Bismarck State College
NLO, Pilgrim Station, an Entergy Nuclear Power Plant
Karla Sahl is the kind of woman who doesn’t take “no” for an answer. She knows what she wants and is willing to put forth the effort to make it happen. Take for example, her journey from Waste Technician to Nuclear Plant Operator. Karla entered the nuclear industry roughly 5-years ago as a Waste Technician. After three years in that role, she decided to apply for a more advanced Operator position. Unfortunately, during her interview Karla was told that she lacked experience and technical expertise. While some people may have quit, Karla took the bull by the horns and decided to earn her degree. She enrolled in EPCE’s online Nuclear Power Technology (NUPT) program through Bismarck State College (BSC).
According to Karla, “I knew the EPCE program would help me bridge the gap and achieve my goals. The fact that the curriculum is industry built and endorsed made the material both timely and relevant. In addition, the online format allowed me to work fulltime but still complete my coursework.” Karla went on to say, “My superiors were very interested in my progress and I made a point of keeping them informed. I wanted them to know that the next time I applied for an Operator position, I’d be ready.”
Karla describes the BSC program as, “on the mark with materials and instruction.” As for BSC’s instructors Karla said, “They are supportive, flexible and extremely understanding of the circumstances surrounding adult learners.”
After 2 ½ years in the program, Karla earned her degree and reapplied for a Nuclear Reactor Operator position. This time, Karla landed the job. “The knowledge I gained in the EPCE program was invaluable to my success and my degree more than prepared me for the responsibilities associated with my new position.”
Karla is now considering earning a bachelor’s degree. “I feel a tremendous responsibility as a woman in the industry to be a role model for others. The nuclear industry is growing and forward-thinking companies like Entergy have made diversification a workforce development priority. This is a great time for women to advance or enter the industry and EPCE programs can help. There are many women I know who don’t feel they have opportunities for entrée or advancement. Hopefully, watching me earn my degree and parlaying it into a promotion will be inspirational. As the industry changes, more and more opportunities will become available. This is a terrific industry to be involved with and a wonderful time to be here.”