Home Lifestyle Four RichmondCC substation students ready to start careers with Duke Energy

Four RichmondCC substation students ready to start careers with Duke Energy

Richmond Community College Electric Utility Substation & Relay Technology students, from left, Meredith Standridge, Michael Preslar, Taylor Chappell and Alyssa Roberts have all been given and accepted job offers from Duke Energy. All four will graduate in May. Photo by RichmondCC

HAMLET — Four students in the Electric Utility Substation & Relay Technology program at Richmond Community College will be going to work for Duke Energy immediately after graduating this coming May. Three of these students have been sitting on these job offers ever since completing internships with the company this past summer, and the fourth student is still working for Duke in an extended internship.

Meredith Standridge of Ellerbe, Taylor Chappell of Rockingham and Alyssa Roberts of Liberty have all been hired as learner relay technicians with Duke Energy. In this position, they will work under seasoned relay technicians as they learn the basics of relay construction and maintenance.

Michael Preslar

EUSRT student Michael Preslar of Norwood has been assisting at multiple Duke Energy sites since his internship started in June 2021. He worked this past summer with crews at the Tillery hydroelectric plant doing preventative maintenance and troubleshooting with solar energy technology.

Several years ago, Preslar learned about the EUSRT program when he was doing contract work for Duke.

“I had experience working at hydro plants and the solar fields beforehand, so I thought it would be a good idea to come see the substation side of the field as well,” Preslar said. “I have learned a ton just in the past one and half years in the EURST program. I’ll be able to take that with me wherever in the field I may go.”

Meredith Standridge

Standridge will be based out of Aberdeen when she starts working for Duke Energy on June 12.

“I’m looking forward to being part of a good company and learning more about the industry,” Standridge said. “Over the summer, I was able to work alongside a great crew that was so willing to answer any questions I had, and I look forward to being a part of that again.”

Standridge learned about the EUSRT program when she was a junior at Marlboro Academy. EUSRT Program Coordinator Brian Terry visited the school and talked about the uniqueness of the program. Standridge decided to take several introductory EUSRT courses since she was also a dual enrollment student at RichmondCC.

“It seemed like an interesting field. I knew at the time I wanted to do engineering, but I had not yet found a focus,” she said. “I’m thankful that everything played out like it did and appreciate everyone who encouraged me along the way. This program has helped me in more ways than one to achieve my goals and set me up for a great lifelong career.”

While Standridge will be working for Duke Energy, she also plans to continue her education in the fall of 2023 at East Carolina University. She will be able to transfer up to 62 credits from her EUSRT associate degree seamlessly into the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology program at ECU. She will also be able to complete the bachelor’s degree online.

“I want to do this in order to further my education and be able to expand my knowledge for future endeavors,” she said.

Taylor Chappell

Chappell, like Standridge, came into the EUSRT program as a high school dual enrollment student in 2019. After graduating from Richmond Senior High School in 2021, she decided to continue the program at RichmondCC.

“The EUSRT program grabbed my attention early on due to its mechanical aspect and hands-on training. In addition, I heard many success stories from graduates of the program, which only increased my interest,” she said.

Chappell and Standridge both received the RichmondCC Guarantee, so they have been going to college tuition free. The RichmondCC Guarantee allows high school graduates who live in Richmond or Scotland County who take at least two dual enrollment classes at RichmondCC and graduate with a 2.8 GPA or higher to qualify for two years of free tuition at RichmondCC.

“The Guarantee program allowed me to attend college for free, and the EUSRT program guaranteed job placement when I graduated. It sounded like an opportunity I could not pass up,” Chappell said.

Chappell also plans to further her education thanks to a transfer agreement with Excelsior University. She will be able to transfer credits from her EUSRT degree into Excelsior’s online Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology program.

“I would highly recommend the EUSRT program to others. It is a great opportunity to learn and gain valuable knowledge about the power systems industry,” said Chappell, who will be based out of Kings Mountain for Duke. “It opens the door to a vast amount of job opportunities.”

Alyssa Roberts

Alyssa Roberts lives an hour and a half from Hamlet, but she and her boyfriend, Austin Morrow, make the drive to and from Richmond Community College because of the EURST program.


“We both have fallen in love with this program and the field we are about to be entering,” Roberts said.

Roberts will be based out of Greensboro when she graduates in the spring, but she completed her summer internship for Duke Energy in High Springs, Florida. She gained a better understanding just how unique the EUSRT program is to RichmondCC while in Florida.

RichmondCC was the trail blazer in creating this type of program that prepares relay technicians to enter the workforce in two years, but other schools have since created their own versions, including one in Florida.

“I spoke to a number of people who either graduated from the school in Florida, or knew of people who did, and they were not impressed with the (Florida) program,” Roberts said. “When talking about what our program (at RichmondCC) has to offer, we are being set up for nothing but success.”

Roberts’ father worked for Duke Energy for 30 years, so she has some familiarity with the utility industry. Her father was the one who mentioned the EUSRT program at RichmondCC to her when she was still trying to figure out her career path.

Roberts graduated from East Carolina University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. She just finished paying off her college debt for that degree, so the idea of paying for another degree was questionable.

“My dad talked to me about becoming a relay technician, how they were in such high demand for people in this field and that I would only need to complete two more years of schooling,” Roberts said. “My boyfriend and I decided to go through the program together.”

Roberts and Morrow are both glad they took a chance on this program, and Roberts encourages others to give it a try.

“I will say it is not an ‘easy’ program, but you may find a love for this field like I did,” Roberts added.

Register Now for Spring Semester

Richmond Community College is now registering students for the 2023 Spring Semester, which begins Jan. 12. The introductory course for the EUSRT program will be offered. Applications can be completed for free online at www.richmondcc.edu/admissions. The College is also hosting an Application_2_Registration Day on Dec. 14 at both campuses to help people apply and get registered for classes all in one day. To learn more, call Student Services at 910-410-1700.

Previous articleRelay For Life holding 2nd annual Reindeer Run in Scotland County
Next articleOPINION: Why we don’t ‘wait for the facts’