July 14, 2014
AIKEN, S.C. – Dennis Burgess has always known he wanted to be an engineer. This summer, as a Savannah River Remediation (SRR) college intern, he is honing his skills and discovering exactly which path he wants to take in that field.
Burgess, a senior at South Carolina State University, will be graduating in December 2014 not only with a degree in civil engineering technology, but also with a summer's worth of hands-on experience in the world of engineering.
According to the Lane, S.C., native, the SRR internship program has exceeded his expectations.
"I've learned so much about what I want to do with my life," said Burgess. "I've always had an interest in transportation engineering, but now I realize I have a passion for the environmental side of things as well."
The intern is working in F Tank Farm, where he is involved with helping format a new system for spare parts. He has a special interest in the transportation logistics of the decontaminated salt solution being transferred to Saltstone Production Facility from the tank farms. In addition, he assists with the transport of other hazardous material to disposal areas.
Aside from these endeavors, Burgess is also involved in work control. This work includes maintaining files of work order requests, work orders in process and completed work orders. Burgess and his team are also charged with gathering information for analyses used in systems health. Systems health refers to the condition at which operating systems in the tanks farms can perform.
"Each system specifically needs to be looked at to ensure we have the right amount of maintenance being performed on it to keep systems 'green,' meaning good to go," the intern explained.
Along with systems health, Burgess assists with performing Configuration Management, which involves reconciling what shows up on the Master Equipment List to what is actually out in the field.
In addition to being a student and SRR intern, Burgess is also a sergeant in the South Carolina Army National Guard. Throughout his years at SC State, he has been in the National Society for Black Engineers and a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
He said he enjoys working in an environment that challenges his problem-solving and analytical skills.
"I love working in a place that allows me to be a part of the action," said Burgess. "I like being a part of the solution."
The only thing Burgess regrets about this experience is that he didn't start it sooner.
"I recommend that college students participate in an internship well before graduation," he said. "I've waited until the semester before graduating, but I feel like I could have learned so much more if I had interned sooner."
SRR is the Liquid Waste contractor at Savannah River Site, which is owned by U.S. Department of Energy. SRR is a team of companies led by URS Corp. with partners Bechtel National, CH2M HILL and Babcock & Wilcox. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, Energy Solutions and URS Professional Solutions.
Point of Contact: Amy Joslin, Director of Public Affairs and Project Communications