Facilities Services Interns - Summer 2019

Summer 2019 marks the eighth consecutive high school summer internship program offered in Facilities Services (FS). The six-week program provides full-time paid internships and hands-on experience in the many careers represented in FS. Previously, we partnered with ACE (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) Technical Charter High School which was located in Washington Park. This year, FS was able to expand the program to include Hyde Park Academy High School due to the Inclusive Climate Project grant from the Office of the Provost. To read more about the grant, click here.

Last year ACE Technical High School relocated from the Washington Park neighborhood and merged with Amandla Charter School located in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. Demonstrating our continued commitment to the partnership with ACE Amandla, three students from the school successfully completed the program:

  • Calvin Foots, Jr. spent the six-week internship program as a multi-trade intern in Operations. He really enjoyed working with the painters, especially Tommy Draine, decorator. Foots shared, “Tommy became a father-figure over the summer.” This is particularly inspiring because Foots will soon be a father. He is expecting his first child in the upcoming months. At the culminating celebratory luncheon, Foots presented a drawing of the human brain. He explained, “At the beginning of my internship, I was at the infancy stage. This summer has inspired me to broaden my thinking to that of FS’s AVP’s.” The AVP character traits shown in the picture are leadership, resilience, focus, and compassion.
  • Xavier Dennis reported to Mike DeSoto, assistant plant manager in the Central Utility Plant. Dennis shadowed assistant operators at all three plants where he was shown water treatment tests, how to start/stop pumps and turbines, and the inside of a boiler. At the culminating celebratory luncheon, Dennis demonstrated his thorough knowledge of the steam plant configuration by presenting a 3-point perspective of the plant showing the condensate reservoir, boiler, softeners, and steam to campus. As a testament to how impactful the summer was for Dennis, he requested more information from DeSoto about the hiring process for assistant plant operators.
  • Carlos Acuna shadowed Dale Janeczko, building engineer in Operations North Campus Zone. Acuna shared that his growing family was his motivation to work full time for the University and also hold another full-time position elsewhere. During the culminating celebratory luncheon, he presented a very professional PowerPoint presentation detailing his preventative maintenance responsibilities and his understanding of how an air handler unit is constructed. Acuna attributed his knowledge of the new systems to his mentor, Janeczko, “He is one of the greatest persons I ever met…When we work together, he explains everything to me very well.”

This year, two Hyde Park Academy students participated in the program:

  • Kelton Cowan shadowed Severiano (Franco) Espinoza, assistant building engineer in the RH&D Engineering Shop. Cowan was assigned to various buildings during the busy summer work schedule. To show his willingness to work at various buildings, Cowan called James Coleman, supervisor, RH&D Engineering Shop, at 6:30 am every day to confirm his start location. At the culminating celebratory luncheon, Cowan shared excerpts from his paper entitled, Future, in which he wrote, “This internship taught me to manage my time, communication skills, and good work habits…I truly hope I can come back and work here someday.” Cowan will attend Lincoln College in the fall.
  • Tyena Madkins reported to Tiffany Grant, executive administrator. Madkins was tasked with providing administrative support including invoice processing and reception duties. Grant commended, “She initiated work and asked for assistance when she needed it.” She also assisted the team by documenting and photographing campus trees. Madkins shared that she had never paid attention to trees until she received this assignment from Campus Planning. She said, “It was an eye-opener to consider that planting trees and paying attention to their condition is part of maintaining a campus.” Madkins will attend Governors State University in the fall. 

In addition to the opportunities offered to newly graduated high school students, FS also had three college students join the team for summer internships:

  • Avanti Brown is a sophomore majoring in Exercise Science at the University of New Mexico. Brown worked under the leadership of Troy Gray, material control coordinator. The inventory team structured a rotation for Brown that included purchasing, deliveries, stock counts, and product research. Brown said, “I am leaving this internship with a new understanding of programs such as Maximo, new knowledge of materials that keep the university running and an overall understanding of what it takes to maintain an outstanding and unique establishment.”
  • Briana Moore is entering her fourth year majoring in Environmental Science at the University of Chicago. Moore reports to Sara Popenhagen, sustainability manager, in Campus Planning + Sustainability. Moore began her internship with FS two years ago through Campus As a Lab, a program sponsored by the Office of the Provost that included the Department of the Geophysical Sciences and Facilities Services. Moore explained, “Several projects initiated in the previous internship have developed into the subsequent phases of projects that I am working on now.” One example of this continuation is Moore’s work evaluating the inventory of high-intensity energy usage buildings and recommending ways to reduce energy usage. She is also inputting data from labs for trend reporting that will be used to create graphics to encourage researchers to adopt energy conservation behaviors. Moore has worked in a lab as part of her coursework; she said that the different perspective is useful. Of her summer experience, Moore enthusiastically shared, “It is pretty exciting to do work that will have an impact not only in facilities but the school that I attend.” Read more about Moore's work here.
  • Javier Mulero is also supporting sustainability activities and reporting to Popenhagen. Mulero received his Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign earlier this month. Because Mulero graduated over the summer, he will participate in the commencement ceremony in May 2020. This summer’s internship with FS was Mulero’s second internship affiliated with the University of Chicago. In 2016, he interned with Robust Decision Making on Environmental Policy (RDCEP). This summer, Mulero has been involved in an energy audit of buildings in the greenhouse gas emissions inventory to identify areas for potential energy savings. He said, “This experience has broadened my understanding of building operations as it relates to energy consumption. It also taught me important soft skills required to get information.” Next month, Mulero is relocating to Denver, Colorado to pursue a career in water resources engineering.

The diverse group of FS interns explored different career paths while learning about the campus and participating in weekly lunch and learn lectures. Grant planned weekly lectures led by a panel of FS staff and students who shared insightful career information and offered advice to help propel the future leaders. For example, this year Alicia Berg, assistant vice president for Campus Planning + Sustainability presented materials developed for “Pathways in Urban Studies,” a summer offering through the University of Chicago college. 

FS is confident that the hard work of the interns will undoubtedly pay off and render immeasurable rewards. We wait in anticipation to witness the great things these fine young people will accomplish.

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