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.