Coming into my internship I did not really know what to expect or what kind of skills I would need to bring to the table. Up until I actually started working I didn't even know what I would be doing at my internship. On the first Thursday of my internship we noticed that we were having a problem with our influent pump, which is the pump that moves water out of one of the south Durango water treatment basins into the miniature basin used for the pilot plant. When we pulled the pump up we realized that the plug had somehow been cut so the pump would not turn on. When I realized there was another pump that was also not working but for a different reason I suggested that we just switch the cords. Once we switched the two cords the pump ended up turning right on which was the desired result. This is one example of how my creative problem solving skills was helpful during my internship.
Through my internship I gained a few new skills, all of them being more specific to the area of work I was in. One of these being troubleshooting the electronics system that the pilot plant used. Knowing what error codes meant what and if one of the reagents or cleaning solutions needed to be replaced I knew how to do that. This would be the difference between creative problem solving and practical problem solving when there is an obvious solution to the problem but you just have to know how to actually fix it.
A challenge I had with my internship is that coming into it I told myself that I was not going to enjoy what I was doing, and after the first day I definitely thought that was going to be the case. My mentor walked me through all the systems of the pilot and walked me through everything that they had at Purgatory and initially it just was not that interesting to me. But as I actually started working with all of these systems I realized how interesting all of it actually was. And I think that my mentors personality and passion for his line of work made it way easier for me to be able to enjoy and learn at my internship.
With the amount of busy work we had to do, with the lab work, and all the different steps to that having an intern is super helpful to make things more efficient. They can be weighing the samples and recording the data while the mentor is potentially doing the more complex task. I feel that after I learned the ropes of all the lab work it was beneficial for me to be there because I could help things run more smoothly and get the job done more quickly.
My internship did help me narrow down my choices for a career field. As much as I did enjoy what I did at my internship I can't say I have the stomach to work with waste water for the rest of my life. I did enjoy the creative problem solving side of things, that when a problem came up I was able to assist in coming up with a solution to unusual problems. As far as prepare me for my future or college it didn't really change my path at all, just narrow down my potential career list.