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Board # 89 : Scholarships for Future Leaders in Electric Energy and Smart Grid

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Ali Mehrizi-Sani Washington State University Orcid 16x16

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Ali Mehrizi-Sani received the B.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering and petroleum engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, both in 2005. He received the M.Sc. degree from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, both in electrical engineering, in 2007 and 2011. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA. He was a Visiting Professor at Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria, in Nov. 2014, Jan. 2016, and Nov.-Dec. 2016. His areas of interest include power system applications of power electronics and integration of renewable energy resources. Dr. Mehrizi-Sani is an editor of IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, and IEEE Power Engineering Letters. He is also an editor of Wiley International Transactions on Electrical Energy Systems. He is the Chair of IEEE Task Force on Dynamic System Equivalents and the Secretary of the CIGRE Working Group C4.34 on Application of PMUs for Monitoring Power System Dynamic Performance. He was a recipient of the WSU VCEA Reid Miller Excellence in Teaching Award in 2016, the NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2011, and the Dennis Woodford prize for his M.Sc. thesis in 2007. He was a Connaught Scholar at the University of Toronto.

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Chen-Ching Liu Washington State University

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Boeing Distinguished Professor and Director of Energy Systems Innovation Center, Washington State University, Pullman. Dr. Liu received his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley. He was Professor and Associate Dean of Engineering at University of Washington and Palmer Chair Professor at Iowa State University. Before joining WSU, Dr. Liu was Professor and Acting/Deputy Principal of College of Engineering, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University College Dublin, Ireland. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and Member of Washington State Academy of Sciences.

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Robert G. Olsen Washington State University

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Prof. Olsen received the BS degree in electrical engineering from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ in 1968 and the MS and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO in 1970 and 1974 respectively. While in Boulder, he worked for Westinghouse Georesearch Laboratory. He has been a member of the electrical engineering faculty at Washington State University since 1973 and holds the rank of professor. Between 2003 and 2013, he served as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Student Services at Washington State University. He has been an NSF Faculty Fellow at GTE Laboratories in Waltham, MA, a visiting scientist at ABB Corporate Research in Västerås, Sweden and at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Palo Alto, CA and a Visiting Professor at the Technical University of Denmark.
His research interests span all aspects of electromagnetics issues in power transmission and has resulted in approximately 85 publications in refereed journals and approximately 150 conference publications/presentations. He is also one of the authors of the AC Transmission Line Reference Book – 200 kV and Above which is published by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the author of the recently published two volume book, High Voltage Overhead Transmission Line Electromagnetics. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and an Honorary Life member of the IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society

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Electrical power is critical to the U.S. economy. However, many of the power engineering workforce are eligible for retirement in the near future. The loss of their years of experience is a serious threat to the power system operation, reliability, and efficiency. Building on our strong power program with a high national and international reputation in education and research, we establish a program for recruitment, retention, and mentoring of future power engineering leaders in electric energy and smart grid. Our specific objectives are to increase the number of the following student groups in power engineering by 50%: (i) Bachelor’s, (ii) Master’s, (iii) underrepresented minorities, and (iv) women, by providing opportunities for lower division students, community college students, and four-year university students to study in Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

To achieve this goal, four components are needed: (i) students interested in energy-related fields, (ii) industry interested in hiring qualified students (with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree), (iii) an institutional infrastructure, and (iv) funds for scholarships to enable students to attend university. While the first three components are available at our institution, we have exhausted our scholarship resources due to our recent expansions; therefore, the fourth component is missing. This is a vital component, especially because of the high concentration of low-income, Hispanic-origin students in the nearby counties. Moreover, as the state’s sole land-grant institution, we have strong presence in every county and draws students from a pool that include low-income, first-generation students.

We build on existing support structures such as a bridge program, faculty and industry mentorship, tutors, study groups, internships, field trips, and a hallmark annual poster event, all supported by an industry advisory board consisting of major power companies that provide mentors and internships opportunities and support our recruitment and retention activities. During the first three years of this program, we offered over $300,000 in scholarships averaging $6,000. We discuss the recruitment mechanisms in place (advertising strategies, community college visits, and class visits), activities (practicum, research projects, and field trips), application procedure, and the impact of these scholarships in enabling students continue their studies with a higher quality. Our evaluation results via midterm and exit surveys have indicated the significant positive impact these NSF scholarships have had on the students’ grades, life balance, and even ability to stay in school.

Mehrizi-Sani , A., & Liu, C., & Olsen, R. G. (2017, June), Board # 89 : Scholarships for Future Leaders in Electric Energy and Smart Grid Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27949

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