Who am I?
I am a senior electrical engineering major and mathematics minor at the University of Kentucky (UK) set to graduate in May 2018. I have completed two internships at a CMTA, Inc. (a consulting engineering firm) and conducted research with the UK College of Design on sustainably designed greenhouses. I am interested in sustainable building design and renewable energy sources. Additionally, I have worked as a resident advisor for the past three years, dedicating my time to help students succeed in a safe and inclusive environment. I am a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the engineering honors societies Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu, and serve on the Student Sustainability Council and the Engineering Student Council. I am currently taking classes to obtain a Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky certificate. Upon graduation, I plan to earn a master’s degree in engineering management or industrial engineering.
Why did you choose to study engineering and the power engineering field?
I had never considered engineering until my high school calculus teacher encouraged me major in it. Back then, I thought engineers only designed bridges and water systems. I did not realize there were so many different disciplines and a broad range of opportunities available within engineering. I was accepted to the University of Kentucky as an “undeclared engineering” major but was not entirely won over by the idea until freshman orientation. They broke up all the engineering students by discipline and sent the undeclared students to listen to a past dean of the college of engineering. I will never forget the way he described engineering and its importance in setting the pace and direction of society. From that point on, I knew that engineering was the right path for me. During my freshman year at the UK, I took a course called “Global Energy Issues.” Throughout the course, the class studied various energy sources and attended several Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK) seminars, which kindled my strong interest in power and energy. The course truly opened my eyes to the potential of renewable energy sources and led me to merge my engineering studies and passion for sustainability with electrical engineering.
What do you love about the power engineering field? What excites you about being involved in the PE field?
During my first engineering course at the University of Kentucky (UK), we studied the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges of Engineering which identify the biggest problems that need to be solved in the 21st century. Several of them either directly or indirectly relate to the advancement and availability of power and energy. These challenges both reflect on needed efficiencies in the power and energy field and predict future changes. I love how the power and energy field is rapidly changing and will continue to change throughout my career. With modern technology, our dependence on electricity has drastically increased. If the power goes out for even a couple seconds, it greatly affects everyone from hospitals to factories to military operations. Also, I love the potential of renewable energy sources and how the utilization can positively impact our environment. However, this development poses several challenges such as altering the grid to accommodate two-way power flow. These challenges motivate me to learn about current technologies and excite me for my career. My experience studying electrical engineering at UK has been the most challenging and rewarding of my life thus far. I am excited for the opportunities that an electrical engineering degree will provide within the power field. I cannot wait to apply my education to real world problems and positively impact lives.
How has being selected as a PES Scholar impacted you?
After being selected as an IEEE PES Scholar, I was selected as a John W. Estey (JWE) Outstanding Scholar which is awarded to the top PES Scholar in each region, seven total in North America. S&C Electric Company invited the JWE scholars to visit their company and tour their facility, hear presentations from top level executives, tour downtown Chicago, and attend a dinner hosted by Mr. Estey. The event was an incredible experience that taught me about the opportunities in the power and energy field, specifically at S&C, and I am now more prepared for my career. I also got the opportunity to meet top power and energy students from across the country and learn about their experiences and interests. The IEEE PES Scholarship and the John W. Estey Scholarship have placed me in a more comfortable position where I can focus on my academics instead of worrying about my finances. With less student debt from my undergraduate education, I am able to pursue a master’s degree immediately after my bachelor’s degree. The University of Kentucky (UK) Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department held a luncheon in honor of the UK recipients at the faculty club. As a recipient of both the IEEE PES and John W. Estey Scholarships, the ECE Department wrote an article about me and posted it on their website and social media. This recognition informed faculty and students about the scholarship, which led to conversations about IEEE PES and my plans in the power and energy field.