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SMECO Joins CSM to Help Inspire Future Engineers

August 16, 2022

SMECO Joins CSM to Help Inspire Future Engineers

This article is reprinted, in part, with permission from SMECO


Ron Rennick, right, SMECO’s senior training and test manager, shows the 'Engineer Like a Girl' group one of the insulating blankets that utility crews use to cover connections while working.

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) recently hosted more than a dozen high-school students from the area who were participating in College of Southern Maryland's (CSM) annual 'Engineer Like a Girl' program to help the college inspire the next generation of women engineers.

The 'Engineer Like a Girl' program is one of several outreach activities that CSM hosts to expose high-schoolers to the opportunities that exist for women who pursue careers in engineering fields. The summer program aims to empower girls to develop their talents and become the world’s problem solvers. Students participate in fun activities that represent engineering, such as building towers out of marshmallows or building mobile phone detectors, and they visit local employers and meet women engineers.

jehnell.jpgThe program’s creator and lead instructor, Pre-Engineering Coordinator Jehnell C. Linkins (pictured left) said the goal of the week-long program is two-fold: First, teach young girls that no profession is gender-specific; and second, prove that engineering can be really fun.

'Engineer Like a Girl' participants spent a day at SMECO to learn about the engineering principles behind electric utility systems. They watched a hot line demonstration that shows what can happen when objects come into contact with live power lines. The students visited the command center for restoring power outages after major storms. From SMECO’s command center, the students observed activities in the operations center that controls the co-op’s electric transmission and distribution system.

The visitors also learned about the Junior Distribution System Operator career path that SMECO offers to current employees. Traditionally, the job of distribution system operator was open only to employees who had training in utility line work. The new career path gives the Operations Center a larger and more diverse pool of qualified applicants from other departments at SMECO.

“Delivering power is a highly technical business. Like any electric utility, SMECO depends on skilled engineers and other technically trained employees to operate our electric system,” said Sonja Cox, president and chief executive officer. “Electrical engineers are in demand across the nation. SMECO is doing its part to encourage younger people to enter the profession, so we can continue our mission to provide reliable power to Southern Maryland.”


Ronnie Wise, left, SMECO’s distribution operations manager, explains to the Engineer Like a Girl group how the Co-op’s Operations Center works.

Learn more about the many career paths that are available with a degree in engineering and how CSM can help you excel in these high-demand fields when CSM hosts Engineer, Educate, Engage Aug. 30 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at CSM's La Plata Campus. At the event, attendees can explore CSM’s Electrical and Mechanical Engineering majors and the Southern Maryland ENTRY Program, which offers a seamless path to a bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland for students in these programs. Attendees will also engage with current and former students to hear real stories from real students. RSVP at https://www.csmd.edu/calendar/2022/08/engineering-majors-night.html

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