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Student Interns with USA’s Largest Steel Producer, Finds Path to Success

From left: Dave Davolt, internship supervisor; Brooke Greathouse, intern; Joe Beno, electrician and mentor to Greathouse stand in front of a large coil of galvanized steel that is ready to roll off of the production line.
From left: Dave Davolt, internship supervisor; Brooke Greathouse, intern; Joe Beno, electrician and mentor to Greathouse stand in front of a large coil of galvanized steel that is ready to roll off of the production line.
7/29/2011 —

Well before her own graduation, Penn State DuBois engineering student Brooke Greathouse is already working for one of the largest companies that employs people in her field.  This summer, the DuBois native who is earning a degree in Electrical Engineering, is an electrical maintenance intern with Nucor, the country’s largest producer of steel.

 

Greathouse is interning at Nucor’s Armorel, Arkansas location.  It is just one of many of Nucor’s facilities throughout the nation, and around the globe, that contributes to the company’s annual production of 26 million tons of steel. The steel is used in building construction, and purchased by other manufacturers to make numerous other steel products.  For Greathouse, it’s the opportunity to get hands-on experience that will help her decide where she wants to take her career.  Since she hasn't yet entered a concentration for her engineering degree, the internship has given Greathouse some guidance on what she should focus on in her education. 

 

"I would have missed out on so much if I didn't take this internship.  I wouldn't have had the actual work experience, and having that before even starting my main classes is really helping me find the path that I want to travel on," Greathouse said.  "Without this internship, it's possible that I could have chosen the wrong concentration for my major. I am so lucky and very thankful that Nucor and Penn State DuBois gave me this opportunity. It has really helped shape my personality, my future, and my life in general." 

 

"Brooke was unique in that she accepted an electrical internship without having very much, if any, electrical training," said Brooke's internship supervisor at Nucor, Dave Davolt.  "We knew one of the things Brooke wanted to get out of her internship was to better decide which direction to steer her education.  Therefore, we provided Brooke with opportunities to experience several different aspects of electrical and mechanical engineering, maintenance, repair and operations."

To gain all of this experience, Greathouse is updating electrical components of equipment in Nucor’s plant, exploring ways to install work lights for some of the machinery, and making the rounds with electricians who help to keep the plant running smoothly with regular maintenance.

 

"When I arrived in May I was given a couple small projects to work on throughout the summer," Greathouse said, "It is solely up to me to make sure that these tasks get finished. I'm learning how to keep a project organized, make sure I have all the information needed, research my options as much as possible before making a choice, and how to communicate my ideas to others. I've even learned how to adjust from college to work, putting my education to good use." 

 

Greathouse said she has had such a positive experience with Nucor that she believes the company could provide the future career she's looking for.  She said, "I always knew that I wanted to work somewhere that offered two things: One, the opportunity to put both my mechanical and electrical abilities to good use; and two, the opportunity to be out in the field often, actually working on things, not just sitting in an office all day. Over the summer I have easily found that Nucor holds both of these traits and so much more. I would love to continue my time here at Nucor during future summers, and hopefully make a career out of it."

 

As impressed as Greathouse has been with Nucor, Davolt said Nucor is also impressed with what this intern has brought to the table.  He stated, "Our interns and co-ops are given the same responsibility as Nucor teammates.  After safety training, they hit the ground running. We expect them to apply themselves to the best of their ability and contribute to the success of Nucor, and Brooke has done a great job since she’s been here."

 

Greathouse's engineering professor at Penn State DuBois, Craig Stinger, said this is the kind of internship experience every student should have, and it's what he strives to provide for each student.  He said it is one of the most important parts of their education. 

 

"Internships provide valuable real-world training where students can get a firsthand look at how their Penn State education fits an industry.  It is a great résumé builder, and allows the students an early chance to get a feel for what they might encounter after graduation when they work for a company," Stringer said.  "In today’s competitive job market, grades are only a part of the equation when finding a job; job experience goes a long way when discussing future employment prospects."

 

Greathouse will complete her summer internship with Nucor in August. 

 

 

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