Walking into the first day of an internship is always a little nerve-racking. No matter how much research you’ve done on the company or how many interviews you have had. There are still so many unknowns. This held true for my first day at MISO. But after spending the first two days learning about the company and getting to know the other interns, I felt comfortable. I was most impressed by what happened the third day. That is the day I went to my first “work” meeting. There I was, sitting in a room with people who had clearly been with the company for a while, when I heard my name. “Alicia, do you think this will resonate…?” What impressed me more was that because of what I said, the team reworked their approach. By that third day, I could already tell that MISO valued its interns and would actually be giving us important projects.
As a public relations intern at a utility company, it was hard for me to wrap my head around how the two worlds could intersect. After talking to other interns, I realized that this was a question we all shared. How does what we’re studying and who we are fit in at MISO? I decided to focus some of my time understanding how MISO utilizes its interns and the impact that has on each intern.
“The thing that I’ve enjoyed the most is the real world practice, you know, it’s not a typical internship. You’re coming in and doing things that are actually helping out your department and you know, you meet other people in your department and they’re like wow this is going to be so helpful,” Mary Riordan, HR intern. It’s surprising to walk into a 1,000 person company as an intern and know that what you’re doing is going to make an impact after you leave.
Every intern feels valued at MISO. We’re not just someone to run and get coffee; we are trusted with real responsibilities. “I don’t feel like an intern when I’m working here. I’m doing stuff that other full time employees do and I like that,” Bugra Cinbat, IT intern. As an intern at MISO, we truly feel like an essential part of our teams and the company.
It’s a very confusing industry to jump into, since most of us had either very little or no experience at all. But there was never a moment where I felt like I couldn’t ask anyone a question. People were always happy to explain things to me, regardless of how long it took until I understood them. It wasn’t just my department; every intern seemed to be having this same experience. “I know I can go to anybody with a question. I’m never afraid to ask even something that may seem really simple, they’ll jump in right away and help me no matter what,” Kim Dsilva, Market Settlements intern. MISO provided an environment where we could learn and develop skills we’ll use for the rest of our careers.
Being part of a large company in an industry you don’t know too much about is intimidating. But after completing 12 weeks at MISO, I couldn’t be happier with the choice that I made. I worked on things that mattered to the company and gained skills that I’ll need in the future. I actually understand the process of how energy gets to my house when I flip on a light switch. I learned things that I could have never learned in a classroom but got through hands on experience.
While I may have felt intimidated and nervous when I first began my internship, those feelings quickly faded. MISO gave me an opportunity to explore and it helped me to think more broadly about the things I can do with a public relations degree. And I have an entirely new appreciation for the energy industry and the way electricity gets to me. Every year the world is spending billions trying to understand and create new ways to harvest energy and create efficiencies. MISO and other similar companies are the key to the realizations of those investments. MISO impacts the lives of every single person in the footprint whether they know it or not. For the 32 interns that spent the summer at MISO, the impact it has made on us is something we will always be grateful for.
Hear more from the MISO summer interns and the experiences they had in the MISO intern video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIqdIS2dR4c