Southern Company’s co-op students are going beyond the status quo. They are working to build their professional skills and networking to become bright leaders and even better citizens as part of the Students of Southern Company.
Within this student-run organization, co-op and intern employees meet monthly to hear from industry professionals who give them insight into the inner workings of Southern Company. They also hold lunch-and-learns with Southern Company executives throughout the year.
Co-op student Abel Belete is in his third rotation at Southern Company in the Transmission Protection and Control Engineering department and currently serves as the president of Students of Southern Company Georgia Chapter. Abel sees the organization as a professional tool for students to fully understand the scope of Southern Company.
“Being able to connect with other co-op students and Southern Company employees in the Atlanta area helped me form a professional network and support group,” Abel said. “And I’ve made friends and mentors in other departments of Southern Company so that I can understand the full capabilities of this incredible company.”
Their activities aren’t limited to professional networking – the students also can be found hanging out at Atlanta Braves games or having lunch together to get to know each other in a casual setting.
Students of Southern Company members also look for opportunities to volunteer in their communities, upholding the company’s commitment to be citizens wherever they serve. Last spring, a group of students from the Georgia chapter gathered to support Project Open Hand, an organization dedicated to providing meals for those in need throughout Atlanta. These events make a lasting impact on both the community and the Southern Company students.
“At the Project Open Hands event, I truly saw what we could accomplish together and the impact on the community,” said Cameron Cowan, the Georgia Chapter’s vice president and technical co-op student. “It feels great to be a part of a company and organization that cares about giving back.”
The values of Students of Southern Company align perfectly with the company’s mission and vision: to develop people with an uncompromising commitment to safety, trust and superior performance and commitment to build the future of energy together.
The student group serves as a complement to the co-op program, which is among the best in the country and recruits talent from top colleges and universities. Participants gain valuable experience as they learn the ins and outs of the industry while still in college so they are prepared for careers after graduation.
“Southern Company has helped me see the future of my career,” Cameron said. “From my mentors to my friends in Students of Southern Company, I’ve grown as a student, employee and person over the years. I hope to continue this growth and contribute to the development of the future of energy.”