Changing Communities One Student at a Time
Edwin Luevanos, a former participant in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Scholars Program, is now employed by DOE as a human capital specialist in Washington, D.C. Luevanos helps recruit talented individuals including young, disadvantaged college graduates through training programs, recruitment fairs and new technologies.
Edwin Luevanos, a second-generation immigrant, is living his vision of the American dream as a human capital specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C.
Luevanos grew up in a California community with other immigrant families of Hispanic origin and went on to study political science at California State University, Fresno, where he was first introduced to the U.S. Department of Energy.
“I knew nothing about DOE or the labs,” Luevanos said. “I just knew I wanted to work in public service and have an impact on policy.”
After interning at DOE for a year, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education offered to extend his internship through the DOE Scholars Program. In this program, Luevanos became a student recruiter for ORISE-administered DOE programs, specifically focusing on disadvantaged students in west coast universities. His largest project in the program was organizing and chairing the 2005 Hispanic Youth Symposium, a pilot program that was created to make local high school students aware of internship and career opportunities at DOE.
“I was tasked to see if this type of event was feasible and beneficial to the department,” Luevanos said.
Focused on the themes of college, career and community, the symposium provided students with tips to become good candidates for DOE positions. The three-day symposium was held on a college campus to familiarize students with the college environment and expose them to the opportunities a college education had to offer.
Today, there are similar programs for Hispanic students in 15 different cities, and Luevanos still has a hand in supporting their operations. But while working on the symposium, Luevanos was able to realize true passion—helping disadvantaged communities while building a pipeline for the department’s future work force.
“I got to be a part of building skills in the students of these communities and giving them access to great opportunities,” Luevanos said. “This is not only critical for them and their families but also for our nation. Now it is possible for them.”
The DOE Scholars Programs also provided Luevanos with a research opportunity. Working at DOE’s Oak Ridge, Tenn. location, he analyzed the organization’s work force plans and the return on investment in career fair recruitment events.
In his current, full-time position as a human capital specialist for DOE, Luevanos helps find gaps in the department’s recruitment areas, as well as manage programs for students, such as the Energy Student Ambassador Program—a year-long program allowing eight college students the opportunity to serve as recruiters for DOE talent across the country.
Although proud of the achievements in his career, Luevanos likes to focus on helping his family, as well as helping others with high potential but low access to opportunity.
“Some people in our community don’t believe my mom when she talks about my job,” said Luevanos, whose parents emigrated from Mexico in 1983. “I guess that’s one of the reasons I am passionate about thisÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ to show folks that it [opportunity] is possible.”