Jared Beauchene, mechanical engineer student, Washington State University Tri-Cities
My summer was filled with challenges and a lot of learning as I worked as a mechanical engineering intern for AREVA in the Fuel Mechanics department at the Horn Rapids Road site in Richland, Wash. This experience gave me a new perspective as I head back to WSU Tri-Cities (WSUTC) for my senior year and confirmed why I want a career in mechanical engineering.
Through the internship, I performed a variety of tasks and calculations to help test different equipment and components used in nuclear fuel designs. Some of my work included helping engineers in AREVA’s onsite test facility set up equipment for pressure drop and life and wear tests on first-of- a-kind fuel designs. Other tasks included drafting components, working with our machine shop and millwrights to build the components, and working on a strength calculation for a fuel assembly component.
While working with the analysis and testing group, I learned a lot about problem solving in a work environment; a lot that cannot be duplicated in class. The WSUTC engineering courses provided me the proper tools to solve engineering problems, however, my internship showed me how in a work environment you rarely have all of the information you need in one clearly defined problem. Information can be scattered across documents, people, and databases and it is your job to gather everything that you know, identify what you don’t know, and then organize a plan of attack about how to solve your problem and meet your goal all within the required timeframe.
This internship taught me another valuable lesson: rely on the help of your peers and co-workers. As an engineering student, I felt inclined to solve the problem by myself using as little help as possible, even if this meant struggling for long periods of time. However, in a work environment, time is money, and you are part of a team. You have to make the decision to ask for help after you have exhausted all reasonable leads and spent sufficient time trying to figure out the problem for yourself. Odds are that a more experienced coworker can show you the correct way in a fraction of the time you might waste. The ability to ask for help when you need it is a necessity.
I enjoyed my internship and time at AREVA, and learned valuable skills about working in the industry as well as building relationships that will help me throughout my career. What I enjoyed most at AREVA has been working for a company that is an industry leader in nuclear energy. AREVA is involved in every aspect of the nuclear energy cycle, from uranium mining and fuel supply to reactor services, used fuel storage, and decommissioning. There is something at AREVA applicable for all kinds of engineers.
I would highly recommend AREVA for an internship or a job. They have a lot of interesting opportunities available, and they are focused on developing you as an engineer. As a global company, they have career opportunities available at multiple sites in the United States and around the world that would be great for anyone that wants to travel throughout their career.
Thanks AREVA! I’ll be in touch after graduation.