Enrique Casas Cofradía '23, Leverages Pacific's Strengths, Lands EV Internship

Casas CofradíaEnrique Casas Cofradia ’23 has a plan. In fact, he has 168 of them each week.

“There are 168 hours in a week,” he said. “And I have every single hour accounted for.”

This is how Pacific University sophomore Casas Cofradia navigates the busy life of a physics-business administration double-major with two campus jobs and one off-campus job. It also speaks to the rigor he will bring to his summer internship through the Eversource Energy Center at the University of Connecticut. Casas Cofradia, who is Mexican American, is a recipient of a paid Pioneering Diversity Internship that will allow him to pursue his interest in electric vehicles and business.

After his first meeting with his internship adviser, Casas Cofradia said his internship will focus on two projects, both related to electric vehicles. One will examine the adoption rate for electric vehicles in Connecticut, where Eversource is based, and the other will study the economic impact of electric vehicle adoption on the region’s power grid. Casas Cofradia will help Eversource determine where it needs to bolster its electric vehicle infrastructure.

“Right now the thing that scares most people is this thought of charging an electric vehicle and being stuck without power,” he said. “In order to have increased electric vehicle adoption, we have to tackle that problem.”

The internship came to his attention through the College of Business and its Placement Services office. Both the placement office and the college’s Academic Career Advising Center regularly forward internship, scholarship and career opportunities to business students. Casas Cofradia had already met with Placement Services Director Wanda Frazier to review his resumé and practice interviewing, so he felt ready to apply. He sent his materials to Eversource and got news of his acceptance soon afterward.

The internship plays into Casas Cofradia’s interest in renewable energy, electric vehicles, entrepreneurship and finance.

“I think the adoption of EVs is inevitable in the future,” he said. “I do want to go into the renewable energy sector, specifically electric vehicles.”

Casas Cofradia doesn’t know every turn in the road ahead, but he has a vision. He decided to major in physics and business — and minor in computer science — because he wanted to build on his strengths and interests, while setting himself up for a post-graduation career.

“Math is my favorite subject, but at the higher levels, it becomes abstract,” said Casas Cofradia, who said he prefers more tangible forms of study. “I view physics as applied mathematics, and it is a solid foundation for engineering.”

A major in business administration helps prepare him to be an entrepreneur, he said.

As a result, Casas Cofradia has forged valuable connections in both the Pacific Physics Department and the College of Business. Because the Eversource internship is remote during the pandemic, he expects to stay home in Hillsboro, Ore., and to do some summer research in physics under the supervision of a Pacific professor.

“I made a great choice,” he said, “coming to a school where I can meet the professors and develop these close relationships.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2021