Strong skills in math and science are an important foundation for a career in engineering; and that is exactly what HG&E's 2017 Cadet Engineering Scholarship recipient has. Meet Rebecca Shannon, a lifelong resident of Holyoke with a passion for her community and its deep roots in engineering.
Like many Cadet Engineers who came before her, Rebecca credits an educator for helping to guide her toward the field. Mrs. Woltschlaeger, Junior Year Chemistry teacher at Pope Francis High School, was the person who changed the game for Rebecca. It was in this class that Rebecca took her love of science to the next level and developed pathways that lead her to HG&E.
Previous to teaching, Mrs. Woltschlaeger was a chemical engineer; she had the unique ability to connect the classroom to the real world in a way Rebecca had never experienced. “In Chemistry, you see how the simplest things aren't really simple at all,” Rebecca said. “Mrs. Woltschlaeger worked for an international auto company and was able to teach a lesson that applied to real things.”
Fast-forward two years, and Rebecca is putting those lessons to good use as the recipient of HG&E's 2017 Cornelius J. Moriarty, Jr. Scholarship for Cadet Engineers. As a Cadet, Rebecca has toured HG&E facilities and explored all aspects of the business, from customer service to electric distribution. With an interest in renewable energy, Rebecca is working in the hydroelectric division alongside Richard Murray, Hydroelectric Compliance Engineer and Grace Hamel, 2015 Cadet Scholarship recipient.
“I have been to Hadley Station and the fishlift on field trips and passed by the Holyoke Dam so many times,” said Rebecca, “but working here has given me a whole new perspective. I've seen the turbines up close and had an opportunity to understand what HG&E engineers do every day to generate the City's electricity.”
Rebecca is taking it all in, learning from everyone she meets with a big smile on her face. “The people at HG&E are so nice, and eager to show me new things,” said Rebecca. “Currently, Grace and I are reviewing unit efficiencies and I am becoming familiar with HG&E's data management systems.”
Rebecca is a graduate of Mater Dolorosa Catholic School and Pope Francis High School, formerly Holyoke Catholic High School. She was not only interested in academics during school, but also played soccer and was the president of her class all four years of high school.
Rebecca will be attending Western New England University in the fall, studying Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in green energy. She is excited to meet new friends and participate in student activities. Her hobbies include camping, traveling, Disney, movies, and spending time with family and friends. After college, Rebecca would like to stay close to Holyoke, possibly working for a local company and giving back to her community.
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 accredited engineering program. For additional application criteria, please contact Holyoke Gas & Electric Manager's office at (413) 536-9313 or visit www.hged.com/cadet.