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Kate Blankenship

Kate Blankenship


My co-op was with Cargill in Sioux City, IA for a summer and fall rotation in 2022. This site produces high protein soybean animal feed and refined soybean oil. I spent both rotations as the Reliability Engineering intern, working in maintenance and reliability roles within the site. Main projects included serving as project lead for over $100,000 in beautification projects around site including coordinating contractor work and ensuring site safety compliance, supporting safety and reliability assets by facilitating site visits with specialists to identify and correct equipment deficiencies, analyzing process data and trends for various pieces of equipment, and working with our storeroom manager to more effectively manage inventory.

My summer 2023 rotation was with POET in Sioux Falls, SD as a corporate operations engineering intern. This site supports 33 corn bioprocessing plants making bioethanol, animal feed, and several other products across 8 states. My main projects included redesigning a slide gate for a wet cake conveyor, creating a tool for all sites across the fleet to better understand sieve efficiency based on key metrics, and leading a project to improve yeast propagation yields.

Having experience within a plant has been so instrumental in continuing to find engineering opportunities while still in college; there are a lot of things that you will experience within an engineering role that can't be taught in the classroom. Many of the things I've seen in a plant have transferred back into the classroom setting‚ for example seeing heat exchangers and distillation columns run during my co-op and internship have helped tie the concepts into the real applications.

In my spare time, I enjoy captaining our school's women's club ultimate frisbee team and playing in various Knoxville Ultimate frisbee leagues.

Kate Blankenship

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