NDSU Hosts 50th Annual National Power Symposium

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Professors, Ph.D. graduates and some undergraduate students from across the country traveled to the Holiday Inn in Fargo, North Dakota early this week to attend the 50th annual North American Power Symposium (NAPS).

“We won the bid to host the conference. It’s not like it’s given to you; you have to win it through a competitive process,” Rajesh Kavasseri, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at North Dakota State, said.

NDSU professors won the bid to host the 2018 NAPS conference at the 2015 symposium in North Carolina. Graduate students and some undergraduates get to showcase their research on power and energy and receive feedback by distinguished faculty and higher education students from across the nation.

“It’s a student-centered conference,” Kavasseri said. “Students are the main presenters of papers which they co-author with their advisors. The advisors are also there, but they are sitting in the backseat and the students are driving.”

The department of electrical and computer engineering at NDSU is the 39th largest electrical engineering program in the country with approximately 480 undergraduate students and 50 graduate students.

“Every paper receives evaluation and constructive feedback. We have about 160 papers submitted for the conference,” Kavasseri said.

The students have been working on their papers for the past year to bring to this NAPS conference to present and receive feedback on their research.

Cate Davis, a professor at Texas A&M University, came to the conference with two of her students’ papers to present. Davis was back at the conference for the first time since she was a graduate student.

“The conference is a really great experience for students,” Davis said. “It is such a large program with student support, and the students don’t have to pay a lot to receive friendly feedback.”

On Sunday, Sept. 9, the first day of the symposium began with a social tour to Itasca State Park along with an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Power and Energy Education Committee (IEEE/PEEC) and NAPS steering committee meeting. On Monday, joint keynote speakers addressed educational and examining research challenges as well as technical sessions, and Tuesday ended the conference with an industry expert keynote speaker followed by an award ceremony for the best papers.

The University of North Dakota also made a presence at the conference with a booth advertising their electrical engineering and computer science joint program as well as their new program on cybersecurity. Shravan Kumar Akula, a doctoral student from UND, moved across the country to attend UND’ s graduate program.

“Hossein Salehfaris’s research in microgrids and renewable energy integration made me want to attend UND,” Akula said.

Though many universities were represented from across the country, they all have one underlining goal that branches them together: creating safe, sustainable and effective renewable energy.

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