Chemical Engineering Internship Story: Southern Nuclear

 on the job photoheadshot

Emily Moshell

Chemical Engineering

What company did you intern with and where are they located?

I worked for Southern Nuclear at Plant Farley in Columbia, AL. 

How did you identify and apply for your internship? Are there any specific resources you used to find the opportunity (i.e. Handshake, career fairs, other recruitment events)?

I am a member of NAYGN and take the NPGS minor, so I’ve been introduced to a few people from Southern Nuclear and have learned a lot about their values as a company. I went to the career fair on campus and talked to the representatives at the Southern Company table and they set up an interview for me. If anyone is interested in going into the nuclear power industry, I would definitely recommend getting involved with the minor and NAYGN. These resources have definitely helped me with my internship this past summer. 

What was the application process like?

I went to a Southern Company Career Fair Prep event hosted by Auburn NAYGN, where I met the recruiter and a few other women in the industry. At the career fair, I introduced myself, asked questions, and gave them my resume. That night, I received and email that I would be going through the first round of interviews. I scheduled my time slot and interviewed during the on campus interview days. A few days later, I was notified that I was selected for second round interviews which were held about a week later on zoom. I received an email from the recruiter that I would be working at Farley this summer and my on-site contacts reached out shortly after. It was a very smooth process and everyone was very willing to help and answer any questions I had leading up to the summer. 

Tell us about your internship experience. What types of tasks and projects did you engage in? Was there a particular project or part of the experience you learned the most from?

I worked with the Programs Engineering group which handles plant reliability with aging management, prevention, and mitigation. I went on walk downs to inspect and assess the condition of certain components. I was mostly involved with leaks and surfaces. The plant is almost 50 years old, so some components have begun to degrade. Surfaces of older pipes or components in certain environments can corrode, so I monitored their conditions to ensure plant reliability. Farley uses borated water, which leads to boric acid leaks around components. I inspected these components and verified if the condition was acceptable as boric acid can be corrosive to some materials. 

In what ways did this internship help you prepare for your next destination after Auburn?

The biggest thing I learned this summer was that I need to be on-site, in the plant. I never would have found out that I would rather not be in an office all day if it wasn’t for this summer. I will be looking at this aspect for when I go to a full-time job.

In what ways did your coursework or other experiences at Auburn prepare you for your internships? Are there specific topics or skills you learned from classes that you put into practice on the job?

Since I had taken some classes in the minor before starting my internship, I felt more prepared to start work compared to my peers. I had learned methods of communication, safety culture, performance tools, and gained basic knowledge about the systems in the plant. It was very cool to be able to use this knowledge in action and actually fill in some holes that I didn’t know were there. Seeing the plant in person helped me to read it better on paper. 

Do you have any advice for other students looking for internships like yours?

Like I said earlier, if you are wanting to pursue a career in nuclear power, it would be very beneficial to join NAYGN or the minor. There is also an NPGS Lab if you are interested in undergraduate research. If you’re not sure and just want to learn more about nuclear as a career, take the intro class for the minor. It only meets one day a week and you’ll meet and talk to people in the industry and learn about nuclear as a career path.