Lauren Fear and her mother recently tried skydiving for the first time. Her mom, Donna, had always wanted to do it, so Fear obliged because it was her mother’s 60th birthday.
The weather was threatening when they arrived at the airport, but by the time they were in the sky the clouds had parted and – a bit worried that she might back out if her mom jumped before her – Fear went first.
“My mother’s the thrill-seeker,” Fear said. “Not me.”
As a radiation protection technician for PSEG Nuclear, Fear prizes the boredom of safety over excitement or adventure. She’s on the team that helps ensure the well-being of everyone working at the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants. Her duties include briefing employees on protocols before they enter the containment facility, making sure they are wearing the correct protective clothing, and monitoring their exposure. In addition, she and her team conduct radiation and contamination surveys, as well as job coverage in the Radiologically Controlled Area.
“We want to make sure there are no surprises,” she said.
A member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 94, Fear was required to pass an IBEW aptitude test and undergo a rigorous interview to be considered for the job, after which she completed three years of extensive training at PSEG – beginning with classroom learning.
It began with the basics – minor maintenance and hand tools – then proceeded to the study of instruments, theory of radiation and, finally, to emergency response. Classroom instruction was followed by on-the-job training and evaluation.
“We’re trained in our roles to make sure the plant and the public are safe,” Fear said, adding that PSEG provides continuous learning and refresher courses on various aspects of the job.
Fear started her PSEG Nuclear career at Hope Creek and today is based primarily at Salem, both located on the same South Jersey campus. Before that, she worked as a temporary employee in Turbine Services.
What does it feel like to be a woman in a job with mostly male colleagues? Fear says that, if you’re confident in yourself, your work ethic and your knowledge of the job, it doesn’t make a difference.
“There are a lot of times when I’m the only woman in the room and I have to do the brief, a complex, high-profile explanation of the day’s critical tasks,” she said, “and it doesn’t really register anymore.”
She emphasized that the last thing she wants is to be treated any differently than any other team member just because she’s a woman – and she’s not.
She credits her co-workers and managers with helping her develop her work ethic and humility and says that her mom has always been a strong female force in her life, sharing, “my mother was always there to support me in difficult decisions like helping me decide which career path I wanted to follow.”
And how did the mother-daughter skydiving attempt turn out?
“The free fall was insane,” Fear said. “We both survived, and she said it was the best thing she’s ever done. Huge success.”
For more information on career opportunities at PSEG, please visit jobs.pseg.com.
*Images taken pre-COVID19.