First employee hired from internship program
After almost two years of interning in GRU's Energy Supply department, University of Florida graduate Eric Walters was hired as a GRU Utility Engineer, making him the first employee hired from the internship program.
During his internship, Walters gained experience and knowledge that he applied to the principles he was learning in the UF classroom. He learned theory in class and then applied it to a real world example in GRU's power plant - a truly hands-on experience.
"My internship allowed me to work on an assortment of projects," he said. "I loved the fact that I was not confined to one area or type of work. My supervisor encouraged me to ask questions about anything I was interested in, even if it was not related to a project. He put me in situations that allowed me to learn."
As an employee, Walters now has his own projects, which he has to plan, research and manage on his own. "I feel more autonomous," he said. "I get approval to work by myself and I have more freedom."
Walters is a prime example of achievable goals from GRU's Internship Program. He worked hard, learned, gained experience and was able to make a fluid transition as an employee. Moreover, Walters made history by becoming the first African-American mechanical engineer at GRU.
"There is definitely more work to be done in recruiting minorities into the professional ranks, but programs like GRU's Internship Program are helping to accomplish that goal," he said.