Name: Savannah Vajgrt
Title: Process Improvement Engineer Intern
University: University of Wisconsin – Madison

What inspired you to pursue an internship with Didion?

I came in the fall for an onsite interview after the career fair at UW-Madison and I was really impressed with how Didion puts a lot of trust into their interns and helps them to grow professionally. I was excited by how much I could make an impact in the short amount of time that I will be here!

What is your main focus as a Process Improvement Engineer Intern?

I look at how the mill is running day to day and if there are persistent problems that are causing downtime or rate reductions, then I’ll find a solution that monetarily and mechanically makes sense for our system. I work with mill operators to understand what system improvements can be done to make their job easier and what problems are holding us back from increasing production.

How does your experience compliment your studies?

Since I am a chemical engineer, I don’t get some of the mechanical studies that are helpful for working on any process system. At Didion, I am exposed to so many different types of equipment and their functions and it gives me a much better understanding of what variables are important in making a process run well.

What have you enjoyed the most about your internship with Didion?

I’ve really enjoyed the freedom and trust that the team has given me, I get to work on big projects that make a real impact on the business and everyone is very willing to help along the way. The time has already flown by and I feel like I learn something new every day.

What new trainings/skills have you acquired through your experience?

I’ve had a lot of experience talking to vendors and communicating effectively, so they can make equipment that works for our system. Just being able to work a problem through to completion, collaborating with colleagues and going through all the steps has been so educational.

Looking ahead to the future, what are your career goals?

In the future I would love to make whatever I do have a meaningful impact. Climate change is one of those long-term problems that demands long-term solutions and being a part of just one faction of that is somewhere I feel like I can make a real and lasting difference.

If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?

I would love to be an expert on space and space travel! It’s definitely the area of science that holds the most mystery for me, and understanding how all of it works would be so cool. Plus, I want to go to Mars!