Georgia Tech PES SB Chapter’s Update: Turning Lemons Into Lemonade– PES Activities During the Pandemic

Georgia Tech had an active and thriving IEEE PES student group with many events planned for the Spring of 2020. Then came the pandemic and things slowed down to a crawl. But to make the most of what they could, the new officers started planning for technical seminars with speakers from near and far. A membership survey revealed some of the topics of interest for their members, and the officers got to work. Every week in the Fall of 2020, the student group hosted technical seminars by professionals from academia, industries, and utilities:

  • Prominent Professors across the globe, such as Prof. Saifur Rehman from VT, Prof. Sastry Pamidi from FAMU, Asst. Prof. Anamika Dubey from WSU, and Asst. Prof. Drazen Dujic from EPFL in Switzerland.
  • Senior Researchers in National Labs, such as Dr. Ron Melton from PNNL and Dr. Ben Kroposki from NREL, and Ms. Jessica Harrison, the Senior Director of R&D at MISO.
  • A wide range of industries like ABB, Dominion Energy, Exponent, and Pecan Street Inc.

Topics catered to the large student population and diverse interests at Georgia Tech, such as superconductors, solid state circuit-breakers, and transformers, electricity markets, software for ADMS, large scale data capture for power grid, etc.

Talk by Dr. Ron Melton from PNNL and Dr. Ben Kroposki from NREL

While the earlier traditional, in-person type events were usually attended by 20 or so students, the participation in virtual events grew two- to three- times. Student membership grew by 35% and overall, there were 460+ attendees in all the events combined. The faculty advisor, Dr. Lukas Graber, called this the best year IEEE PES at GT has had so far. The credit goes to the willingness to pivot and make the best of the situation by officers and members alike.

Priya Mana
Treasurer, IEEE PES at GT, 2020-2021