Tuskegee University and Alabama Power seek to strengthen relationship


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (November 15, 2013) —Acting Tuskegee University President, Dr. Matthew Jenkins, signed an agreement designed to strengthen ties with Alabama Power Tuesday. The company has had a relationship with the university that spans more than 40 years and Alabama Power employs several alumni. 

Part of the agreement includes a $300,000 gift given by the Alabama Power Foundation that was presented to the university Nov. 2. The donation is for the College of Engineering. Alumnus Jonathan Porter hosted an event during homecoming to highlight the relationship with Alabama Power and Tuskegee. He is director of customer services for Alabama Power Company and is on Tuskegee’s board of trustees.

“This donation is to continue to cultivate and strengthen the relationship with Tuskegee and to ensure that Tuskegee remains one of the top producers of African-American engineers in the country,” Porter said. 

Legand Burge, dean of the College of Engineering, said the funds would be used for educational support activities such as bringing in guest lecturers. The donation is also a naming opportunity for the dean’s conference room in Luther Foster Hall. The conference room will now be known as the Alabama Power Conference Room. Burge said the college would always be a viable talent pipeline for employees with a background in power generation and energy systems, particularly in electrical and mechanical engineering.

“The majority of our new hires at Alabama Power are engineers,” Porter said.

Roy Nunn, Tuskegee’s director of corporate and foundation relations, said Alabama Power has been not only an employer of the university’s graduates, but a training partner that has given students valuable internship experience.

“This is about their longtime commitment to be here,” Nunn said about the donation. 

Student opportunities

Porter said Alabama Power wants to remain engaged with the university and its students. This past summer, three students held internships with the company: Isreal Askew, Katrina Crenshaw and Sheldon Foster. 

Askew, a 4th-year mechanical engineering major from Birmingham, Ala., said he spent his time in the company’s Power Delivery and Power Distribution division. He said that he gained great work experience and was treated like a full-time employee. 

“It’s a good experience, because I didn’t quite know what an engineer does every day,” Askew said. “There were a lot of mentors that were willing to mentor a young student like myself.”

Crenshaw has been interning with the company every summer since 2011. The graduating senior chemical engineering major from Bessemer, Ala., said she worked with the Environmental Affairs department last summer. Crenshaw’s degree program includes an environmental engineering option. At Alabama Power, she spent three months learning about environment regulatory compliance and writing permits.

“The experience augmented my coursework,” she said. “A lot of the regulatory procedures and regulations were familiar to me and I had already heard about these policies through my courses and prior internships.”

Foster is a senior accounting major from Cedartown, Ga., and has spent two summers with the company. This past summer, he worked in the Revenue Accounting department. He said it was a great opportunity to network and get experience with various accounting software. He also appreciated the challenge of this experience because he learned a lot from the people. 

“I was able to learn real life applications, ” Foster said. “And, do real life work.”

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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