SRNS Internship Program Grows in Size and Diversity, Becoming a Major Job Pipeline for Site

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions intern Caroline Harpring, a sophomore from Virginia Commonwealth University, discusses her future career plans with SRNS Intern Coordinator Nate Diakun.

AIKEN, S.C., July 30, 2018 – This summer, 169 Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) and Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) interns are gaining professional experience while contributing new ideas and fresh perspectives at the Savannah River Site (SRS). These students join 18 year-round interns for a total of 174 interns representing 56 colleges and universities.

"Our reputation on college campuses throughout the U.S. is definitely growing," said Nate Diakun, SRNS Intern Coordinator. "Word is spreading about the quality and value of our internship program. We have students working with us from 17 states and U.S. territories including those as far away as California, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Texas and Puerto Rico."

According to Diakun, the SRNS intern program grew more than 20 percent last year alone.

The primary goal of the program is to provide an environment that encourages impactful contributions through meaningful projects and peer to peer interactions. "We believe the unique internship experiences provided in many of our facilities help make SRNS and SRNL compelling places to start a career once students receive degrees and become eligible for full-time, long-term employment,” said Diakun.

SRNS recently hosted a reception where interns tapped the knowledge and experience of several SRS executives while connecting with other young professionals.

Attending the event was SRNS engineering intern Magdalina Hansen, a rising sophomore at Clemson University who is working on multiple projects involving SRS nuclear facilities. “One of my assigned tasks has definitely given me more diversity to my skill set. It involves using a CAD (computer-aided design) program to help design stretch-wrap covers for radioactive containers stored in K Area."

"I highly value this experience and the opportunity to work with people who are in the occupational field I'm pursuing. This internship has given me a taste of what all the different types of engineers do, which has helped confirm that I want to obtain my degree in chemical engineering. That's one of the important advantages of an internship, because you just can't be sure sitting in a classroom," she said.

Stuart MacVean, SRNS President and CEO, believes that the future of the site relies on attracting and retaining high quality job candidates, including through the SRNS internship program. “As the management and operations contractor at SRS, we offer career opportunities for a wide variety of professionals, including engineers, scientists, accountants and project managers, among many other occupations," he said.

MacVean noted that the SRNS intern program supports a significant portion of our pipeline to fill open positions. "We test the students, and they become familiar with the important national security and environmental work we do," he said. "That combination puts us in the position to graduate about 50 percent of our students into fulltime positions."

"The timing for these young adults as they begin reach the job market is excellent," added MacVean. "We are hiring about 400 people a year."

According to Diakun, the acceptance rate of current and former interns offered positions as full service SRNS employees increased from 83 percent in 2016 to 90 percent in 2017.

"We're pleased that so many of these promising young men and women choose to join our corporate family here at the Savannah River Site," said Diakun.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, a Fluor-led company with Newport News Nuclear and Honeywell, is responsible for the management and operations of the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, including the Savannah River National Laboratory, located near Aiken, South Carolina.