International Student's Design Intern Experience

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June 21, 2018

ਅਲਹੁ ਗੈਬੁ ਸਗਲ ਘਟ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਲੇਹੁ ਬਿਚਾਰੀ ਆਸਾ (. ਕਬੀਰ) (੨੯) : - ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਅੰਗ ੪੮੩ ਪੰ.   (Gurmukhi, the script in which the Punjabi language is written). In English- Alahu Gaib Sagal Ghatt Bheethar Hiradhai Laehu Bichaaree || Raag Asa Bhagat Kabir, Guru Granth Sahib: Ang 483. Meaning: Allah (God) is hidden in every heart; reflect upon this in your mind.

I wrote these words because they mean everything to me. I believe them and recently, I was able reflect on the meaning of these pure words in people who do incredible nonprofit work for income qualified homeowners in the United States. It is my pleasure that I, Ramandeep Kaur Bagri met the GRID Alternatives team.

My university major is Power System, Electrical Engineering with Engineering Management. My love towards my studies is reflected in my experience. Solar design and working with PV as a sustainable resource is perfect for me as I want to work in the electrical engineering field.

After graduating from University of California, Riverside, I had an opportunity to be an intern with GRID’s Central Coast office. Unfortunately I live in the Inland Empire and was already enrolled in a different three-month internship. I inquired if I could change the location of my internship to a closer location and was advised to contact GRID’s Riverside office. In the meanwhile, I attended a career fair where GRID had a booth and met Workforce Development Manager Cindy Corrales and Marketing Manager Cliff Le Blanc. We had very productive conversations that day and since my interest was in design, a personalized program was started for me working with Design Assistant Victor Rodarte.

From day one, I was very impressed with the positive attitude of GRID’s team. I think I am lucky that I met Mr. Victor. He arranged everything to create my PV Design Internship which ran from February through May. The internship gave me practical experience with PV design as well as hands-on construction experience. It was very interesting to learn each component of solar design and installation in detail. I was very happy with the internship because GRID provided a place for me to learn where I also enjoyed working. It was a highlight of my international student experience since arriving in the United States back in December of 2016.

Near the end of my internship, I assisted Mr. Victor with live projects. The whole construction team including Jeff, Dan, Neil, Laura (sweetest lady I worked with, a whole lot of candies for all of us), Ernesto, Miguel and all the SolarCorps explained every technical question in detail. I saw the dedication of GRID staff, reaching out to each and every client and providing assistance selflessly. I feel blessed to be a part of a nonprofit organization working with disadvantaged communities in the United States.

Meeting with other interns and having useful conversation was also part of my experience. Cynthia Corrales, the Workforce and Volunteer Manager, came in my journey as a Manager. I never thought that she would approach me to talk, however she always made time to speak wiith me. She provided advice concerning all my career questions and she reached out when job opportunities became available. It’s my pleasure to have her as a friend. I would like to thank Multifamily Project Developer Anthony Papavero. His comments regarding solar opportunities always proved useful and knowledgeable. I never expected the warm nature of acceptance that I received from GRID Alternatives. It is more like a GRID family.

My internship at GRID is one of my most unforgettable experiences.  My mother instilled upon me a selfless nature focusing on giving every person in life respect. I follow her example in my interactions with all people. I finally received it back from the GRID Alternatives team. Nothing can be related to your home, my working at GRID comes close to my home country experience.  I can relate the skills gained at GRID to my undergraduate and graduate degrees as an Assistant Professor, BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab, India. It’s my gratification that I was a part of such an exuberant community in the United States of America.

I would like to thank Mr. Victor who is a person of extreme positivity and huge patience. I appreciate that he gave me an opportunity to meet and further work with him. I sincerely thank the Construction team as well as the rest of GRID Alternatives. I want to thank you all deeply from my heart for developing such a positive environment for me. I would like to recommend highly to everyone who is thinking to work for solar, this is a best place to learn. Don’t miss it!