SU Wins $25,000 Engineering Award

By Stacy Howard
Photo Credit: Steve Szablya

The Seattle University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is the $25,000 grand prize winner of the 2014 NCEES Engineering Award for Connecting Professional Practice and Education (NCEES).  

The department received the top prize for its submission, Microgrid System for a Wind and Solar Farm Located in Rural Kenya . For the project, electrical engineering students worked as part of a team that also included faculty, professional engineers, and other professionals to design a hybrid wind- and solar-power microgrid system to provide electricity to a school and surrounding community in Muhuru Bay, Kenya.  

The jury praised the project for its strong interaction with professional engineers as well as its applications for communities in the United States and abroad.  

"By bringing modest amounts of electricity to the poorest people in the world, we improve their lives through lighting the home, so students can study, parents can charge their mobile phones and operate small electronics like radios," said Steve Szablya, director of Seattle University Maintenance Operations. "This relies on a proven sustainable business model that further brings benefits to the local economy.  This project highlights the commitment of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department to support projects that create engineers for just and humane world."

The NCEES Engineering Award recognizes engineering programs that encourage collaboration between students and professional engineers. EAC/ABET-accredited programs from all engineering disciplines were invited to submit projects that integrate professional practice and education.  

The winners were selected by a jury of NCEES members and representatives from academic institutions and professional engineering organizations. The 11 jury members considered criteria such as:  

• Successful collaboration of faculty, students, and licensed professional engineers

• Benefit to public health, safety, and welfare

• Multidiscipline and/or allied profession participation

• Knowledge or skills gained

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