Insights > Paying it forward to the next generation

Paying it forward to the next generation


Entergy recently had the privilege of hosting 35 students from New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School at the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers' annual conference in New Orleans. Entergy was a conference sponsor and hosted a booth in their Career and Academic Expo, where employees shared information with conference attendees about career opportunities at the company for students and professionals with STEM backgrounds.

Entergy's participation in the conference was spearheaded by Alicia Jones, manager of policy and performance for Entergy’s chief security officer organization, who is a great example of how a background in a STEM field can open doors to a variety of career paths. Though she now works in cybersecurity, Jones' education background is in chemistry and physics, holding a doctorate degree in chemical physics and a master's degree in physics. Jones became involved with NOBCChE during graduate school through her mentor, Dr. William Jackson, who was a founder of the organization.

"NOBCChE is the organization that got me to the place that I am today, so when I knew NOBCChE was coming to New Orleans for their annual convention, I knew that I wanted Entergy to be a part of that,” said Jones. “I wanted us to help to bring young people to the conference to help them to see many black and brown faces of scientists and engineers in STEM, and I wanted us to be seen by working professionals as a place that they could come and contribute."

The organization held its first annual meeting in New Orleans in 1973, so it was only fitting that they celebrated their 50th year by holding the conference in the city where they got their start. It also presented the perfect opportunity for Jones to pay it forward by introducing a new generation of students to the organization and to all the possibilities that are available with a STEM education.

Jones rallied employees across the company, including the integrated customer organization and diversity and workforce strategies teams, to leverage the opportunity for Entergy while creating a unique and meaningful experience for the students from the New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School.

The students had the opportunity to directly interact with more than a dozen scientists and engineers from academia and industry – including two of Entergy’s nuclear engineers. They also watched a chemist "testify" as an expert in forensics science at a mock trial; spoke with scientists about the challenges they face as a minority in STEM; and spoke with representatives from academia and industry about what they were looking for while trying to recruit students and working professionals.

"The conference was truly a transformative experience for our students,” said New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School chemistry teacher Kim Conner-Davis. “They were thrilled to meet scientists from Entergy and engage in conversations with conference leaders, as well as participate in engaging workshops on forensics and perform hands-on experiments. The interactive sessions allowed the students to expand their knowledge and gain practical insights into prospective STEM fields of interest."

Entergy’s diversity and workforce strategies team is working with Conner-Davis to stay in touch with her students about future career awareness and development opportunities as they progress through their education and careers.  

New Orleans Editorial Team