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Undergraduate Students as Visiting Students in the United Kingdom

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

International Research Experiences Intl Div Tech Session 8

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Ali Mehrizi-Sani Virginia Tech 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 Associate Professor at Virginia Tech. He was an Associate Professor at Washington State University (2012-2019) and a Visiting Professor at Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria, in Nov. 2014 and Jan. 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, and IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion. 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 the recipient of the 2018 IEEE PES Outstanding Young Engineer Award, 2018 ASEE PNW Outstanding Teaching Award, 2017 IEEE Mac E. Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award, 2016 WSU VCEA Reid Miller Excellence in Teaching Award, the 2011 NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the 2007 Dennis Woodford prize for his M.Sc. thesis. He was a Connaught Scholar at the University of Toronto.

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Chen-Ching Liu P.E. Virginia Tech

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American Electric Power Professor and Director of Power and Energy Center, Virginia Tech. Dr. Liu received his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley. He was on the faculty of Washington State University, University of Washington, Iowa State University, and University College Dublin, Ireland. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and Member of National Academy of Engineering.

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Stephen McArthur University of Strathclyde

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Stephen McArthur is a Professor of Intelligent Energy Systems and a Deputy Associate Principal (for Research, Knowledge Exchange and Innovation) at the University of Strathclyde. His main area of expertise is intelligent system applications in power engineering covering smart grids, condition monitoring and data analytics. He is the Academic Director for Strathclyde’s Advanced Nuclear Research Centre and is Director of the joint Strathclyde and Imperial College EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Power Networks and Smart Grids. He also leads an EPSRC Prosperity Partnership on nuclear plant lifetime management and the UKRI EnergyREV consortium focusing on smart local energy systems. He is an IEEE Fellow, a Chartered Engineer in the UK and an IET Fellow.

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In this work-in-progress paper, we discuss our NSF-supported program designed to select, mentor, and send U.S. undergraduate students in electrical power engineering to the University of Strathclyde in the U.K. during summer to engage in research projects and research-related activities. We discuss the program need, logistics, design, and evaluation results. Each year, six new students participate in the program; they are selected via a nation-wide competition. Our primary motivation for this program is to provide students with experience in international research and help prepare the next generation of U.S. competitive STEM workforce capable of innovation. Moreover, the students will develop soft skills such as teamwork, oral and written communication, and time management. Since the operating parameters of the electric grid (e.g., frequency and voltage levels) are different in Europe from those in North America, the students will also gain a firsthand experience of different practices in distribution and transmission systems. The research performed under this program helps achieve the smart grid vision through a combination of technological advances and workforce training. Ultimately, this research will increase the utilization of smart grid infrastructure by integrating distributed renewable energy resources. Our preliminary evaluation results show that overall student participants were very satisfied with how the program is set up, designed, and run, giving an average score of 4.7 out of 5: 100% of scholars said they would consider graduate school after attending this program, and pointed to its catalyzing role. Students appreciated the international experience; for all of them, it was their first time living in a foreign country for an extended time. For more than half, this was also the first time to Europe; 90% of scholars said knowing what they know now, they would participate in the program again, citing hands-on research experience, learning about the culture, learning how others solve their power needs, and availability of PhD students to help them as the highlights of the program. We have received applications from 17 states, and 8 of 16 scholars were female, providing evidence for the effectiveness of our advertisement and minority recruitment plans.

Mehrizi-Sani , A., & Liu, C., & McArthur, S. (2020, June), Undergraduate Students as Visiting Students in the United Kingdom Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35414

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