David C. Calhoun – 2022 Steel Intern Scholar
This summer, I had the amazing opportunity to have an internship at Nucor Steel–Berkeley. It is a branch of Nucor Steel which was established in 1996 and located in Huger, S.C., USA. Nucor Steel–Berkeley produces steel beam and sheet products for industries such as automotive, construction, solar, OEMs, home appliances and consumer goods. My summer consisted of working hands-on with the electrical maintenance department of the beam mill. I worked on projects, improved my understanding of electrical theory, instrumentation and control, as well as electrical troubleshooting. I also got the opportunity to work with the power engineering department. There, we took a deep dive into power theory and how power engineering is applied to an entire mill. These experiences have given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of electrical engineering and given me an appreciation for the steel manufacturing process.
Going into the summer I was extremely excited to start my internship, but safety had to come first. Safety is one of the biggest parts of the culture of Nucor Steel as a whole. Working at Nucor Steel–Berkeley felt like working with one big family. Everyone is constantly looking out for each other. Safety is essential to every single bit of work you perform in a steel mill. It is exemplary that Nucor instills the safety mindset into their new teammates and interns on day one. Nucor Steel–Berkeley has changed my whole outlook on safety. It is now something I bring home with me and apply to my daily life.
Most workdays, I was getting hands-on and helping the beam mill electrical technicians troubleshoot machinery and field devices. When not actively keeping the mill running, the senior electrical technicians taught me the practical aspects of the theory I learned in school. We spent a lot of time on going into motor theory and different types and applications of motors. I knew very little about induction motors going into this internship, and I learned they are the most widely used mode of transportation for products in any steel mill. As a result of this internship, I also learned how to properly wire an induction motor for both high and low voltage, as well as how to check it with a multimeter.
Additionally, I learned exactly how induction motors work. There were also many opportunities to learn other useful skills outside of the electrical engineering field as well. To name a few, I was granted the opportunity to learn how to shielded metal arc weld (SMAW), use power tools to fabricate a new electrical cabinet, improve interviewing skills, improve my leadership skills, and learn how to properly work with a fast-paced high impact team.
All of the teammates I worked with were always willing to answer questions about anything I needed help with. Everyone I interacted with during my internship were hard-working, safety deliberate, and diligent. I was pleasantly surprised to be treated as a fellow teammate and not as an intern. They took the time to make an investment in me and I was honored and humbled to be included in such an environment.
I started my internship hoping to understand the engineering principles that go into being an electrical technician at Nucor Steel–Berkeley and my expectations were exceeded. My internship was a very positive experience, and I feel as though I have formed a strong bond with my teammates.
The mindset of safety, family and community at Nucor Steel–Berkeley has left a lasting impression on me. It is safe to say that Nucor has something unique. My short time with Nucor Steel–Berkeley has reinforced my choice to pursue a career in the steel industry. With any luck, I hope to become a teammate at Nucor Steel–Berkeley. I would like to thank all of the electrical technicians I have worked with this summer, my supervisor, my lead, the power engineering department, and Nucor Steel–Berkeley for a phenomenal summer internship experience.