Savannah River Site offers select interns a career fast track

January 3, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News
While interning at SRS, Texas Tech senior Jinju Philip spent time in the quality assurance program inside the Defense Waste Processing Facility. He now works part time in the Technical Student Program as a system engineer for the site’s tank closure effort. (Photo: SRMC)

The Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management’s liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site is giving nine college students the opportunity to jump-start their careers this year through a hybrid work program that allows them to finish their engineering or computer science studies while also interning at SRS.

The Technical Student Program (TSP) gives some senior summer interns with Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC) the chance to continue working part-time after returning to school in the fall. Students can choose to stay in the program until they graduate. Students who enter the program do so with the intention of eventually continuing their work with SRMC after graduation.

Becoming qualified: Completion of the TSP leads to attainment of technical staff qualifications, enabling engineers to become qualified design authorities with SRMC. Design authorities are able to propose and approve changes to systems within the SRS liquid waste program. It also gives new hires a promotion to an engineering position a step above an entry level role.

Successes: Since the program’s inception three years ago, 19 interns have entered the program to transition from school to work. Of that group, 18 were offered positions in the liquid waste program and are working for SRMC.

“Once their summer internship ends at SRS, those interns who perform extremely well on the job can be selected to remain employed with us to complete their training—even while finishing their college courses,” said Dave Olson, SRMC president and program manager. “This program gives our extraordinary interns a clear path from their summer internship into their engineering career with us.”

SRMC’s success will always depend on the strength of the workforce, Olson noted.

“Each intern chosen for the program must exhibit positive attributes and aptitude,” he said. “We always strive for the highest levels of excellence when it comes to safety, training, and building our incoming talent.”

In focus: Participants are reviewed by a screening board before receiving formal offers to participate. The TSP also provides mentoring opportunities from full-time employees who work directly with the students.

Jinju Philip, a mechanical engineering student at Texas Tech University, is taking part in the TSP this year. His focus is on tank closure of the site’s old-style tanks.

“This program offers a structured environment for honing my engineering skills, providing a solid foundation for transitioning into a full-time position,” Philip said. “What’s been particularly beneficial is the ongoing support from my manager and mentor. We have regular conversations every week. They provide valuable advice not only on excelling in my role but also on how to succeed in my academic pursuits and future career.”

About SRMC: SRMC comprises parent company BWX Technologies and its partners Amentum and Fluor.

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