By: Jessica Harris
Securing a prosperous and cleaner planet for the future has always been top of mind at TerraPower. And for the company’s mission to become a reality, our founders understand the necessity to integrate coming generations into our work. Interns have been a part of TerraPower since the company’s beginning. In our early days, a few students would join us for the summer. However, in 2011 we put into place a robust program that provides the tools necessary for students to thrive as they enter the nuclear industry.
While it’s only January, many students are already thinking about their summer plans. For 10 to 15 students, this summer will bring with it a hands-on experience in their field of interest, and a chance to enact real change with a company that is striving to commercialize advanced nuclear technologies. Over the course of three months, interns become an integral part of technical teams, working alongside an assigned supervisor to complete projects. However, these projects aren’t just busy work. Everything that students work on during their time at TerraPower directly ties into meeting our design and company objectives.
To gain insight into the company as a whole, interns are exposed to work going on outside of their technical teams as well. They are invited to meetings, to discuss other team member’s work and are provided many opportunities to contribute. This often results in students helping in a greater capacity than their original assignments. The goal is to provide further exposure to the work TerraPower is doing and foster an understanding of how an intern’s work fits into the strategy of the company. To help do so, small meetings are organized with employees that range from engineers in different disciplines, to executive team members.
The summer isn’t all work and no play. We view TerraPower interns as potential coworkers. That is why we like to host various events throughout the summer such as hikes, happy hours, BBQs and trivia nights. These activities give students a chance to network, but also to explore all that the area offers, helping them see what life is truly like as a TerraPower employee.
Focusing on bringing in bright students has yielded promising results. In fact, many students who have interned with TerraPower have since joined the company on a fulltime basis. Take, for example, Bao Truong. Bao learned about the traveling wave reactor (TWR) technology during his time in the program. He then used this newly gained knowledge to work with software and develop a model that evaluates the safety characteristics of the TWR design. As Bao’s time as an intern came to an end, he was offered a fulltime position and is now a nuclear engineer and Supervisor of Reactor Transient and Accident Analysis with the company. Examples like this are why the program has become a main hiring tool for new graduates.
Each year we are continually impressed and inspired by the ideas and work that our interns produce. We look forward to what the intern class of 2018 will bring. If you are interested in spending your summer with us at TerraPower, visit our careers page and apply!