POETS graduate students dominate competitions in scientific communication this month : Nov. 6th, 2017

On October 28th, Sarah Garrow placed as a finalist in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) SWE17 conference graduate student rapid fire competition, which is a four minute presentation and a minute of questions. Sarah also presented on her research titled ‘Dynamic Modeling for Battery Electric Vehicle Thermal Management Systems’ and received third place in the competition! Below is an image of Sarah with Jonna Gerken (SWE president) presenting Sarah with the award. Sarah Garrow is a graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Dr. Andrew Alleyne’s group.

Additionally, Tanya Liu did a fabulous job at the NSF Biennial Perfect Pitch competition, taking home the 3rd place award.  This competition involves a 90-second pitch, with only 1 slide and no props and is conducted in front of the entire Biennial Meeting audience.  The winners of each ERC’s local competition participate, so it’s a very tough contest, and only 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards are made.  This was an amazing showing for POETS first participation in the Biennial competition. The 3rd place award included a $1,000 cash prize.  We would love to see even more students participate in the next POETS pitch competition in 2018, and keep POETS on the podium at the next Biennial meeting. Tanya Liu is a graduate student at Stanford University in Dr. Ken Goodson’s group.


Congratulations Tanya and Sarah!

POETS Center receives NSF REU Site grant

POETS has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) REU Site grant. This grant will enable POETS to expand the number of undergraduate students participating in summer research. The overall goals of the POETS REU Site grant is to help guide students towards a meaningful future in advanced STEM careers through empowerment and education. It is unique because it offers opportunities for hands-on research experiences to a diverse set of undergraduate students, emphasizing the inclusion of individuals from underrepresented and/or minority groups. This program will be led by Joe Muskin and Jessica Perez, picture above. To learn more see:


POETS SpaceX Rocket Launch Showing Event

SpaceX will be launching not one, but two rockets this weekend! The first rocket is launching from Kennedy Space Center this Friday, June 23 around 1pm CST. The second one is on Sunday, June 25 from Vandenburg Air Force Base but they haven’t announced what time due to FAA regulations. The SpaceX launches will be broadcasted here:, but if you want to watch the launch with your fellow POETS, please join us at one of our viewings (see rooms/contact listed below) or through the WebEx link (previously sent out by Jodi). Feel free to tweet your comments and thoughts live at #POETSlaunchparty and #POETSmet (for M: mechanical, E: electrical, T: thermal) . If you have other ideas for POETS wide events contact your SLC rep.


What: SpaceX Rocket Launch

Where: See showing room listing or WebEx link

When: Friday, June 23rd, 2017 11am PST/1pm CST/ 2pm EST

Why: Why not! Bring snacks to share!

Showing Rooms

Illinois: DCL 2240

Arkansas: CSRC 122

Howard: Contact Darryl Jennings (

Stanford: Room 26, Durand Building

Graduate Student Outreach Training at the NSF site visit: April 19th, 2017

As a part of POETS’ 2nd annual NSF site visit, POETS graduate students participated in a seminar entitled “STEM Outreach: A Supplement to Your Research Skill Set” which was originally organized because graduate students voiced a desired to be more involved with STEM outreach. The main purpose of the event was not just to underscore the importance of outreach, but to give participants a taste of how fun and rewarding outreach can be.

Opening the session, Dr. Jessica Perez, Associate Director of Education and Inclusivity, stressed the importance of outreach then reviewed what STEM outreach looks like and why grad students should get involved. Resources for becoming involved with STEM outreach at each POETS institution is provided here. The seminar then transitioned to a hands-on activity led by Matt Milner, co-president of the graduate student outreach group ENVISION. Building a solar oven from a pizza box and other materials exemplified the kinds of STEM outreach activities POETS graduate students could implement at their own institution.

Check out the article published by iSTEM for more details:


Undergraduate Research Opportunities Available

Funded summer research opportunities are available for motivated undergraduate who want to contribute to the POETS goal of increasing power density!

Who should apply?

  • Undegraduates majoring in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) disciplines
  • Students with an average GPA of 3.0/4.0 or higher
  • U.S. citizenship/national or permanent residency is required
  • Students from underrepresented minority groups, women, or veterans are strongly encouraged to apply

Apply for the 10 week summer Research Experience for Undergraduates at:

Apply by March 1, 2017

POETS Outreach with Middle School Students: June 7, 2016

POETS teamed up with graduate student organizations to run teaching/learning modules with several middle school students. This leverages the expertise of multiple graduate students to impact a large number of middle school students in a hands-on and meaningful way. The focus of this middle school program was underrepresented STEM students and young girls.

Above we see a group of middle schoolers, with their teachers, working with Patty Weisensee, Pamela Tannous, and Satya Peddata on a solar car kit. The POETS goal is to educate young minds that power can be transformed from one mode to another and you have to optimize various aspects of your mobile system to reach peak performance. Below we see Patty working with a particular young student to debug their project.

Other outreach activities have taken place throughout the summer 2016 and POETS students and faculty have found it to be very rewarding.

POETS-KTH Workshop: June 20-22, 2016

In June 2016, a contingent of faculty from POETS visited our international partner KTH. The visit was to build technical partnerships that could be used to foster collaborative research as well as personnel exchange.  Professors Alan Mantooth, Robert Pilawa and Andrew Alleyne participated, as did Professors Hans Peter Nee and Stefan Ostlund from KTH. Above we see Professor Pilawa (POETS) and Professor Ostlund (KTH) in discussions with two POETS students.

This was a two day workshop. The first day had presentations in the morning, lunch and a tour of *very* impressive electric power facilities at KTH in the afternoon. This was followed by a brainstorming session on potential topics for deep collaboration and a presentation/Q&A with a program manager from the Swedish energy funding association (similar to the U.S. Dept of Energy).  The first day then wrapped up with a great dinner of traditional Swedish food, including meatballs!  The second day involved a tour to Atlas Copco, a large manufacturer of tools for mining and assembly. Several of their assembly tools are electrically driven and operate in the 1 KW range. Below you can see Professor Alan Mantooth trying one of the demonstration units in the company lobby. It was quite an eye opening tour and Atlas Copco is an 11 billion dollar a year company with a strong interest in power density for hand held tools.

One of the most impressive aspects of the tour with Atlas-Copco was the on-site mine they had 20 meters below the headquarters. They had excellent displays set up for their various product lines. This was one of the more unusual tours because one could see the products and also see the result of some of them being used in the walls of the mine.

POETS Student Technical Conference: May 3, 2016

Immediately preceding the POETS site visit there was our first annual Student Technical Conference.  This was a single track technical conference that was organized completely by the POETS SLC.  The student conference committee did a great job organizing the conference and all the student presenters did a good job.

Overall, it was a considerable success and was even more impressive given that they students pulled it together on very short notice. The keynote speaker was Dr. Eckart Hoene from Fraunhofer IZM in Berlin shown in the previous figure. He gave his perspectives on the future of power electronics.

As part of the student activity, Caterpillar arranged for a tour to their testing and R&D facilities. This allowed for the students to get an idea of what mobile electrification looks like at very large scales. Caterpillar also did an excellent job of impressing upon the students the culture of safety that will be critical for POETS success.