Mitsubishi Tomini

Scholarship Plus Initiative Update – June 2015

The IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative provides multi-year scholarships and career experience opportunities to qualifying U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rican electrical engineering undergraduate students. As long as the scholar continues to meet renewal standards, he or she will receive up to three years of funding interspersed with up to two years of valuable, hands-on career experience.

Applications Being Accepted – 30 June deadline

Just a reminder, the deadline to submit an application is 30 June. To date, we have had over 1,500 students from Universities in the USA, Canada & Puerto Rico create a PES Scholarship Plus account for the 2015/16 application.  Please refer first year, second year and third year students to to learn more and begin their application.

scholarshipjune1Congratulations to 3 time PES Scholar recipient, John Hoffman on his graduation from Washington State University. He obtained his full time job at Burns & McDonnell as a result of his participation in the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative and attendance at the 2014 PES General Meeting.



PES Scholar Profile

Matthew Backes
B. Sc. Electrical Engineering, Graduated May 2015


Who are you?

My interests are concerned with how to integrate renewable energy, specifically wind energy, into the existing power system, and how to encourage the proliferation of wind energy. This is a challenge of monumental proportions and there are plenty of naysayers, but the social (and hopefully economic) benefits are well worth the research efforts. Other interest areas are electricity markets and economic dispatch, especially when dealing with distributed generation and renewable technologies. This is starting to challenge the fundamental way power is delivered and electricity markets need to be properly structured to encourage these types of energy generation.

Why did you choose to study engineering and the power engineering field?

I chose to study engineering out of a passion for mathematics and how it can so elegantly and concisely describe the fundamental principles of the physical world. I chose power engineering after I took my first energy systems course. I always knew I wanted to work in an area that had some sort of societal impact to it, and once I saw the evolution the current grid was undergoing, I knew that I had found a field that would challenge me technically and engage me. This has further been supplement by my subsequent power engineering courses. The only problem I have is that I want to work on everything that I come across in classes, but alas, I would be a perennial student if I tried that.

What do you love about the power engineering field? What excites you about being involved in the PE field?

There are many reasons I love the power engineering field. First and foremost, working in the power engineering field has real impact. What we do directly affects people and their quality of life. If people are without power for a minute, they are detrimentally affected. Another reason I love power engineering is because of the constant evolution it is undergoing. There are almost never incremental changes; it is also a leap of technology that occurs. The field is always changing, and for the better. The other very exciting thing about the power engineering field is that it offers a unique mix of age distributions. Many power engineers are in the tail end of their careers, and while this does prevent somewhat of a problem, it gives younger power engineers the chance to learn and have real impact in a short time.

How has being selected as a PES Scholar impacted you?

While the financial assistance is outstanding, I would argue that it is not even the most impactful part of being a PES Scholar. The scholarship carries weight around the power engineering industry and employers take a keen interest in it. A plethora of resources also come along with the scholarship. We have access to a PES careers website which allows us a unique opportunity to connect with employers. We are also able to get a mentor to help guide our career choices. Additionally, the program supplies scholars with new research reports and technical webinars, which allows the scholars to develop their knowledge further.

Please consider making a gift that will help scholars like Matthew. You may be able to double or triple the amount of your gift to the Initiative by using your employer’s Matching Gift Program. Make your gift online today to the IEEE Foundation or IEEE Canada Foundation.

Organizational Supporter – Burns & McDonnell

scholarshipjune3.jpgIn 2014, Burns & McDonnell joined with fellow industry supporters of the Scholarship Plus Initiative and invested $25,000 to support scholarships for undergraduate electrical engineering students who focus on power and energy curriculum. “Burns & McDonnell is pleased to support power-focused students as they prepare to join our dynamic and challenging industry,” said Mike Beehler, vice president, Burns & McDonnell Transmission & Distribution Division. “These scholarships help provide well-trained new graduates to support us as we design and build the Next Generation (NxG) Utility.”

Burns and McDonnell’s partnership has provided them with early access to scholars, ultimately hiring ten of the fourteen for full-time positions, including two-time scholar William Duren, who will graduate from Kansas State University this May. These experiences provide the scholars with an opportunity to learn valuable skills which complement classroom learning. “I had two internships with Burns and McDonnell which I thoroughly enjoyed. I interned with terminals and pipelines for companies such as Marathon and Oneok through the Global Facilities division and also in the electrical and instrumentation group helping design power distribution systems. I like solving problems, and my contributions to the projects were encouraged by the engineers at Burns and McDonnell”, said William Duren.

PES Scholar Profiles

scholarshipjune4cropRead first-hand stories from PES Scholars about why they picked their major, how they’re enjoying it, and where it’s bringing them via PES Scholar Profiles!