Students & Faculty

Gina McKinney - 2018 Don B. Daily Safety Steel Intern

As a recipient of the Don B. Daily Safety Steel Intern Scholarship, I was given the opportunity to complete an internship at Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) – Flat Roll Group Butler Division. As an intern in the safety department, I was exposed to many different areas and aspects of the steelmaking process. My main project for the summer consisted of updating the confined space information. I was gathering information, both from previous documents and talking to employees, and putting all that information into a confined space software program. The main purpose was to get all of the information on each specific confined space in one place, making it simple for any employee to find the information. I gathered details such as the hazards associated with each confined space, equipment needed to enter the confined space, the nearest access door for rescue purposes, etc. I focused mainly on the melting and casting departments, including the baghouses and lime carbon system. These two departments combined had about 300 confined spaces.
I also led hands-on fire extinguisher training for the entire facility, including office buildings. This gave me the opportunity to interact with all the employees and gave me experience using the training equipment, as well as scheduling based on the shift schedule. I enjoyed meeting people who worked in a variety of positions at SDI while developing my training skills.
The most challenging part of the internship was understanding the steelmaking process. There is so much to take in and learn, especially since I was working in the entire facility, not just one department. Starting out, it was a little overwhelming, but as you become more familiar with the facility and talk with more employees, you get a better understanding of what is being done and why it is done that way.
Although it is impossible to learn everything about the mill, I was able to get a better understanding of it all during my internship. It gave me good experience identifying safety hazards and communicating with many different kinds of people, in many different applications. I was able to learn more from the hands-on experiences this summer than I could ever learn in a classroom. Everything I have learned up to this point in school was just a foundation for me to build upon. My internship helped me to further develop my skills and apply what I had learned in the classroom to situations in the steel industry.
My time as a safety intern at Steel Dynamics this summer has affirmed my decision to become a safety professional and enhanced my interest in the steel industry. After graduation this spring, I plan to start my safety career, possibly as a safety coordinator. I would be happy to stay in the steel industry, but am open to exploring different industries.