AIKEN, S.C. (January 3, 2024) — The Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management’s liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS) is giving nine college students the opportunity to jump-start their careers this year through a hybrid work program while finishing their engineering or computer science studies.
The Technical Student Program (TSP) gives rising senior summer interns with Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC) the opportunity 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.
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. This also gives the new hires a promotion to an engineer position that is a step above an entry-level role.
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.
SRMC President and Program Manager Dave Olson said the program simplifies and streamlines the process of transitioning interns into new hires.
“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,” Olson said. “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.”
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 with 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.”
SRMC comprises parent company BWX Technologies, Inc. with partners Amentum and Fluor. Its team brings the capabilities necessary to accelerate cleanup at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site through safe nuclear operations, optimized and integrated mission execution, and strong corporate governance.
While interning with Savannah River Mission Completion, Texas Tech University rising senior Jinju Philip spent time in the quality assurance program inside the Defense Waste Processing Facility at the Savannah River Site. He now works part time in the Technical Student Program as a system engineer for the company’s tank closure effort.