Electrical engineering undergraduate receives inaugural IEEE PES scholarship

Photo of Stephen McConnell receiving scholorshipStephen McConnell, a senior in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, received the inaugural Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers(IEEE) Power and Energy Society (PES) Scholarship Plus Initiative Award.Pictured: McConnell, right, with Dr. Mladen Kezunovic

McConnell was among the first 93 students to receive the award. They were selected from 51 universities in the United States for the 2011-2012 academic year. The scholarships were distributed through the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Fund, which is being used to support the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative. These undergraduate students were selected by industry and academic representatives based primarily upon: academic preparation; extra-curricular activities and leadership; interest in engineering in general, and power and energy engineering in particular; and overall assessment of student's potential for a successful power and energy engineering career.

McConnell was raised in Bryan and graduated from Bryan High School. During his freshman and sophomore year at Texas A&M he worked as a volunteer missionary in Thailand, where he learned to speak Thai. While at Texas A&M, McConnell has worked for Anuncio Digital Media and the Reynolds & Reynolds companies in College Station. He participated in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in Summer 2011 studying solar power and its applications in the smart grid.

Right now his research interest centers around power generation, especially from nuclear and renewable energy sources.

“I've always had a fascination with science and technology, and electrical engineering seemed like a good fit for that,” McConnell said. “My emphasis as an electrical engineering major is in power. I also have minors in computer science and physics.”

His hobbies include singing, playing the piano, tennis and gymnastics.

The IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative awards were created by the PES to attract students to electric power engineering as a career to meet the needs for the workforce of the future.

PES is committed to shaping the future of the power and energy industry. The society is in a unique position to assist in reducing the impact of power and energy engineering attrition with members spanning both industry and education that are highly motivated to address the challenges facing the industry. The PES Scholarship Plus Initiative brings together all stakeholders from government, industry and academia to directly address the power and energy workforce shortage by attracting qualified engineering students to the field.

The PES provides the world's largest forum for sharing the latest in technological developments in the electric power industry, for developing standards that guide the development and construction of equipment and systems and for educating members of the industry and the general public. Members of the Power and Energy Society are leaders in this field, and they and their employers derive substantial benefits from involvement with this unique and outstanding association.