INL interns display work during annual showcase event
IDAHO FALLS — From clean energy to nuclear power operations — interns at Idaho National Laboratory have a lot of ideas to share.
Those ideas came out at the INL Intern Poster Session on Thursday. The event is an annual intern showcase, where about 170 of the INL’s 470 interns display posters describing their work and are judged for awards.
“It’s translating what you’ve learned in school to being in the real work-life setting,” INL’s University Partnerships Director Michelle Bingham says.
Bingham says students from all over the world participate in the program from roughly 120 universities.
“About 85 percent of our students are in the STEM field but we also have students that come to us in the business field, communication, finance, and we have some that are in anthropology,” Bingham says. “It’s just a wide array.”
During the session, awards were given to students in various categories. Recent Hillcrest High School graduate Cole Branter took first in Best Informational Graphic.
“Putting (data) into the infographic helped be able to translate the science and engineering work that he’s doing here in an easy to read format,” Bingham says.
Branter says he worked on a dashboard app called Power BI and was able to visually present his work during the event. Branter built small integrated graphs that map productivity at the INL. To help people visualize his work, he compared the dashboard app to a car dashboard.
“In a car dashboard, you need to know gas, battery charge and how much oil is in your car to make sure it’s all running,” Branter says. “That same metaphor can be used for a business. You can use it to show how stressful people are working, it can show background infrastructure.”
North Carolina State University student Elizabeth Worsham won first for Best Technical Presentation.
She worked on designing a heat exchanger loop where she demonstrated the use of small modular nuclear reactor steam in different manufacturing settings. She says this process could make electricity generation more profitable.
“It could help manufacture and create carbon-free steam,” Worsham says. “We want to show these different industries that they can utilize this technology although it’s intended for electricity generation it can be used for other purposes.”
Worsham says she enjoyed having autonomy during her internship experience.
“I really like the freedom that I had to work on this topic, but really I was given a very broad project and I was able to start from basically scratch and do a lot of research,” Worsham says.
In September the INL will open up their job postings. Students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 can apply online to be considered for a position in the internship program.
“We want all the best students to go ahead and apply. That is the entryway into being considered for a position here,” Bingham says.