The FEEDER Consortium which consists of twelve universities, seventeen industry partners and two national labs has the goal to enhance curriculum development and education in the study of distributed energy resources. Every summer the consortium offers a program in which students meet at a specific location in the United States and participate in a week-long event, which consists of networking events, technical workshops, industry tours, laboratory experiments and leisure activities. This program works to enhance the workforce development of undergraduate and graduate power engineering students.
In the summer of 2017, the summer program was hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. During the week-long program, students were given two different technical presentations, including a presentation on multi-physics analysis of adjustable speed motor drives, and a presentation on developing demand response programs. Students also participated in interactive workshops on defining the smart grid, distribution line modeling, and researching vehicle-to-grid technology.
The program also had three tours to local utilities. The first tour was a tour of Duquesne Light Company’s operations and training centers. During this tour, students learned about DLC’s new microgrid developments. The second tour was of Mitsubishi Electric, where students toured the high-voltage switchgear manufacturing facility. The last tour was to Eaton’s Power Systems Experience Center, where students participated in an interactive tour of pole mounted equipment, a data center and a power quality laboratory.
One day of the summer program consisted of student experiments in an electric power student laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. In this laboratory, students learned how to use Dranetz meters and take measurements of different three-phase load configurations. This exposed the students to real world phenomena such as resonance of capacitive loads due to transformer inductance.
Concluding the program, the students filled out reports which collected information on their background in electric power and measured their overall evaluation of the program. The data from these questions were used to perform a statistical analysis of the perceived quality of the program and to determine what improvements would be needed for future programs. These reports also had a series open-ended questions addressing the program’s impact. A qualitative analysis was performed based on these open-ended questions.
This article describes the summer program in detail and gives a summary of the student reports. The summary suggests, that this summer program will be one of the most memorable and fruitful experiences of the students’ academic careers.
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