This summer, Duke Energy is hosting more than 100 college students who are spending their time away from school gaining valuable experience and knowledge from company professionals in all areas of interest. Working both full- and part-time schedules and sometimes carrying their experiences far past the summer months, interns put their studies into practice and prepare themselves for careers beyond college.
Interns enjoy the privilege of working under the close guidance of experts while at the same time being trusted with the responsibility of managing their own projects. Ben Nelson, an electrical design intern at McGuire Nuclear Station, was given a major role on a project to modernize the design of one of the freight elevators at the plant. He benefited from the supervision of a full-time engineer and had multiple opportunities to go inside the plant and see his designs being put to work.
“In my experience, college lays a solid educational foundation, but when you start to apply those concepts is when you learn the most,” said Nelson, who will graduate in December from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
The intern experience doesn’t always have to end when school begins. Courtney Adair, a senior at Clemson University, turned her summer internship into broader opportunities. She got her foot in the door last summer at Oconee’s World of Energy. For about a year, she was able to continue to work alongside Oconee’s communication and public relations specialists, working on media relations and press releases, writing feature articles and supporting the event-planning process at the site.
Adair said her internship helped her hone her writing skills and sharpen her attention to detail, which prepared her for and helped her secure a competitive internship at the MSL Group PR agency in Atlanta this summer. Her experience working for Duke, she said, “was a large part of why I was hired [at MSL].”
“The biggest thing I learned working at Duke is that PR is crazy and busy…it taught me to adapt quickly,” Adair said.
She has been offered the opportunity to return to the World of Energy this fall and plans to further her learning experiences there while continuing her studies at Clemson.
Duke interns work hard, but not without a little play and a few perks. Many of the interns live together in free, company-provided housing and bond over some fun organized events. McGuire interns, for instance, enjoy outings to the U.S. National Whitewater Center and the Sky High trampoline park in Charlotte, among other events.
Some interns also take the opportunity to return a little generosity to the company and their communities, like Nelson, who helped out at McGuire’s Charlotte Symphony event and volunteered for a Global Service Event project at the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson.
Internships at Duke are about more than just a summer job in the office or the plant. Brighter minds and futures are coming out of the program. While interns are helping the company light up homes and businesses, they are lighting the way for their own future careers as well.