Electrical engineering intern, Kathryn Torre, likened her time at the Prairie State Generating Company to drinking from a fire hose. A lot of information can come at interns very quickly, but she adapted and learned a lot this summer.
“I loved it here. I thought it was really interesting,” Torre said. “I think I’ve learned 10 billion things and I think there are still 85 billion things to learn. There was always a ton of information coming at me, but everyone is so helpful and willing to tell you what they know so that you’re better prepared.”
Torre familiarized herself with the plant’s electrical systems and helped to make them safer for Prairie State’s employees. One such project she worked on was adding labels to breaker boxes around the plant. These labels can warn employees about potential arc flashes. To do this she worked with a program called ETAP which simulates an electrical system and finds potential hot spots that could cause an arc flash. In this program, she was able to test the PSGC electrical system in a controlled way by running simulations with open and closed circuits to check for faults. Her work will help make working with electricity at Prairie State safer.
She also worked on compiling vendor drawings of all of the electrical instruments at Prairie State. This project puts all of this information into one place that will help speed up future projects for Prairie State’s electrical engineers.
Torre has one final semester left at the University of West Florida. She will return there after her internship is over to finish her education and work with the West Florida volleyball team as a volunteer coach. After graduation she will take the future engineers exam and work towards taking the professional engineers exam a few years later. She said she will apply to work in power plants all over, and that Prairie State will definitely be one of them.
“I am sad to leave here,” Torre said. “I really like the working environment and the people that are here. I think it’s just an awesome culture to be a part of. I am excited to go back to Florida though and take the next step in my career.”