In April 2023, LUMA, the operator and manager of the electric power transmission and distribution system in Puerto Rico, formed a collaborative agreement with Puerto Rico’s Department of Education. The aim of the partnership has been to provide educational and training opportunities at local high schools, a mission of the LUMA’s “Impulsando tu Futuro" (Power Your Future) initiative.
One of the goals was to inspire female students with an interest in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to purse a post-graduate career in Puerto Rico power delivery sector.
As part of the collaborative agreement, in November the University Gardens schools and LUMA organized the Second Grand Finale, the second edition of the electric go-kart race built by female high-school students.
To execute the thrilling event held in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, 45 ninth and tenth-grade students, along with LUMA volunteer engineers, worked on the design and construction of electric go-karts over five extracurricular sessions.
“I’m inspired by the hard work and dedication of these talented young women who have embraced the challenge of building electric vehicles, collaborating as a team and creatively addressing the challenges they encountered,” said Shay Bahramirad, Senior Vice President of Engineering, Asset Management, and Capital Programs at LUMA. “These young women will lead all of Puerto Rico to a more resilient and sustainable energy future.”
The Second Grand Finale marks the conclusion of the "Impulsando tu Futuro" program, the first of its kind in Puerto Rico, which reaffirms LUMA’s commitment to STEM education and the promotion of engineering careers for women. After the race, sincere gratitude was expressed to the student community of University Gardens for their dedication and enthusiasm.
"One group finished the race first, but it’s what teams can do together that makes all of Puerto Rico a winner," said Bahramirad. “These 45 young women are just one part of LUMA’s broader commitment to the clean energy workforce of the future.”
As a customer-centric company, the focus of LUMA’s workforce of nearly 4,500 employees is on transforming the electrical transmission and distribution system after Hurricane Maria, a category five hurricane, left Puerto Rico’s electrical grid in shambles and the entire island in the dark. The company is dedicated to safely deliver reliable, resilient, clean, and affordable electrical service to its 1.5 million Puerto Rican customers.
STEM educational programs provided students with hands-on engineering experience, preparing them for a future in this exciting power delivery field. LUMA plans to continue working to inspire and empower the future female engineers of Puerto Rico. These educational partnerships are among several opportunities LUMA is providing across communities to empower the development of the next generation of energy workers. To help train a broad array of energy workers, LUMA’s College for Technical Training has graduated over 70 Puerto Rican apprentice line workers since 2021.
Lyane J Flores Velázquez is a licensed Puerto Rican public relations professional with extensive experience in the industry and crisis management. Currently, she serves as an Internal and External Communications Specialist at LUMA, which operates and manages Puerto Rico’s electric power transmission and distribution system. Her responsibilities include media relations with local, national, and international outlets and executes both internal and external communication campaigns. Velázquez has led more than 30 weekly media ride-alongs, showcasing LUMA’s focus on transforming Puerto Rico’s electrical transmission and distribution system after Hurricane Maria.
Beyond her role at LUMA, Velázquez made significant contributions throughout her career, as a digital media buyer and involvement with various nonprofit organizations.
Dr. Shay Bahramirad is the Senior Vice President of Engineering and Asset Management at LUMA Energy, the power company responsible for electric service in Puerto Rico. In this role, she is responsible for the oversight, planning, and execution of plans to modernize the power infrastructure. This includes a foundation of developing local engineering talent, teams and processes, and the prudent application of new technology. Dr. Bahramirad is the President of IEEE Power and Energy Society, a US CIGRE Executive member, an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a founder of IEEE Women in Power.