Who are you?
PES Scholar - 2013 (John W. Estey Outsanding Scholar - Region 5) and 2014
I graduated from Oklahoma State University in the Fall of 2014. My major was Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Power & Energy.
Why did you choose to study engineering and the power engineering field?
I chose electrical engineering after participating in a pre-engineering course at Tri-County Technology Center in my hometown of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. I enjoyed completing open-ended design projects, basic programming, building small robots, and overall logical thinking/reasoning. After coming to OSU, power engineering found me. I was applying for internships and found a coop at American Electric Power (AEP) in Tulsa, OK as a Station/Protection & Control intern. From there, I continued my studies at OSU, changing my emphasis to Power & Energy. The following summer, I completed another internship with AEP as a Protection & Control Field Operations intern. During my final summer as an undergraduate student, I interned in Kansas City, MO with Burns & McDonnell as a Substation Engineering intern.
What do you love about the power engineering field? What excites you about being involved in the PE field?
After the power engineering field found me, I found that I enjoyed several aspects of it. Primarily, I enjoy the scale of projects that I have worked on in my internships. Rather than the minutia of digital electronics - which I frequently worked with as an Electrical Engineering student - projects have a much broader scope. Power engineering involves planning large-scale power systems, designing projects with more tangible parts, and collaborating between design engineers and workers in the field. I have found myself naturally drawn towards the project management portion of engineering, as I enjoy working on the technical side of project, but also enjoy scheduling, managing/overseeing other aspects of the project, and keeping all the details of a project documented. Power engineering lends itself very well to this project management role. It is also very exciting to be a part of upgrading and maintaining the United States' rapidly deteriorating power grid. These types of upgrades were the core of my internships with American Electric Power and Burns and McDonnell. I led projects to replace breakers in older substations as well as helped with the drawings to install fiber optic communication panels in new substations.
How has being selected as a PES Scholar impacted you?
Being a PES Scholar has affected several aspects of my undergraduate career. Firstly, and most importantly, it has allowed me to complete my time at OSU without taking out student loans. Being debt-free has been the long-term goal for my undergraduate career. At the time of writing this, I am four days away from graduation and have not taken out any student loans.
The PES Scholarship has also benefited my life outside of academia. In the spring of 2014, I travelled to Italy through the engineering college's study abroad program. We visited a car manufacturer, wineries, and other engineering-related sites. I also travelled to Puebla, Mexico to bring several student-made robots to a competition at another university. Without the help of the funding provided through the PES Scholar program, I would not have been able to have these study abroad experiences.