November 2009

America’s veterans to Tennessee engineers

Andrew Moore, 25, a graduate of Midway High School in Kingston, Tenn., served in the U.S. Navy from 2002 to 2006 as a machinery repairman second class aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. The carrier was assigned to two tours of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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Last summer, Andrew Moore was a student engineering intern through the Scientific, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics program at Bull Run Fossil Plant.

After his honorable discharge in 2006, Moore was working on his associate’s degree in pre-engineering at Roane State Community College when he heard about the post-military STEM, or Scientific, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, program. Last summer, Moore became TVA’s first student engineering intern through STEM, working at Bull Run Fossil Plant near Oak Ridge, Tenn.

STEM, also known as America’s Veterans to Tennessee Engineers, gives military veterans an opportunity to complete an engineering degree in Tennessee and then land a job with one of the state’s leading companies. At the same time, it provides companies with top-quality employees who have both technical skills and experience. TVA and Bechtel are among 16 Tennessee corporations participating. A total of 21 veterans have been selected for the program, and more applicants are being evaluated this fall.

“This summer, I did pond inspections and vibration analysis,” says Moore. “I entered stats and worked with engineers on various tasks. Overall, it was a delightful experience. The people I worked with were great, every single one of them. They were very helpful and taught me a lot. I talked with them a lot, maybe too much – I can be a talker sometimes! They’re just a great group of engineers and technicians.”

This fall, Moore started his coursework in mechanical engineering at Tennessee Tech, where his wife, Morgan, now a math teacher at Rockwood High, earned her degree while he was in the Navy.

“The internship has been a good change from going to school, making money instead of paying money,” says Moore. “It’s a great experience just walking through the plant and seeing how a steam plant runs and operates. Getting that kind of hands-on experience will definitely help me out in my coursework.

“I learned a lot just being around a boiler or steam system. An aircraft carrier is a lot like a power plant. Really, that’s what it is. The Roosevelt was nuclear, but a lot is still the same. This summer, I was able to start to learn a little more of the technical detail on how it all works.”

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Shared Resources’ Kevin Liendecker helps lead TVA’s STEM program.

Kevin Liendecker of Shared Resources, who helps lead TVA’s STEM program, says the program is good for TVA. “We get a chance to train and grow potential engineers who picked up valuable skills in the military and to hire someone with high character and the drive to be successful,” he says. “It’s good to give back to those who serve our country by offering them opportunity. And it’s good for the veterans, because they gain valuable experience at a great company that they could not get anywhere else. This experience will help build their skill sets and make them more marketable for top companies such as TVA upon graduation.”