Duke Energy nuclear interns have shared their experiences on the Nuclear Information Center this summer. In this final article in the series, we asked them to reflect on what they’ve learned during their internship. Here are five lessons they shared.
1. Community and safety are paramount at nuclear plants.
Charlotte Mader: I’ve learned that the community is a priority for Duke Energy and safety is integrated into every meeting, action and process. Although safety is important everywhere, Duke Energy definitely goes above and beyond to ensure that safety is a priority for anyone on the nuclear site, as well as in the surrounding community.
Stephanie Teo: All my preconceived notions regarding nuclear safety paled in comparison to the actual safety standards and procedures of the nuclear industry.
2. Technical writing is harder than you think.
Neal Dev: Writing a technical procedure is much more difficult than it seems since it requires creating something that anyone can follow. Things you may think are simple may not be to someone else. I was unaware of how detailed and clear each step has to be. This is a great skill to have since it can be used in various industries and day-to-day situations.
“Never stop asking questions because there is always more you can discover.” – Stephanie Teo
3. Intelligence and passion are important leadership qualities.
Michael Tuten: The interns in the corporate office took a tour of the used fuel building at Catawba Nuclear Station with Senior Nuclear Engineer, William Murphy. Quickly after the tour began, I realized Mr. Murphy really knows his stuff. He is extremely knowledgeable and can answer any question that comes his way. He is similar in many ways to who I want to be in my career – an expert in my field and eager to teach what I’m interested in and knowledgeable of. I’m always inspired by those who are highly intelligent and passionate in their careers, and there is no doubt this is the case with Mr. Murphy.
Neal Dev: My supervisor, Norm Austin, is highly knowledgeable about the inner-workings of a nuclear reactor core and can also quickly turn tense situations into light ones when needed. I believe these are two important qualities for any supervisor, and it helps make his team much more productive.
4. You can work hard and still enjoy what you are doing.
Charlotte Mader: The Brunswick Nuclear Plant summer interns I’ve had the pleasure working and living with throughout the last couple of months have truly made the experience meaningful and memorable. We are definitely a group of friends that strive to work our hardest while still having fun.
5. Learn all you can.
Neal Dev: I would advise others interested in interning at a nuclear plant or at any business to get to know a wide variety of people, even those outside your immediate work group. Running a power plant is only possible as a cohesive unit and the more people you know the easier it is to accomplish work.
Stephanie Teo: Learning can be found anywhere. Just because you’re in one department doesn’t mean you can’t learn something about other departments. Get your feet wet in as many areas as you can and never stop asking questions because there is always more you can discover.