From environmental studies to customer service operations, Cadets at the Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E) are learning every facet of the business while developing a competitive advantage among college classmates.
“I am really interested in computer engineering, so I will be working with the Telecommunication Division this summer,” said Ryan Kirton. “I knew HG&E supplied gas and electric utilities, but I had no idea how many interesting, cutting edge projects were going on here.”
Ryan, an undeclared engineering major, going into his freshman year at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, graduated from Holyoke High School in June and was named one of HG&E's 2014 Cadet Engineers. This year's HG&E Cadet Engineer class includes Marissa “Missy” Bernard, Erin Hebert, Conor Hoey, and Ryan Kirton, all 2014 graduates of Holyoke High School.
Missy, an environmental engineering major, will begin her first year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in August. On a hot day in June, Missy could be found at Long Pond Cove observing water chestnut treatment with her mentor, HG&E's Environmental Project Engineer, Sarah LaRose.
Even though Missy has a focus of environmental engineering, HG&E's Cadet Program exposes participants to a range of subjects. “We had the opportunity to see how a variety of areas operate,” said Missy. “One of my favorite days so far was going on the road with J.R. [HG&E Serviceman]. It was so cool to see meter installations and meet customers.”
Like Missy, Conor Hoey will be entering his freshman year at WPI this fall, but he will need to arrive a bit sooner so he can start training with his new football team. As he enters his career at WPI, Conor is following in the footsteps of his father, uncles, cousins, and grandfather. “It's a bit of a family tradition, many Hoeys have attended WPI spanning back to my grandfather,” said Conor.
Throughout the summer, Conor will be working in HG&E's Hydroelectric Division alongside Maintenance Supervisor, Steve Roy. “The information and skills I am learning will really help me in my civil engineering coursework,” said Conor.
Erin Hebert loved math and science when she was a student at Sullivan Elementary School, and her excitement only grew when she entered Holyoke High School. Erin always knew she would do something in the math or science field, so she has taken the reigns and enrolled as an electrical engineering major at Yale University.
At HG&E, Erin is being mentored by Jonathan Zwirko, a 2005 graduate of the Cadet Engineering Program. Erin is currently working on an electric inventory project. “Driving down the street has become a lot more interesting,” Erin said, “I now understand exactly what I see on all the utility poles and how electricity is moving throughout the City.”
There have been moments and relationships in each of their lives that directed them towards a degree and career in engineering. But there was one common theme among the four when asked how they knew they wanted to be an engineer and how they decided to apply for HG&E's scholarship: their teachers. Teachers like Mr. Benoit in Physics or STEM Club, Mrs. Johnson in Calculus, and Mrs. Albrecht in Algebra, have helped shape each of them and provided guidance into this important stage of their lives.
The Cornelius J. Moriarty, Jr. Scholarship for Cadet Engineers is open to City of Holyoke residents who are graduating from a duly accredited senior secondary school and have been accepted into an engineering program. For additional application criteria, please contact Holyoke Gas & Electric Manager's office at (413) 536-9313.