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MABE Student accepted a co-op at Duke Energy

MABE student, Mitchell Guyton McKinnon, accepted a co-op at Duke Energy located in Charlotte, North Carolina.

McKinnon describes the department he worked in and what his main responsibilities were.


“I was under the maintenance superintendent and technical manager during this rotation at an active coal burning power station,” he said. “Upon arrival, I was given an assignment list comprising of special projects, operations assistance, maintenance data collection, and many others. For my primary special project, I was required to research different solutions to a problem that has existed in the station for years. I was given a budget and gave my supervisor my suggestion. Upon approval, I prepared for and oversaw the installation of the new equipment.”

His maintenance data collection consisted of going into the live plant to collect vibration data and oil samples from the equipment.

“I would then return to the maintenance manager and have the data analyzed for any anomalies,” said McKinnon. “There were many other projects that I either contributed to or lead while I was in this position.”

McKinnon received industry specific training that he needed to perform my job effectively.

“These trainings include many computer based learning sessions as well as LOTO (Lock Out Tag Out), Red Tag (to lock out equipment), confined space training, and respirator training and fit testing,” he said.

The most valuable benefit McKinnon received during his co-op assignment was an improvement in his judgment and intuition.

“Especially having lead an installation project, I had to realize that I could not simply go around asking questions and expect clear cut answers,” he said. “Of all the people in the station, I was the most informed about the project, so if I had a question for anyone, I had to be sure to also have a possible solution(s) to follow. In academia, almost all questions have an answer. In the working world, all questions can have many answers or no clear answers.”

Students, please note: If you receive a co-op or internship offer, please contact Engineering Professional Practice for help with paperwork and any preparations you may need –, 865-974-5323, or 310 Perkins Hall.

Students may read more about their peers’ co-op experiences by logging into their Engineering Professional Practice profile via, clicking “Resource Library” (on the left margin) and selecting “Students at Work–In Their Own Words.” For information on engineering co-op and internships, contact or 865-974-5323.


-Article from @COE