“I’m currently studying for my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University. The Foundation Excellence Award is one of the main scholarships, sponsored by Total, that I have benefited from at Texas A&M University. While it has allowed me to fully focus on my studies and to get the most out of my education, it has also given me connections to industry. On the basis of my academic achievements and this Award, I was recommended by the Texas A&M Foundation for an internship at Total.
As an intern, I work with Process Safety Management and Mechanical Integrity on various projects. With Process Safety I’ve been scoping out LOPA (Layer of Protection Analysis) recommendations for things like installing check valves, emergency shutdown valves, and LEL detectors. With Mechanical Integrity, I just finished a spreadsheet to easily calculate the minimum tube thickness required in a heat exchanger to help out with inspections.
Every project allows me to learn about a new piece of equipment or part of the polyethylene process and is completely different than any of my other projects. It’s rewarding to complete one and to feel that you have actually helped in some way. These projects also allow me to go outside and really experience the process first-hand. I’d have to say that the highlight of my experience has been the opportunity to work closely with people who are so knowledgeable of the industry and their profession. Every day I know that I’ll learn something new. I can’t even begin to describe how valuable that experience has been to me.
Communication is key to success as an intern. It is so important to ask a lot of questions not only to learn as much as possible but to be able to properly and efficiently complete projects. It is also important to have a positive attitude so that employees will enjoy mentoring you and will be willing to help you. To anyone considering an internship, I recommend that you just be yourself and be honest about what you want. Total is great about listening to you and placing you where you need to be. Make sure that when you intern here to make the most of it and take advantage of such a diverse company. Learn as much as you possibly can in the time you have. I’ve been so surprised by how much I am allowed to do as an undergraduate intern! Everyone here at the Bayport polyethylene plant has been more than willing to give me projects to do on my own and is always there to help.
Coming into the internship I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the future. I was majoring in engineering, but I’d always wanted to be a math teacher. Interning at Total has shown me how amazing engineering truly is, and I’ve realized that engineering is the correct career path for me. This opportunity has shown me the world of engineering that is out there. My current goal is to get as much exposure to every position possible for a chemical engineer so that I can determine which route will allow me to make the largest positive impact on the world.
Working at Total this summer has given me the confidence and knowledge that I needed to feel that my ambitions are possible. This has been such an amazing opportunity to have as a freshman and it has opened the door to so many more possibilities. It’s been the best experience of my life!”