OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management's (EM) Oak Ridge cleanup contractor expanded its summer internship program this year, providing opportunities to 29 students from 12 schools across the country.
In some instances, UCOR is providing even greater opportunities by offering permanent jobs to recent graduates.
After spending the summer gaining experience in environmental cleanup, Benedict College graduate Dari Gabriel was excited to see her internship pay off with an offer to join UCOR’s environmental compliance staff in August.
While the bulk of the interns supported engineering, UCOR expanded the program into other areas, such as environmental stewardship. For an environmental engineer like Gabriel, that opportunity has now paved the way for a career in a field she enjoys. She hopes to add best management practice projects to her resume in the future.
Opportunities for networking drew interns to positions in communications, the supply chain, safety and health, the chief financial office, engineering, information technology, waste management, environmental stewardship, property and sustainability.
This year’s class included students from DOE’s Mentorship for Environmental Scholars (MES) program and DOE’s Fellowship Program, along with nontraditional students and students from colleges and universities with new and existing partnerships with UCOR.
The MES program is a 10-week paid summer internship that provides exposure research in the areas of environmental science, environmental justice and environmental policy to underrepresented college students.
MES recruits qualified undergraduates from historically Black colleges, tribal colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions for extensive training that will direct them toward gainful employment in various research and management positions within DOE.
Three of the 29 students in UCOR’s summer internship program joined the workforce full time in August, while two students received contingent offers.
Jack Yardley found his way to the company by way of a senior design project between UCOR and the University of Tennessee. Yardley was invited to join UCOR’s supply chain department full time within weeks of the start of his internship.
About half of the 29 students will continue their application of skills learned in the classroom by supporting UCOR part time throughout the 2022-23 school year. This marks the first time UCOR has offered an extended internship option to students in its summer internship program.
The intern program also conducted a community project this year called “Pack the Van.” Interns held a food drive to fill a van with food for the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. The effort led to the donation of nearly 6,000 items for the Food for Kids Program, which provides easy-to-prepare meals for at-risk children to have on the weekends when they aren’t receiving school meals.
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