As my Kenan Fellows internship with Pee Dee Electric comes to an end, I can honestly say that it has been an amazing four week experience. Over the past weeks, I have been able to see all the different aspects of Pee Dee Electric’s business as an electrical co-op, as well as the role of the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives in working with co-ops around our state. I was able to spend time with all the different departments at Pee Dee including engineering, customer service, accounting, IT; as well as spending time working with line crews, service and repair, and right of way. I was also able to tour a variety of facilities such as power plants, renewable energy sites, and the NCEMC offices. It was an eye-opening experience to see all the different roles that are needed to supply electricity to consumers.
One of the most interesting experiences during my internship was being able to work with a line crew installing new power lines. I was actually able to go up in the bucket truck, cut down old line, and help a lineman install new power lines. I always thought that this was probably not the easiest job in the world, but actually doing it certainly gave me a new appreciation for how difficult it truly is. being able to manipulate tools, bolts, and small pieces wile wearing heavy gloves and protective gear was definitely a challenge; not to mention doing this while I was 30 feet in the air in a bucket. This was exciting and memorable experience that certainly left me with a greater appreciation for the linemen who do this on a daily basis.
Being able to work with my mentor at Pee Dee Electric was definitely something that will help add to my classroom next year. My mentor helped me with ideas and planning for my solar energy project, as well as discusses a variety of ideas for projects and special activities for my science classes. She was also able to either answer any questions that I had, or put me in touch with someone who could help. While I spent some of my time at Pee Dee Electric working with my mentor, I was also able to work with and talk to so many employees that shared a wealth of information with me. I think that probably my biggest challenge was just dealing with the incredible amount of new things that I was learning in such a short amount of time, but it was truly amazing to experience how everyone’s different jobs fit together to make a successful electric co-op.