Go Out and Change the World
At Exelon, we are committed to giving back to the communities we serve. Being able to help young women who are going to go out and change the world is very important to us.
2021 Exelon Foundation STEM Leadership Academy Scholarship winner Alima Conde is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. This summer, she interned with the Information Technology team at Pepco in Washington, D.C. While interning at Pepco, she was able to gain hands-on experience and learn the ins and outs of IT.
See what Alima has to say about her summer internship experience:
This week was my first internship and first week interning onsite at Pepco. I would say it was a very successful week overall mostly because I got great insight into the basics and different resources that would be useful throughout my internship.
On the first day, my supervisor Jim gave me a few informative books that could help with understanding something that I wasn't familiar with. Quickly, I became interested in the ADKAR book based on change management, by Jeffrey M. Hiatt, because it applied to various aspects of life, including my own change experience, and because this was my first time being in a professional environment outside of school and Zoom meetings. I thought it was interesting how each part of this model fell into place naturally.
ADKAR was something developed by a person in terms of the acronym, but it naturally falls that way. As I kept reading, it made more sense to me and I was able to connect it to things that I am familiar with. The other book focused on the Ten Types of Innovation. I read almost halfway through it, and I understood that an innovation could be started by focusing on any type in the framework. I think both pieces of information were closely related in different ways and believe these books have lessons that I wouldn’t learn anywhere else or have the time to focus on.
I was able to attend a few meetings with Jim that gave me an idea of how everyone works together making things happen and fulfilling Exelon's mission of leading a diversified energy company. I attended the “Your Perspective & Experience” meeting and enjoyed hearing about how the organizers worked together and their advice for me on how they started as interns, which I will never forget. Something that I really liked about starting this internship was that I was given flexibility from the start on what I might be interested in. I think it is effective this way because I can understand more ways to implement structure to my professional life rather than just the regular programming concepts that I do at school.
Something that a few leaders here at Pepco mentioned was that being in this field is more than coding and programming techniques. I was aware of that, but I really got a chance to see it quickly by shadowing in the IT field here. It has opened my eyes to different opportunities and paths that I could follow.
I did a few training sessions on Cybersecurity and got a certificate, read some articles on client services and observed a few scenarios within IT support about how to respond to clients’ technology issues. I didn’t feel like anyone was expecting me to know everything, which made me more comfortable asking questions.
I was able to shadow a colleague who had experience in IT. They handled PC upgrades for employees, who are due for new computers. It was something I’d never seen before and I learned a lot from it. I was invited to an event on Tuesday with Jim Calabrese called StepAfrika at the ArenaStage and Exelon was a key sponsor for it. I had the opportunity to meet so many leaders that I’ve only met virtually. This networking opportunity was eventful, and I am glad to be able to have met them in person.
I was able to meet with Tamla Olivier, SVP & COO, PHI; Donna Cooper, VP & President, Pepco Region; the StepAfrika Gala chairs; Calvin Butler , Senior EVP & COO, Exelon; Tiera Gray, VP, Office of the CIO, BGE; Sharon Butler and many others who gave me encouraging advice and great conversation.
Prior to starting my internship here, I was expecting to be a little overwhelmed because it’s something I’ve never done, but I didn’t feel that at all. I believe I was given adequate time, patience and support from my supervisor and other leaders that will predict the future of my time here and beyond. There isn’t anything I dislike so far and I am open and willing to learn about anything and develop a deeper passion for something.