A new program for interns at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) helps them gain a better understanding of fields outside of their own placement.
The program, called Shadow an Intern Day, incorporates communication, building relationships, teamwork and safety, said Ankush Sharma, an environmental, safety and health intern from Arizona State University who developed and implemented the program at PCAPP.
“By shadowing interns, who are in the trenches, you can see what other professionals do on a day-to-day basis,” Sharma said. “Shadowing another intern allows colleagues to get to see the work.”
While interns can still request to shadow a manager, Sharma said shadowing an intern is equally as important.
Quality engineer intern Ciera Gooden said shadowing a supervisor lends itself to observation, whereas shadowing another intern allows for more of a hands-on experience.
“By shadowing an intern you get the interactive exposure to the tasks they are working on,” Gooden said.
“My shadows asked a lot of questions and having the knowledge to answer their questions solidified my experience as an intern,” said Sarah Wright, human resources representative intern. “I feel very confident that I know the different aspects of human resources when I am able to teach someone else about it.”
Public relations intern Savannah Schofield said she welcomed the opportunity to shadow another intern as a means to decide the field of study she might pursue.
Sixteen of 23 interns opted to participate in a shadow day. Mechanical engineering, control systems engineering, office and administrative services and surety are just a few of the departments that participated.
“Interns have a unique opportunity here at PCAPP to network and learn about responsibilities in departments outside of their designated assignment,” said Vin Narayan, Bechtel human resources representative. “By the end of the summer, all interns should return to college with a good working knowledge of what it’s like in the workforce. PCAPP is a great place to be able to learn.”