Michelle Ward
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Olathe student wins prestigious electrical engineering scholarship

Fri, 11/15/2013

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas sophomore Brett Siegrist has been awarded a prestigious Power and Energy Systems (PES) Scholarship from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The multiyear awards are aimed at attracting talented engineers interested in advancing alternative energies, developing smart grid technology and transforming energy generation and distribution.

Siegrist, an electrical engineering major with minors in business and economics, was among 228 undergraduate students from 116 universities across the United States and Canada to participate in the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative. The program provides up to three years of financial support ― $2,000 the first and second years and $3,000 the final year ― and opportunities to work with hundreds of participating companies in the PES Careers Program.

“I am honored to be selected for the PES Scholarship. The program will provide me with greater exposure to the power industry and available career paths. I am looking forward to exploring the challenges and opportunities within this changing industry,” said Siegrist, who is a member of IEEE, Engineers without Borders and the Engineering Student Council.

EECS Professor James Rowland, who teaches Siegrist in the Circuits I class, has been impressed by Siegrist’s abilities and willingness to learn.

“My heartiest congratulations go to Brett on receiving this well-deserved honor,” said Rowland.  “Brett’s interest and enthusiasm in PES at this early stage of his career can carry him to new levels in the power industry now and after graduation. This is a high honor for him and for our department.”

A group of industry and academic representatives selected recipients based on their academic preparation, extracurricular activities and leadership skills. They also assessed students’ interest in power and energy engineering and their potential for a successful career within the field. PES scholars must reapply annually to ensure they are meeting requirements, such as power engineering courses and work experience within the energy field.  Students must take nine credit hours of power courses and complete two internships.

Siegrist will benefit from expanded power engineering course offerings and new workstations in the Dunwoodie Power Lab.  Student interest led the department to create multidisciplinary courses in energy production and storage systems that focus on alternative and traditional power sources.

Greater environmental awareness and the emergence of renewable energies are credited with the surge in enrollment, said Associate Professor Tom Glavinich, who teaches power systems analysis.  He notes the recent additions to the Dunwoodie Lab will provide Siegrist and other EECS students with a hands-on interdisciplinary education in electric energy systems.

“I think many people my age are concerned about the environment and are drawn to power systems engineering. It is exciting to join an industry in a time of innovation and forward thinking, and I look forward to being a part of the change in the power and energy industry,” Siegrist said.  

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