Young adults gain real-life work experience in paid internships at Aera Energy
Kitzia Gonzalez was overwhelmed by career options when she graduated from California State University, Bakersfield in May with a degree in computer engineering. She chose her career direction after interning at Aera Energy.
Gonzalez worked in the university’s information technology (IT) department in college and applied for a paid cybersecurity internship at Aera – a field she knew nothing about. Now, Gonzalez is starting a new role as a technical support engineer at Cisco Systems, following two summers at Aera.
“I think the biggest takeaway from interning was that I knew Aera was an oil and gas company but for some reason I was really surprised there was a cybersecurity department,” the Bakersfield native said. “The internship really opened my eyes to see that every company – no matter what sector it is in – needs cybersecurity.”
Gonzalez was introduced to security frameworks and learned how companies implement them at Aera. Gonzalez assisted the cybersecurity team by tracking processes and technology maturity against industry security best practices to measure how well Aera’s team is doing in protecting the company.
“Kitzia knows about the critical controls and requirements that help a company get and stay secure,” said Bill Trivitt, cyber and information security manager at Aera. “We are thrilled the internship gave her a strong foundation in cybersecurity, that along with her hard work at CSUB led to her position at Cisco Systems. We couldn’t be more proud of her!”
Aera employee interns receive competitive pay based on the student’s field of study or years in school with multiple internships available every year. Hours are flexible around school schedules. Most interns work at Aera’s headquarters in Bakersfield or at Aera’s locations in San Ardo, Coalinga and Ventura. They are designed to give young adults hands-on work experience with real work, while also filling a business need at the company.
“They give students the opportunity to develop the types of skills industries will look for in professionals and provide them exposure to help shape and confirm their career interests,” said Megan McCulley, Aera talent specialist. “Interns are supported by mentors and other experienced team members. They’re encouraged to get involved in the company and our community, so they get a true taste of what Aera is all about.”
Gonzalez remembers when her team asked her to run one of their daily meetings at the start of her internship. “I was kind of scared. I was thinking, are you sure you want me to run the meeting? I knew I just had to go through it. I felt nervous and under a lot of pressure but now I enjoy running the meetings,” Gonzalez said.
She felt respected as a member of the team and running impromptu meetings will be a workplace skill she will take from her internship.
“I would recommend these Aera internships to students. It’s a super flexible internship over the summer or while in school. It’s paid, but apart from that, there’s a lot of different careers at Aera you can learn about and there’s definitely a wonderful sense of community here,” she said.