Class of 2019
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
“I am very excited to be able to do this… I will be working with real world engineers and learning from them.”
When Diego Piña graduated from Pattonville High School in 2015, he knew just what he would do next. He would attend University of Missouri–St. Louis and become an engineer.
During the summer that followed, Diego learned that UMSL would be very expensive for him, and no matter how many hours he and his parents worked it did not seem possible to raise the necessary funds. Diego, supported by Immigrant Student Advisor Felipe Martinez, began researching other options. With Scholarship Foundation financial support, Diego would be able to afford to attend Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Even better, he learned that the facilities and program at SIUE would better match his interests.
Diego has been a great student, is actively engaged in the university, and has secured a very competitive co-op position with Ameren-Illinois which will provide him invaluable paid professional experience in the coming year. Diego is President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at SIUE. He and vice president Rony Reyes (also a graduate of Pattonville High School and a Scholarship Foundation policy intern) attended a fall annual event, Ameren Power Hour.
Since Ameren’s Annual Power Hour, Diego has submitted a resume, spent an entire day learning about Ameren, networked with representatives of multiple departments, and completed an online application process for an internship or co-op. He was interviewed by two engineering managers at a plant in Peoria, Illinois. The senior recruiter who called to offer him a co-op position told Diego he was the top candidate for the job out of all those who had interviewed. Diego will work at the plant from May through December, 2018, and then complete his senior year.
Diego will work as a mechanical engineer at the Peoria Ameren gas plant. In the position, Diego will assist with design, project management, and facility operation and maintenance. He’ll learn a great deal about safety, reliability, and cost effectiveness. His projects will be both within the plant itself and in the field within the gas transmission system. He’ll work with contract bidders, compliance regulators, and department leadership.
Anticipating the coming months, Diego says, “I am very excited to be able to do this because this is exactly my field of study. I will gain a massive amount of knowledge that can’t be gained in the classroom. I will be working with real world engineers and learning from them.” Diego also expects this experience will further motivate him to graduate and get out into the work world. The world could not ask for more from a recent graduate than Diego has already demonstrated.