Meet the Intern: Dan Vaeth

Prairie State is excited to welcome Dan Vaeth as our Mechanical Engineering Intern this summer.

Dan is originally from Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. He is attending Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), where he is studying mechanical engineering. He will graduate later this year, after completing his fall semester.

When asked why he chose this field, Dan said he had a hard time deciding between mechanical or civil engineering, but ultimately chose mechanical because of the job opportunities close to his home. “I have always been interested in creating new things and coming up with new ideas, so engineering seemed like a natural fit. During my senior year in high school, I had the opportunity to job shadow during the last part of each day over the course of a month. I shadowed engineers at Mississippi Lime Company in Ste. Genevieve. Doing so helped me tremendously; once I saw the daily tasks of the mechanical engineers, I realized that I could see myself doing these tasks in a few years and enjoying them.”

At Missouri S&T, Dan is involved in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He and other fraternity members participate in Backpack for Bros, through which they make sack lunches for children of low-income families at the local elementary school. Dan also helps at Linking Hearts Charity Carnival, an event hosted for orphans and potential new families. In addition to these activities, he enjoys hunting, fishing, spending time outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.

Dan’s previous job experience includes:

  • A Gas Standards and Procedures Co-op through Ameren Illinois, where he assisted engineers, performed material inspections, and ensured documentation followed federal guidelines,
  • Mechanical Engineering Intern at Lhoist North America, where he worked with the maintenance department on multiple projects throughout the plant and quarry, assisted on the design and installation of multiple new material chutes, and performed preventative maintenance audits to make recommendations, and
  • Industrial Engineering Intern at Toyoda Gosei, where he built and analyzed conveyor systems to ensure proper transportation of materials and participated in plant shutdowns to install new equipment.

Dan heard about Prairie State’s internship program through a previous maintenance intern, who had nothing but good things to say about the company. He is pleased that he can live in his hometown and commute to work rather than moving out of state for a summer.

Dan is looking forward to continuing to gain experience in the engineering field, which he believes could potentially lead to a full-time position at Prairie State. His future goals are to graduate in December with his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and join a company that allows him to gain engineering knowledge and continue to develop his skills into management.