Two students earn scholarships to pursue work in sustainable energy

Two electrical engineering students, Paul Giessner and Noah Mitchell-Ward, were awarded scholarships from the Utility Variable-Generation Integration Group (UVIG) to support their education in wind and solar power.

Master’s student Paul Giessner (BSE EE ’17) and undergraduate student Noah Mitchell-Ward have each been awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the Utility Variable-Generation Integration Group (UVIG) to support their education in wind and solar power. Awardees were chosen by grade point average, commitment to renewable energy and power engineering, recommendations, relevant experience and achievements, and an essay submission.

Paul Giessner receives scholarship in sustainability Enlarge

Paul Giessner graduated at the end of the 2017 winter semester with majors in electrical engineering and organ performance. He plans to stay at U-M for at least one more year to pursue a master’s in ECE, with an emphasis on power and energy.

Paul will work this summer with Prof. Ian Hiskens and Johanna Mathieu on a project involving air conditioning systems in commercial buildings. The goal of the project is to determine how these systems can be made responsive to the grid, maximizing their efficiency. While the research group has published papers on this subject in previous years, this summer marks the first chance they’ll have to experiment with systems on campus. Paul will work with them to take measurements from newly installed equipment in four U-M buildings.

Paul first found an interest in power and energy with his first internship at a nuclear power plant, eventually taking nearly all the undergraduate courses the department offered in the area. He hopes to be able to tackle broad, serious issues that can be met with increased use of renewable energy, such as climate change.

In addition, Paul is considering an additional graduate certificate in Science and Technology Public Policy from the Ford School.

“I want to take a look at the intersection of technology and politics,” Paul says. “I think it’s really important to have more engineers and scientists in government.”

Paul keeps the musical side of his studies active, currently working as an organist at Meadowbrook Congregational Church in Novi.

Noah Mitchell-Ward receives scholarship in sustainability Enlarge

Noah Mitchell-Ward, a senior in electrical engineering, plans to graduate with his BSE in EE in December of 2017. He is interested in renewable energy sources, and plans to attend graduate school with a focus on power, the environment, and related policy from a systems engineering perspective.

Noah worked with Prof. Jeremiah Johnson’s group in the Center for Sustainable Systems on a project examining the environmental impacts of integrating lithium-ion batteries into a power system. More recently, he and the group worked on improving land-use efficiency in large solar cell installations.

This past year, Noah co-led a student wind turbine design team, BLUElab Woven Wind. The team started a new project with the Ann Arbor Open School to design, build, and implement a permanent turbine at the school over the course of two years.

“Throughout this project, we are holding activity days for the students, developing a strong relationship with the community, and teaching the kids about renewable energy, wind turbines, and engineering,” Noah explains.

This summer Noah wil intern at consulting firm ICF International in Denver, CO as a Renewable Energy Engineering Intern. He’ll assist with engineering consulting work on solar and wind projects, as well as help ICF improve their internal solar PV design and analysis software.