August 20, 2018
Internship: Focused on Safe Closing of Coal Ash Basins
Undergraduate Simone Stein (CEE/EPP ’20) is spending her summer in Charlotte, North Carolina working with the Coal Combustion Products team at Duke Energy. She’s assisting the group, which was formed in 2014 after the Dan River coal ash spill, to implement the safe closing of North Carolina coal ash basins which are mandated by the state government.
CEE: Tell us about the projects you’re working on this summer.
I am working on a variety of projects. I do a fair amount of water testing analysis from data that comes from field tests. What I am looking at is how water quality is changing over time. This data is used to determine how we will treat the water to meet state guidelines.
I’ve also worked on smaller, more specific projects such as applying for dam safety permits and performing calculations on the modification of existing pipe structures.
CEE: How have your classes at CEE helped you in the internship?
My Solid Mechanics class has been directly applicable to my internship. I often apply analysis from solid mechanics to determine if certain loads on a platform would surpass the allowable bearing stress.
Introduction to Professional Writing was also useful and helps to me create concise, yet descriptive reports. The delivery of well-written information was especially important when applying for permits from government agencies.
CEE: What’s been your favorite part of the experience?
I really enjoy visiting the power plants. My visits put my work into perspective and allow me to better understand why certain engineering decisions were made.
I also like the hands-on work at the plant sites, such as taking piezometer and inclinometer readings.
CEE: What advice do you have for students pursuing internships?
Don’t be afraid to apply to any internship that interests you.
I was nervous that I was not qualified enough for my current internship and was hesitant about applying. However, I applied anyway and was ecstatic to receive the offer.
Once I started the internship, I realized that my education had prepared me for the position.