IEEE PES/PELS Joint Student Chapter Wins Best Chapter Award
Darlene Naolhu, ECE ILLINOIS
- The Illinois IEEE Power Engineering Society and Power Electronics Society (IEEE PES/PELS) Joint Student Chapter was awarded the IEEE Power Electronics Society Best Chapter.
- This year marks the first time that a student chapter has ever received the IEEE Power Electronics Society Best Chapter Award.
- The chapter's efforts with the 2010 Power and Energy Conference at Illinois were a factor in their winning the award.
The Illinois IEEE Power Engineering Society and Power Electronics Society (IEEE PES/PELS) Joint Student Chapter was awarded the IEEE Power Electronics Society Best Chapter Award at the 2010 Energy Conversion Congress and Expo in Atlanta this September.
“When I found out that we had won, it was pretty overwhelming,” said ECE graduate student Ali Bazzi, former chair of Illinois IEEE PES/PELS during the 2009 and 2010 academic school year. “Our chapter had worked really hard last year, so it was definitely a great feeling to have received this award. It is a great honor and recognition to the Chapter, ECE department, and College of Engineering as a whole.”
According to the IEEE Power Electronics Society (IEEE PELS) website, the award recognizes excellent service by a PELS chapter to its members and to the power electronics community. The award is given each year to the chapter that best uses PELS supporting capabilities, while organizing and managing distinguished chapter activities throughout the year. The winning chapter receives a certificate and a $1500 award.
This year marks the first time that a student chapter has ever received the IEEE Power Electronics Society Best Chapter Award.
“It was a very nice surprise because we weren’t expecting to win the award when we had applied—not because we didn’t deserve it, but because most of the awards given out in the past had mostly been regional. We thought it would be very hard to get the award with the competition we had,” said Bazzi.
The Illinois IEEE PES/PELS student chapter was formed in 2005 and is made up of students and faculty members in the power and energy systems field. The chapter aims to get students and faculty involved in power and energy activities at Illinois by sponsoring weekly seminars, facilitating collaborations between students and alumni, initiating interactions between group members and undergraduates, and educating students on topics within the power and energy systems area. The chapter has participated in events such as Engineering Open House and has sponsored field trips to facilities such as the Grand Ridge Wind Farm and Hamilton Sundstrand in Illinois.
“We really try to encourage research and an understanding of power and energy,” said ECE graduate student Pradeep Shenoy, former vice-chair of the Illinois IEEE PES/PELS student chapter. “We do this by coming up with fun and educational events that would benefit our members.”
To be considered for the IEEE PELS Best Chapter Award, a chapter must submit an application highlighting key features and accomplishments over the past year.
Although there were a number of things that helped the Illinois IEEE PES/PELS student chapter gain recognition, Bazzi and Shenoy mostly credit their achievement to the first 2010 Power and Energy Conference at Illinois, held during the spring 2010 semester. The entire conference had been planned and organized by the Illinois IEEE PES/PELS student chapter and had more than 100 participants from 10 universities, along with industry support from companies such as SolarBridge Technologies, ComEd Exelon, and John Deere. With over 100 participants and 40 paper submissions, the conference was a big success.
“The work we did with the conference really helped expose the student chapter at Illinois,” said Bazzi. “But ultimately, it has been an incremental effort from everyone that has been a part of the IEEE PES/PELS student chapter at Illinois since 2005. Without their help, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
ECE Professor Philip Krein has been the chapter adviser for the Illinois IEEE PES/PELS student chapter since its establishment.
“The group has been extremely ambitious and active, and the leadership for the chapter has been exemplary,” said Krein. “I am very proud of everyone.”
To Bazzi and Shenoy, winning this award will not only help the Illinois IEEE PES/PELS student chapter gain more recognition and grow, but it will hopefully help the chapter self-support the 2011 Power and Energy Conference at Illinois in the spring.
“We really have a great base to work with, and we really hope to grow in collaboration with people in the industry,” said Shenoy. “There’s always room for growth and it will be interesting to see how things progress from here on out.”