National Grid launches new Puerto Rico Student Engagement initiative

By Kathy Hill

Why would six high school students travel all the way from Puerto Rico to visit National Grid’s Syracuse facilities? Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid vice president of New York, describes how students from University Gardens High School in San Juan came to spend two jam-packed weeks in and around town, kicking off the company’s first Puerto Rico Student Engagement Initiative as part of our Engineering Pipeline Program.

“Following our months of work helping to restore the electricity grid in Puerto Rico, we wanted to find a way, collectively, to do more,” said Melanie. “Our Puerto Rico Student Engagement initiative is an important step in that direction. Igniting these students’ interest in STEM education and careers in the energy industry is another way we can work together to benefit Puerto Rico and its people for the long term.” Melanie, who shared her inspirational thoughts last week at the National Grid Learning Center in Clay to mark the Engineering Pipeline Program 2018 opening day, also greeted the students on their arrival in Syracuse early Sunday, July 8, and joined them at a local dinner.

In addition to exploring engineering opportunities in the fields of gas and electricity delivery, the students sharpened their skills in resume writing and interview preparation, and added to their learning experience through the YWCA’s 2018 Camp Discovery.

Making the most of their stay, the students and their chaperones toured National Grid’s Fruit Belt Neighborhood Solar partnership project in Buffalo, explored Baltimore Woods Nature Center and NYPA’s must-see Niagara Power Vista Center near Niagara Falls, and made time for local (and social!) media.

Visiting students from Puerto Rico – all rising seniors at University Gardens High School in San Juan – are (l-r): Jasmine Chevere Colon, Dalyana Mercado Perez, Andrea Sanchez, Ethan Guardiola Cuevos, Sergio Santiago, and Milton Lopez, pictured with their National Grid Engineering Pipeline Program 2018 certificates of completion.


Baltimore Woods Nature Center

David O’Reilly, manager, Overhead Lines, Central, and Bruce Robinson, chief line mechanic – both part of National Grid mutual assistance in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria – made sure to spend time with the visiting EPP students.


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