Owen M. Hall – 2020 Steel Intern Scholar
This year, my internship experience at Nucor Steel–Hertford County focused primarily on working with the Nucor team members, in the ladle metallurgical furnace (LMF) section of the melt shop. Being a returning intern, this summer’s work centered less around a large, overarching, research-oriented project, my supervisors instead opting to encourage me to develop a working relationship with NSHC’s team members by working alongside them in a utility role, getting to know crew members on an individual level and building a healthy rapport with the team. The reasoning behind this decision was that melt shop engineers are required to perform a more classical engineering role, being familiar with engineering terms and technical concepts while simultaneously working closely with the maintenance teams and operators on the floor, who work hard to keep the operation running smoothly. Playing this dual role helps propagate better communication between team and allows for melt shop engineers to translate the observations and suggestions of team members into effective changes for the plant.
My supervisors, having been satisfied with my project-based work the prior summer, as well as content with my problem solving and understanding of the basic steel-related technical concepts, decided that interpersonal skills were the next skillset for me to develop in order to maximize my effectiveness as a team m ember in this hybrid utility role.
I was grateful to be asked to join B-Crew on shift at the LMF for a full rotation (four 12-hour days, four 12-hour nights), allowed not only to work to learn the operational duties at the furnace, but also garner experience shadowing the LMF 2nd Helper (LMF co-pilot), as well as hone my knowledge on the slag and steel chemistry in action behind the scenes. The LMF is critical to the steelmaking process, as the LMF determines the final quality and cleanliness of the steel, which cannot be significantly cleaned or alloyed upon its departure. Once the steel is de-oxidized and de-sulfurized at the LMF, the quality is as high as it can get.
Overall, my experience as an intern at NSHC this summer was overwhelmingly positive, and was a fresh, interesting experience unique from the prior year. Working closely with the crews gave me a newfound appreciation for the job that team members carry out day-to-day at NSHC, and getting to know the crew members, both working and socializing with them, was certainly the highlight of the summer. This internship was invaluable in helping further develop my communication and teamwork skillset and allowed me to make what I hope to be lasting impressions through hard work and shared experience.