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Payton Sainsbury

Electrical Engineering Student

16 month Internship at OPG

Design Engineering Intern

Would you return to your employer?


Would you recommend your employer?


Would you return to a similar position?

Yes, but this was chosen by accident.

Did you always know you wanted to do co-op/internship?

Yes! As soon as I realized I was passionate about the maths and sciences in high school, I knew I wanted to go to school for engineering. I was fortunate to know UOIT students who were planning on participating in the Internship program at UOIT and treated them like role models because I knew that's where I wanted to end up one day. I always thought it would be a good way to translate theoretical knowledge into practical and marketable skills, all while gaining useful experience and making professional connections in the industry.

Did you have any concerns or hesitations before you started?

I was mostly concerned about the interviewing process. As a shy individual, going to interviews with professionals can be quite intimidating. I was worried that I wouldn't have an answer and that I would freeze up, however this was not the case. I am very grateful for all of the interview practice sessions run by the Engineering Co-op & Internship program. Through going to these sessions, and using the advice and tips learned from them, I was able to feel comfortable in an interview setting and be prepared.

What were your expectations?

Through a 16 month internship as Design Engineer, I was expecting to prepare engineering drawings and calculations, while developing professional skills. I was also expecting to gain knowledge about the power generation industry.

How did your experience compare with your expectations?

My internship experience has exceeded my expectations. As an intern, I was not expecting to get responsibilities such as lead roles on initiatives. Since my title is Design Engineer, I wasn't expecting to get much management experience. OPG has been very flexible in allowing me to work on a number of diverse tasks covering Project Management, as well as Design Engineering, and more.

How would you say you enjoyed your experience?

I have had a very good experience so far at OPG. I have been able to have the opportunity to travel to all of the different waste management facilities to get in-field experience as well as office experience. I've been given great responsibility in company-wide initiatives which has been a great experience and I am looking forward to continuing this. I have been able to exercise my PowerPoint, presentation, and public speaking skills at meetings. Another big initiative I have been a part of within OPG is the Innovation initiative, and setting up the X-Lab (Innovation Lab) for Nuclear Waste. This involves a lot of dealing with different internal departments and external vendors.I think the OPG has done a great job of including me and making me feel part of the company.

In a few sentences, explain your position. Please provide details about your daily tasks, projects, and responsibilities.

The department that I'm working in at Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is Nuclear Waste Design Engineering, specifically Used Fuel Dry Storage Facility Design. My role is Design Engineer. My section focuses on design issues that come up within the three waste storage facilities at OPG. I am currently working on the replacement strategy for an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). In order to determine a path forward, a technical analysis is being carried out where I am responsible for performing voltage drop calculations to determine appropriate UPS rating, load sizes, etc. Another project I have worked on so far was bringing the Stack Sampling System back into service at one of the waste management facilities. This system is very important, as it helps to measure radioactive release into the environment. I was tasked with doing a technical analysis for a non-identical component replacement on a flowmeter and flow element. This project was an application on my knowledge of instrumentation and control.

What was your work atmosphere like? (flexibility, formality, team-centric, supportive)

The work atmosphere at OPG Nuclear Waste is very positive and enthusiastic. The culture is very appreciative/supportive of interns and the internship program. They understand that a student's first job in the industry can be scary, and they are willing to go the extra mile to make sure the transition from university to work is a positive experience. My team has been very helpful whether it comes to answering my questions, making me feel comfortable at work, or encouraging me to develop professionally through taking different roles outside my comfort zone.

Did you feel that any training and/or support available to you was helpful or beneficial to you?

I found the training and support offered by my team to be very beneficial to me. It has helped me to learn more about the Nuclear Industry, and put knowledge learned through university into practice .

What advice would you offer to students thinking about pursuing co-op or internship?

I would say do it! Even if it's scary. You never know what skills you will develop by going outside of your comfort zone. I would also recommend attending resume and cover letter review sessions, as well as interview practice sessions. I am so grateful for all of the experiences I have gained throughout my internship so far, and I am grateful that UOIT has supported me throughout the whole process.

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