Home > NDEE Student Earns IEEE Energy Scholarship

NDEE Student Earns IEEE Energy Scholarship

Leslie Lestinsky • DATE: January 30, 2019

NDEE Student Earns IEEE Energy Scholarship

Professor Ken Sauer with Stephen Jackson, IEEE PES Scholarship recipient

University of Notre Dame, Department of Electrical Engineering (NDEE) senior Stephen Jackson recently received an Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineering (IEEE) Power & Energy Society (PES) Scholarship. Comprised of industry and academic representatives, the IEEE PES Scholarship panel selected Jackson because of his commitment to exploring the power and energy engineering field through both coursework and career experiences.

Taking NDEE professor Ken Sauer's power machinery and systems course set him up with essential fundamental knowledge of electric machinery and power systems. The course curriculum not only met scholarship requirements but most likely made Jackson stand out from the competition. The base knowledge taught in Sauer’s course is key in order to give the next generation of electrical engineers within the power and energy field the building blocks they will need to engineer and harness new energies to serve mankind.

Stephen Jackson at Avista Utilities

The past two summers, Jackson had the opportunity to intern at Avista Utilities in Spokane, Washington. During that time, he was exposed to a wide range of hands-on experiences working with the utility company and getting energy to the public. These included a day spent at Avista’s lineman school and visits to the company’s various hydroelectric power plants in Washington, Idaho and Montana.

IEEE chapter

In addition to his studies and field work, Jackson has also been an active member in student activities. He was president (2018) and secretary (2017) of the NDEE student branch of IEEE and played forward on Keough Hall’s intramural hockey team. Sauer reflects on Jackson’s achievement, “Stephen excelled in our machinery and power systems class, due in part to his great experience interning in the power industry. This scholarship is a fitting recognition of his potential.”

More about IEEE PES (citing the IEEE PES webpage):

The IEEE PES provides the world's largest forum for sharing the latest in technological developments in the electric power industry, for developing standards that guide the development and construction of equipment and   and for educating members of the industry and the general public. Members of the Power & Energy Society are leaders in this field, and they and their employers derive substantial benefits from involvement with this unique and outstanding association.

The IEEE PES has a long history as a leading provider of information on power and energy for the betterment of humanity. A volunteer-based, not-for-profit organization, PES is a cornerstone society of IEEE, comprising of over 26,000 engineers and scientists worldwide, from all areas of the power and energy fields.

Within the next decade, the U.S. electricity grid will undergo enormous changes. There is a national commitment to replacing aging infrastructure. New green technologies and the smart grid will change the way power is generated, transmitted, distributed and utilized. Compounding these challenges is a projected energy workforce shortage of critical proportions. It's been estimated that the power and energy industry will experience as much as a 50% turnover in engineers, and there's increasing concern about the availability of highly-skilled, quality engineers to revitalize the nation's power grid and prepare us for a clean energy future.

The need for additional workers in the power industry is reinforced in the Quadrennial Energy Review which was released in April 2015. The report notes "Significant new investment in U.S. energy infrastructure is anticipated over the next few decades. The resulting changes in the transmission, storage, and distribution (TS&D) infrastructure—discussed throughout this report—will create new job opportunities for skilled workers. At the same time, the current TS&D infrastructure will need to be maintained. These factors, expansion of the energy sector, requirements for workers with new skills, and anticipated workforce retirements will create demand for new workers in energy-related jobs."

The January 2017 release of The Second Installment of the QER: Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System noted "Workforce retirements are a pressing challenge. Industry hiring managers often report that lack of candidate training, experience, or technical skills are major reasons why replacement personnel can be challenging to find—especially in electric power generation."

PES is committed to shaping the future of the power energy industry. The society is in a unique position to assist in reducing the impact of power and energy engineering attrition. Our members span both industry and education and are highly motivated to address the challenges facing the industry. The PES Scholarship Plus Initiative brings together all stakeholders - government, industry, educators and students-to directly address the power and energy workforce shortage by attracting qualified engineering students to the field.