at University of Central Florida. She graduated with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering.
Does she regret not being a doctor? Not at all. “I’m glad I am not in medicine,” Joshi said. “I am very happy to be an engineer.”
She shares how she found her way to OUC and what she’s learned thus far:
Q: How did you come to work at a utility?
Joshi: I enjoyed courses on the energy sector in college — and knew it had a lot of opportunity — but my first engineering job after graduation was in the Nanotechnology industry. I was a Test Engineer at a private company that makes the chip that goes to the F-51 plane. But the company was very small and I wanted to go somewhere bigger. In July 2007, I applied to OUC and was hired as a Distribution Engineer. I now work as a Senior Engineer.
Q: What’s your favorite part of being an engineer?
Joshi: I like when I see my project get done and see how as a team we made it successful. I feel like I have achieved something. I can tell my daughter, ‘You see that? This one was one of my jobs. Mommy did that.’ I’m proud to be an engineer.
Q: What is the best professional advice you’ve received?
Joshi: I learned from my boss: ‘Trust but verify.’ Yes you trust, you build the relationships, but you still want to verify. I apply that on many of my projects.
Q: How can we encourage more students to go into engineering?
Joshi: I would encourage them to become more of a problem solver. I would not just give them the answer, but I would ask, ‘How do you think you would do it?’” When it comes to math and science, she offers this advice for parents: “Don’t make it hard. Make it fun, you know? Take them to the science center and after-school programs where they can utilize more math and science and see if they have an interest.
Q: What is the best part of working for OUC?
Joshi: OUC gives flexibility for work and life balance. OUC is moving forward as technology changes. We are moving toward more renewables and solar energy. I’m glad I’m part of it.