Amanda Beck University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana

 Beck AmandaI am a Senior in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. I will graduate in May 2017 and I look forward to starting my full time position with GE Energy Management this summer. My focus has been on power systems analysis, though I am also interested in electric machinery and power electronics. Outside of the sphere of engineering, I also like to paint, play tennis, and travel.

I choose engineering because it fit my interest: specifically my love of problem solving, the inherent need for mathematics, and that it is an application of scientific principles - meaning I would build projects rather than just test theories.

It was also extremely important for me to work on projects that benefited people. Before I even decided to study engineering, I was always interested in the grid and how it was changing to fit the populace's needs and new energy sources. Yet it was not until I took my first circuits class in community college that I realized I could be working on the infrastructure that supported our way of life. Once I know I would be majoring in electrical engineering, I immediately latched on to power engineering and never looked back.

There has been a constant echo from professors and companies that this is an exciting time to enter into the power engineering field - and they were just preaching to the choir! I knew about some of the coming changes on the macro level with the smart grid and renewable energy, so I was excited way before I learned of the other aspects like microgrids and cybersecurity. I love that I am coming into an industry that is evolving and I get to play my part in guiding the change.

The impact on being selected a PES Scholar.

This scholarship has opened doors I had not even considered opening. I have been able to attend a power engineering conference and meet many interesting individuals related to the field. There is no better way to network.

Of course, the financial benefits has been a major help for me. Paying out of state tuition adds to the burden, but the scholarship helps me minimize the amount of loans needed.

Finally, the recognition has been an asset to finding internships and jobs. The weight of the award gives a strong foundation to my resume with just a single line.

January 2017