I was supposed to be in Cabo this summer, relaxing on the white sand beaches with my friends and checking out the cute guys. Am I disappointed? Yes, who wouldn't be? But I have to keep in mind that Cabo isn't going anywhere and I got the opportunity to do something that my friends didn't.
I got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to intern at Alameda Municipal Power in a specific field that I am interested in. I can't just buy a plane ticket online to be a first responder to an outage, work in a substation or attend a Northern California Power Agency utilities directors' meeting. It doesn't work that way. But when I interned at AMP for the month of July, I got the chance to do something a plane ticket couldn't buy.
I ended up at AMP through an organization called Girls Inc. of the Island City. You might think to yourself, "How does that work?" Well, you see, Girls Inc. offers this nifty summer program for teens called "Eureka!"
"Eureka!" is a national program that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The three-year program immerses girls in hands-on STEM activities. During our final summer, we're assigned an internship at an organization or company working in those fields.
I chose to intern at AMP because I am interested in becoming an engineer when I am older, and I believe there needs to be more female role models for young girls in this male-dominated field. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect when I started working at AMP. I only ever thought of power as that little on-and-off switch on the wall that provides me with light when necessary. I'm not going to lie: some things were over my head or just downright boring, but I did learn some pretty cool things about the process of electricity. Did you know that electricity is transferred to a transformer that steps down the voltage from 115kV to 12kV and then the voltage is distributed to main feeds that step down the voltage again to 120/240 volts to power your house? I personally think that's pretty awesome.
I have a little secret to tell: before my internship, I was that smart girl who stuck a metal fork into the toaster -- while it was plugged in -- just to get out a piece of bread. Let's just say I will never do that again. Being electrocuted is not something I see in my future. I learned so much at AMP that I feel as if I am prepared to ace AP physics. I wouldn't feel this way if it weren't for everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to pass down some of their knowledge to me. I strongly appreciate it. Crown Beach may not be that nice white sand beach in Cabo, but that's all right with me. I got an opportunity of a lifetime this summer.
Makenna Dixon-Essien, 15, is an Alameda resident and high school sophomore.