Summer Church

Summer_Church_1.jpgSummer Church, a sophomore in Electrical Engineering and a CURENT ambassador, has been chosen to receive an IEEE PES Scholarship. The scholarship runs three years and Summer is one of 184 scholars to receive this prestigious award. She says, “"I feel honored to have been selected as an IEEE Power and Energy Scholar and would like to thank IEEE and The University of Tennessee for their support in my aspirations to become an electrical engineer. Opportunities like this scholarship and the CURENT research center at UT continually encourage me to pursue a career in the electric power industry and to advance in this field of study. This scholarship has opened up several opportunities, such as connections to people in industry and special society memberships for IEEE Power and Energy Scholars. I would like to encourage others to apply for this scholarship as well, especially those who are highly interested in power and energy." 

About the scholarship:

The IEEE Power & Energy Society is committed to shaping the future of the power and energy industry.  To demonstrate this commitment they created the PES Scholarship Plus Initiative which provides scholarships and career experience opportunities to high-achieving U.S. and Canadian undergraduate students considering a future in power engineering.   One hundred and eighty-four (184) PES Scholarship recipients were selected from the 590 individuals who applied for the scholarship. These undergraduate students are majoring in electrical engineering, are high achievers with strong GPAs with distinctive extracurricular commitments and are committed to exploring the power and energy field. These scholarships are made possible due to the generous donations of individuals and corporations to the IEEE Power & Energy Society Scholarship Fund of the IEEE Foundation.

 All PES Scholarship recipients are:

  • Declared undergraduate students of electrical and computer engineering
  • Enrolled at accredited universities in the U.S. or Canada
  • High achievers with strong GPAs and distinctive extracurricular commitments
  • Committed to exploring the power and energy field
  • Committed to enrolling in at least three power engineering courses
  • Eager to explore the field through career experiences
  • U.S. or Canadian citizens and permanent residents
  • The amount awarded is $2000 for each of the first two years and $3000 for the third year

About Summer, in her own words:  

My name is Summer Church, and I am currently a sophomore undergraduate majoring in electrical engineering. I first became interested in engineering when my seventh grade math teacher encouraged me to consider a degree in a STEM field. At that point in my life, I had already found that I had a strength and an interest in math and science subjects. I can even remember a time when I was at a children’s museum in elementary school where I connected circuits at an electrical exhibit for hours, simply because it was interesting to me. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I had begun to research the various engineering disciplines to explore possible majors for college. Out of the many choices, electrical stood out to me. I could tell it was a broad field, including microelectronics, control systems, robotics, power electronics, renewable energy, grid technology, along with power generation, transmission and distribution. It seemed innovative and exciting because I could see electricity being used in everyone’s day-to-day lives, ranging from smart phones to three-phase power in a city.

Summer_Church_2.jpgCurrently, I am an ambassador for the Center for Ultra-Wide-Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks (CURENT) at The University of Tennessee Knoxville and have also worked as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Leon Tolbert. In research, I contributed to a research project called “An Occupant-Based Dynamic Simulation Tool for Predicting Residential Power Demand and Quantifying the Impact of Residential Demand Response.” I collected data for a Matlab simulation tool created by a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The program predicted power demand over a given period for a typical home. The user could define various parameters such as the insulation and types of loads in the home. My role was to gather information about changes in types of electrical devices and weather patterns based upon geographical location. I also presented this project to several engineers in industry who were visiting the CURENT research center. During the winter break of 2014, I had the exciting opportunity to travel to Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai, China with other CURENT ambassadors. While in China, we studied the country’s national grid system and visited labs at State Grid, Tsinghua University, North Electric Power University and Southeast University.

Additionally, I was invited early spring semester 2014 to serve as Vice-Chairperson of the IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Student Chapter. In this position, I have represented IEEE in the Tennessee Higher Education Commission “state of the department” assessment and at several of the IEEE East Tennessee Regional Meetings. My main role is to assist the other officers of IEEE in event planning and organization and to promote student involvement. I have also volunteered with IEEE’s robotics team at high school competitions and showings. This past summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Johnson City Power Board, a utility company that currently serves about 76,000 customers. I helped to set up the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system by creating graphics, writing script, computing calculations, working with linemen and engineers in the field and testing equipment within substations. In the spring of 2015, I will begin a co-op with Eaton Corporation as part of the Electrical Sector Business Development team. In this job, I will design electronics for power management solutions that will be manufactured by the company and sold to utilities and other partnering companies around the world."