Sarah N. Gonder – 2021 Steel Intern Scholar
A wealth of opportunities, learning and growth is the best way to summarize my internship this summer at Hatch Ltd. as a process engineering intern in the ferrous pyrometallurgy group. I learned and implemented technical knowledge about blast furnaces and their thermodynamics, analyzed decarbonization opportunities for the steel industry, and been a part of many personal development opportunities. I am truly excited for the opportunities I will continue to be a part of for the remainder of my 8-month internship.
My prior experience working in computational materials research allowed me to jump in and assist with the coding of a blast furnace model which will improve the accuracy and efficiency of case-by-case simulations. This led to performing a techno-economic feasibility study on blast furnace technologies with the guidance and mentorship of subject matter experts. With their help, I was able to directly advise clients on technologies on fuel strategies that could be implemented in a blast furnace planned to be built in South America in the next 4–5 years. Our findings will provide guidance in the near and distant future as opportunities and various fuel choices become economically incentivized.
One of the highlights of my internship so far has been the degree in which my supervisors have taken my interests and career path into consideration in the projects I have been involved with. My passion for sustainability and interest in steel decarbonization have meant joining onto projects related to low emissions technologies and analyzing CO2 abatement systems for electric arc furnace emissions. This has helped me in gaining insight into the future of steel and provided me with guidance in the areas of research I would be interested in pursuing in graduate school.
Working at Hatch, you are given a great degree of confidence in your capabilities and work on projects with your own core responsibilities and deliverables. As a young professional, I was given significant ownership over the work assigned after I joined, and it has given me confidence in my choice of career and ability to bring positive change in both the technical and non-technical aspects of engineering.
I have helped run racial justice events through Hatch’s Diversity and Inclusion committee, attended leading iron and steel conferences, and met with the former president of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) and MetSoc through Hatch’s Young Professional E-pal program. I have also witnessed the tremendous value that AIST offers to the iron and steel sector as a hub for innovation through their network of global leaders, resources and conferences.
Beyond the technical knowledge I have gained, this position has given me a sense of scale for the steel industry and the rate at which innovation is taking place. I have also learned about the challenges and opportunities from a technical standpoint for decarbonization of this hard to abate sector, which further shows the necessity of sustainability-focused individuals to enter the steel industry and amplify solutions which benefit the people, planet and the industry.
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that AIST has provided me to learn first-hand about the steel industry, and to Hatch for providing me with an unforgettable experience.