Our newly-appointed President and COO Dan Eichhorn is no stranger to the importance of real-world experience within education. An alumnus of Drexel University, Dan participated in the school’s co-operative program, which blends internship opportunities within its five-year curriculum to help students better prepare for the workforce upon graduation.
Discovering professional upward mobility through education is also near and dear to Dan’s heart. As the son of a utility lineman in Philadelphia, Dan saw his father work hard to support his family and was inspired to do the same. After receiving his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Drexel, he continued his education and received his MBA in finance.
So, it’s no surprise Dan is now one of the leading forces in PSEG Long Island’s partnership with the Queens High School for Information, Research and Technology (QIRT). The program, which began earlier this week, provides students with a full year of STEM curriculum to hone their problem-solving and leadership skills, while introducing them to fundamentals of electric theory. The program brings certified engineers and other professionals within the company to meet with students face-to-face, about twice a week.
“This all springs from PSEG Long Island’s commitment to community involvement,” Dan said during the kick-off event for the program on Oct. 16. “We are working to strengthen the electrical infrastructure, but also to contribute to the places where our customers live and work. This partnership with QIRT was a perfect fit. We are excited to help these young people achieve their goals and I hope that someday I see some of these same faces as I walk through the halls of our offices. ”
Students enrolled in QIRT often come from lower-income backgrounds and many are the first in their families to attend college, so the emphasis on their preparedness is amplified.“QIRT strives to prepare its students for success in college and beyond through technology, community and parent partnerships, and enrichment activities,” said QIRT principal Carl Manalo. “I believe that many students don’t truly know what they want to do until they actually hear someone talk about it. And for students growing up in under-served communities, this may be the first time they get that kind of firsthand exposure to the engineering profession.”
We spoke to two students participating in the program about what they hope to learn, and where they see themselves in the future: