Jonae Allen's path to a string of internships and a co op began with the college career fair, but her interest in engineering started with an ice machine when she was in sixth grade.
"Math and science were always my thing, but I always liked solving problems, too," she said. "So, I was in the car and my dad was pumping gas. I saw this ice machine and thought about a better way for customers to access the ice that didn't include cashiers unlocking the door. It was a one-off thing but my dad looked at me and said 'you know, you think like an engineer.'"
Since, she has participated in the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, worked in the college IT office and was even part of a small group of Temple Band members to play on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in 2019. However, Allen's career advancement came after face-to-face conversations with employers at the college career fair.
"Every single one of the opportunities I found were a result of going to the career fair and making my pitch to employers," Allen said.
After participating in a site tour with PJM Interconnection, a regional power transmission organization that coordinates electrical service through 13 states and the District of Columbia, Allen got a phone call -- from PJM with an internship offer.
"I worked with the analysis department, conducting studies on transmission lines and performed analyses of facilities to mitigate final load ratings for energy transmission," she said.
Her current position took her a more customer-focused route with Atlantic City Electric/Exelon, where she is taking a co op working on solar energy solutions.
"I'm working out of Newark, Delaware, supporting other sites through distributed energy resources," Allen said. "I analyze applications for customers who want to install solar photovoltaic panels."
Though that keeps her busy enough, Allen's calendar filled up even more when she secured an upcoming with PPL Electric Utilities, with an eye on graduating in December.
"I would encourage anyone looking to get experience to just get out there, put your resume and your best foot forward," Allen said. "Getting that experience really shows that you learned what is on your resume."