Idaho Site Intern Strengthens Skills While Supporting Others in Training.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – Proper training is crucial in the nuclear field to maintain worker safety and ensure work is performed according to procedures.

An EM intern at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory Site has found her niche supporting the site training department, and in the process, has improved her own effectiveness as a communicator.

Shantelle Hunt, a public relations and corporate communications major at Utah State University, is serving her second internship for the Idaho Cleanup Project (ICP) contractor. She’s helping develop training content for those who operate equipment and perform specific work processes. Additionally, she developed an electronic newsletter aimed at helping on-the-job training instructors and evaluators be even more effective in their roles.

“I’ve been able to interview several of the instructors myself,” Hunt said. “They seem very pleased with what I’m doing.”

Prior to supporting the training department, Hunt’s experience in communications was limited to what she learned in speech and debate classes. Working in a corporate environment with many people in diverse job disciplines has strengthened her communications skills.

“I’ve improved my communications in the workplace a lot,” Hunt said.

She said working with her mentor Frank La Marca and supervisor Shannon Griggs has been beneficial in helping her blossom into her role.

“I love the people I work with,” Hunt said. “They’ve become close friends, almost like family.”

Growing up, Hunt said she always wanted to get as far away from her eastern Idaho hometown as possible. Working for cleanup contractor Idaho Environmental Coalition and the previous EM contractor at the INL Site — less than an hour drive from where she grew up — has changed her opinion.

“At first I wanted to go anywhere but Blackfoot, but this experience has made me think I could work in Idaho Falls or Boise or wherever,” she said. “I could see myself staying. It’s kind of a place I never thought I’d end up. But it’s worked out great and I love it.”

Hunt said she has a greater understanding of the nuclear industry now, having served two consecutive internships for ICP, and a greater interest in the training profession.

“I could see myself being a trainer,” Hunt said. “I like to connect with people. It’s been fun getting to know a wide range of people.”

When not at work, Hunt finds peace and solace helping her family operate a cattle ranch with 150 cows. She repairs fences, herds cattle and rides her horse on the 2,000-acre, fourth-generation family ranch north of the Blackfoot Reservoir in eastern Idaho.

Equestrians often say that all the world’s questions can be answered while sitting on the back of horse. If true, Hunt will likely make her career decision while riding high in the saddle.