Oak Ridge UCOR Intern Group Photo
This year marks the largest summer intern program to date for OREM contractor UCOR. Forty students from 14 schools across the country gained valuable experience by supporting numerous projects across the Oak Ridge Reservation.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) contractor UCOR just completed its largest ever summer internship program. Forty students from 14 schools across the country gained valuable experience, and some finished their term with job offers in hand.

With the increase in the number of students this year, there was also an increase in the number and depth of projects.

Those projects included support to the construction of the Outfall 200 Mercury Treatment Facility, safety initiatives, infrastructure life extension projects, a spill prevention control countermeasure, source inventory, contract closeouts, power re-routing, confined space gap analysis, waste profiles, and engineering instructions.

“These internships are supporting efforts to build and strengthen our future workforce in a big way,” said OREM Deputy Manager Laura Wilkerson. “We appreciate the lengths UCOR is going to identify and bring in some of the best and brightest to advance the cleanup mission in Oak Ridge.”

Photo of intern providing a presentation
Lexi Stone, an occupational safety and health major from Murray State University, discusses safety initiatives during her closeout presentation. Stone has received a contingent offer to join the UCOR workforce upon graduating.

This year’s class included a wide range of participants from nontraditional students to veterans and students from colleges and universities with new and existing UCOR partnerships. This year’s class also included four students from the Department of Energy’s Mentorship for Environmental Scholars (MES) program.

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. MES recruits qualified undergraduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and other Minority-Serving Institutions for training that will direct them toward employment in various research and management positions within the Department.

UCOR’s newest university partnership with Tennessee Tech brought eight interns to the 2023 program. Four of those returned for a second internship after supporting UCOR projects during the school year.

Following the success of an extended internship option that UCOR began offering to students last summer, select interns will continue applying the skills learned in the classroom by continuing part time throughout the upcoming academic year.

Photo of Cobie Mooney, UCOR intern
Cobie Mooney, an engineering technology major at East Tennessee State University, is an MES student who was offered the opportunity to stay on this school year and continue providing support to the Transuranic Waste Processing Center.

This option is especially useful for the Transuranic Waste Processing Center (TWPC), which offered extended internships to all four of its summer interns.

Cobie Mooney, an engineering technology major at East Tennessee State University, is an MES student who was among those offered the opportunity to stay on this school year.

“It’s been an amazing experience on the TWPC Project,” Mooney said. “I’m excited UCOR has invited me to continue working on design change notices while I’m back at school.”

Since UCOR began its new contract in 2022, eight students in its summer internship program have joined the workforce full time, while 16 students will continue in part-time extended internship roles.

-Contributor: Shannon Potter