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Engineering student wins IEEE power scholarship

Isobel Baetz

Washington State University student Isobel Baetz is a recipient of an IEEE Power and Energy Society scholarship. 

The scholarship is meant to attract highly qualified engineering students to work in the power and energy industry, according to the IEEE website. 

Baetz, a senior in electrical engineering with an emphasis in power engineering, has been interested in power and energy studies since high school when she had the chance to do some computer programming of a circuit board in one of her classes. 

“All of my upper division classes that I’m taking have been focused on topics you need to know to get into the power industry: either generation, transmission or distribution,” she said. 

At WSU, Baetz is participating in the US-India Collaborative for Smart Distribution System with Storage program (UI-ASSIST )where she has been working on the design of a solar-supported micro-grid. During the year-long project, the students sized solar panels and a battery system for a micro-grid for a government administration building belonging to the Tulalip tribe in Western Washington. The goal of the project is to allow the building to continue operating in the case of a major power outage on the regional power grid. Baetz received mentoring on the project and learned about the IEEE power scholarship from Noel Schulz, Edmund O. Schweitzer III Chair in Power Apparatus and Systems in WSU’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Schulz is also administrative lead of UI-Assist and co-directs the WSU-Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Advanced Grid Institute.

Baetz has also worked for Energy Northwest, a consortium that owns and operates the Pacific Northwest’s only commercial nuclear energy facility near Richland, Washington. 

“[Nuclear] is a really cool field,” she said. “I didn’t know a lot about it going into my internship but it is such a clean energy source compared to coal or natural gas.” 

In addition to her courses, Baetz has been a tutor and an officer in the Girls Who Code club, and she’s active in her church. 

“I have dedicated a lot of my time other than just studying and going to classes,” she said. “I work for the engineering college doing outreach to high schoolers and providing peer tutoring for other students in the college.” 

After graduation in December, Beaetz will continue working in the nuclear energy field at a nuclear facility in Texas.

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