Mirna Leon-Galligan still remembers her middle school chemistry class and her fascination with combining different chemicals to create different reactions.

Decades later, as an Environmental Supervisor for Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services, she’s still using her chemistry skills to ensure compliance with air and water regulations at the company’s natural gas-fired power plants in Tucson, Kingman and Nogales.

Leon-Galligan shared her recollections as Tucson Electric Power joins other utilities across the country in promoting Careers in Energy Week. The annual event, sponsored by the nonprofit Center for Energy Workforce Development, is intended to highlight the benefits of working in our industry.

TEP also promotes utility careers year round through training and recruitment for a wide range of jobs, from information technology and security to engineering and trades.

For Leon-Galligan, when her math and science track led her to pursue an environmental science degree in college, she was excited to be selected for an internship for full time summer hours at TEP, overseeing air quality.

She hadn’t thought about a career in energy, and didn’t know what to expect. But she did know the hours would help her pay for her college. She worked at TEP throughout her undergraduate degree.

Leon-Galligan quickly realized during her internship that she could make a difference in the environment. “You have the power to make good environmental decisions for a cleaner world if you work within the energy industry,” she said. “I take a lot of pride in making sure we do everything right.”

Leon-Galligan, who was born in Durango, Mexico, would encourage all students to consider a career in energy, including those who come from nontraditional paths or who appreciate working in a dynamic environment. “The sky is the limit really. There are so many changing pieces in the industry that it’s very exciting and very challenging,” she said. “There’s always something new and innovative on the horizon, especially these days as we’re working more and more with renewable energy.”

“And there are a vast number of roles you can have here, too. Whether you come from a math and engineering background, or the law, or communications or technology, every day is different. There are a lot of opportunities to be out there, learning.”

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