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A Summer of Learning, Teamwork and Giving Back at Byron Generating Station

Story from an Exelon Generation Intern

My name is Kaitlyn Ziska and I am going into my junior year at Iowa State University. I am pursuing a degree in electrical engineering with a double minor in political science and technical writing. My current internship at Exelon Generation's Byron Generating Station has been a great hands-on experience as I continue my studies.

Throughout my summer at Byron Station, I have been working under Jon Cunzeman in the Electrical Design Engineering department. Interns do not have full nuclear qualifications like permanent plant employees, but we can assist in many areas. Some of the projects I have completed while here include an Engineering Change Request, Calculation Revision, Instrument Report, and I have also had the opportunity to participate in the efforts of establishing contingency plans for our main transformers.

Interns joining me this summer are Nicole Ditmars (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Nick Dumbauld (Oklahoma State University), Scott Martin (Illinois Institute of Technology), Yeslin Medina (Illinois Institute of Technology), Jose Salinas (University of Illinois at Chicago), and Salaam Qatanani (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). Through our combined experience here at Byron Station, we have all had the opportunity to participate in our own independent projects within each of our designated departments.

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We have also spent time working together as an intern team in efforts to provide service and support to Byron's surrounding community. For our community outreach project, we decided we would like to extend our efforts towards helping children, specifically their education. We decided that we would help Stillman Valley's Highland Elementary School prepare for their upcoming school year, as they have been trying to renovate and establish a more enhanced atmosphere for their students.

We spent a day assembling new furniture, painting classrooms, hanging whiteboards, installing new vent covers, building and installing new outdoor benches, and aiding in landscaping. In addition to volunteering, we also spent two days raising money for Highland Elementary. The money we were able to raise through fundraising totaled $1,545, and all profits were then invested directly into school supplies and kits for kindergarten, first grade and second grade students.

Our intern team also participated in several presentations at Exelon, one of which was a departmental presentation, which allowed each of us to gain insight into the different facets that exist within employment at Byron Station. In addition to our smaller scale reports on departments, we also presented in front of several audiences in preparation for our final presentation given to Exelon Nuclear executives, where we highlighted our most significant projects and takeaways from our internship experience.

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My time here at Byron has allowed me to become acquainted with an engineering atmosphere that advocates safety, accuracy and proficiency. I have gained a solidified understanding on nuclear generation, as well as the processes and procedures that Exelon so dedicatedly practices on a day-to-day basis. Through my experience of working alongside some of the most intelligent and hardworking individuals I have ever met, I have been able to gain valuable insight into the skillset it takes to be a good engineer. Moving forward, I intend to continue my pursuit of education as vigorously as I have pursued my work here at Exelon, ultimately attaining my bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering. Beyond college, I aspire to go to law school and continue practicing an engineering skillset through patent law.

On behalf of myself and the interns, thank you to everyone who has helped fill our internship experience with insight, all the while making us feel welcomed and encouraged to get involved in as much as we can while here at Bryon Station.

For more information on careers at Exelon, visit




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