For Cesar Bueno (BS ’16) and Sri Vadrevu (BS ’17) the paths to internships with two subsidiaries of Exelon Corporation were different but equally productive.
Vadrevu, an electrical engineering student, knew early on that he wanted to attend college and got interested in engineering while taking an electronics class at age fourteen. Following that passion ever since, he recently completed his second internship with Exelon Generation after landing his first during his freshman year through the College’s Guaranteed Paid Internship Program.
Bueno, on the other hand, a first-generation college student, always excelled in math, but didn’t focus on finding an outlet for his talent until learning more about engineering through the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) at his junior college. After transferring to UIC to earn his mechanical engineering degree, he took his first step into industry by meeting a ComEd representative at a career fair.
In addition to hiring Bueno and Vadrevu, Exelon and its subsidiaries hired fourteen other UIC undergraduate engineering students this year for summer internships. “UIC is right in our backyard and it’s prioritizing the same initiatives,” says Kyle Wiersbe, recruiting program specialist who coordinates the company’s college-level internship program. “It’s been a natural step to combine efforts in establishing in-roads to career opportunities.” The in-road for Bueno is field experience in energy delivery at ComEd’s downtown office. For Vadrevu, it’s 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 for the skills that would help them get their feet in the door. After arriving at UIC, Bueno quickly connected with peers in 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 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 communication and leadership skills are downplayed by a lot of universities,” he says. Vadrevu believes UIC’s focus on skills outside the classroom, as well as inside, has helped transform him into a more confident and motivated student—one who a Fortune 500 company like Exelon would hire.
Now, with the internships complete, 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.”
Partnering with corporations like Exelon (ComEd) helps provide UIC College of Engineering students with invaluable professional experience while still in school.