Prairie State Generating Company is excited to welcome Keegan Anderson as a mechanical engineering intern for the summer of 2017.
Anderson, a native of nearby Nashville, Illinois, currently studies at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville where he majors in mechanical engineering. While searching for internships, Prairie State sat at the top of Anderson’s list. He was thrilled to be hired on as a summer intern.
“Prairie State is so new,” he said. “I know it’s been online for six years now, but as far as power plants go it is really young in its life span. It’s exciting. Everything is still adjusting and not a lot is set in stone. It’s cool to see how they go about changing things.”
The Nashville native recalls when his current workplace was not more than a series of cranes in the skyline to the southwest of his hometown. Now, Anderson is on the floor of the plant each day learning its systems and helping to prepare for the planned outage of Unit 2 in September.
Anderson may be learning as an intern now, but the work he does this summer could help to improve Prairie State for long after the completion of his internship. One of his projects for the summer is to help create a system to monitor the soot blowers on the boilers on Units 1 and 2.
“There have been problems with the blowers in the past,” he said. “There needs to be a system to monitor why something goes wrong with them. If they stay on for too long or something gets stuck, it can cause erosion. We need a system to find out why that happens.”
While he likes the power generation industry, Anderson is still trying to figure out which path mechanical engineering will lead him down. He said he would also like to work in the auto industry for a company like Ford to create parts for its vehicles. For the time being, Anderson is excited to gain experience as a mechanical engineer.
“I’m a junior, so this is the last chance to get an internship before graduation,” Anderson said. “Getting hired here was a big opportunity for me. I’m glad I won’t go into my first job feeling lost. I’ll have an understanding of what a mechanical engineer does in the field.”