By Christiana Katsoulos

Madison Energy Investments (MEI) recently participated in two career fairs at James Madison University (JMU), which gave me the exciting opportunity to return to my alma mater and speak with students about our 2022 Summer Internship program. This was my first time returning to campus since I graduated in 2017, so it was a bit emotional seeing how the campus has evolved over the last five years. It wasn’t that long ago that I was one of these students interviewing with prospective companies at the Career Fairs, so coming back to interview students was a very humbling experience.

I’m not the only JMU alum at Madison Energy Investments. In fact, the very name of our company came about because two of the three founders and Managing Partners are also proud alums of JMU. As such, we prioritize participation in recruiting events at the school and enjoy finding any excuse to return to campus.

My colleague Kinga Cichowska joined me on the first Career Day event, which was scheduled for the College of Integrated Science and Engineering (CISE). It was exciting for me to be present at the CISE Career Fair since my major, Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT), was housed under CISE.

We had a whirlwind of a day, speaking to students non-stop, for almost 4 hours! “Attending the Career Day and representing Madison was such a rewarding experience,” said Kinga. “It was inspiring to see the interest and passion these students have for renewable energy, and how driven they are in advancing their professional career.”

We had a great time, and it was nice to be able to look back on my own experiences and relate to the students we were speaking with. It’s amazing how buildings and campus layouts can change, yet the heart and soul of a university remains the same. I felt right at home at JMU, even 5 years later.

The second Career Fair event was open to the entire campus and included conversations with a variety of students. This time joined by my colleague, Thomas Barnett, we spoke to students with majors ranging from Biology, Writing, Intelligence Analysis, Psychology, Finance, Economics, and Business Management. MEI has always believed in hiring people not solely for what they studied or their professional background but based on their attitude and aptitude. Reflecting on this tenet, Thomas and I didn’t discourage anyone from visiting our booth, leading to unique conversations with each interested student. “As a recent grad, I went through similar experiences as these students, so it was incredibly rewarding to help them along their journey as a representative of Madison,” remarked Thomas. I completely agree with him! I was very inspired by the next round of graduates and look forward to working with them in the coming years.

During the second visit on campus, one of my favorite ISAT professors gave me the opportunity to speak to students in an elective course called Sustainable Energy Development. For background, ISAT is a program that caters to students individually by allowing them to create their own area of concentration, tailored to their unique interests. The opportunity was probably one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had since graduating from JMU. I always hoped that one day I could come back to JMU and share my experiences with students since I remember former students coming to speak to my class. The ISAT major was quite small, so we had a tight-nit community and were encouraged to help each other in and outside of class. This led to my desire to want to inspire and encourage current students in the same way I was just a few short years ago.

After attending both JMU Career Day events, MEI received tremendous interest in our 2022 Summer Internship program. We also posted the internship opportunity on other career platforms, which brought in numerous other students from universities all over the United States as well as overseas. Due to the high interest we received this year, we have decided to bring on three summer interns to work out of the Vienna, VA office and one graduate intern out of the NYC office. We look forward to having them join us for the summer and hopefully provide them with the same inspiration I received when I was a student.