IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – A former U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) intern is hoping to parlay her experience at the DOE Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site this past summer into a full-time career, joining her parents in the profession of industrial hygiene.
During her summer internship, Eliza Nims-Langlois, a 23-year-old student at Idaho State University (ISU) in Pocatello, supported the environmental program of EM contractor Idaho Environmental Coalition (IEC), where her mother works.
The intern was tasked with inventorying paint, oil and chemical supplies of EM facilities and buildings both in Idaho Falls and at the 890-square-mile INL Site.
While performing a complete physical inventory of materials often used daily by employees supporting EM, Nims-Langlois and the team of environmental professionals processed a lot of paints, lubricants and oils. If something needed to be barcoded, they labeled it and used a bar-code reader to enter it into a computer inventory.
“I was surprised how old some of these things are,” Nims-Langlois said. “The oldest thing I found was from 1996, before I was born!”
EM contractors at the INL Site are required to keep an inventory of all paints, lubricants, oils and chemicals onsite. The environmental program that Nims-Langlois supported is responsible for electronically cataloging thousands of items.
The catalog is accessible to employees who may need items in the inventory, such as a can of paint or degreaser. Employees can exchange chemicals through the program, which provides advice on nonhazardous chemicals to use in place of hazardous chemicals.
Nims-Langlois said her internship was rewarding and her colleagues were supportive.
“Everybody was really welcoming, and when I had questions, they were happy to answer them,” she said.
Nims-Langlois is a senior majoring in biology with an emphasis in biomedicine. She returned to ISU this fall to complete her Bachelor of Science degree, after which she plans to attend Montana Technological University in Butte, Montana, to pursue a Master of Science degree in industrial hygiene. Ironically, both of her parents, Debra Nims with IEC, and Mark Langlois, are industrial hygienists.
Nims-Langlois said she’s interested in that profession because an industrial hygienist ensures workers are protected while they execute sometimes challenging functions that require respirators or working in confined spaces.
In her spare time, Nims-Langlois enjoys hiking and reading both fiction and recent scientific articles. She also plays the fantasy board game Dungeons & Dragons.
Nims-Langlois said she intends to support EM when she graduates and follow in the footsteps of her parents who both have extensive experience with the cleanup program.
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