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Three ASU students receive prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Three ASU students receive the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.
ASU students awarded three-quarters of Arizona's Goldwater Scholarships.
April 5, 2016

The scholars — students in Barrett, the Honors College — all credit ASU’s extensive research opportunities for undergraduates

Three students from Arizona State University have been named Goldwater Scholars, a prestigious national scholarship awarded to students across the nation who are doing research in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Barrett Anderies, Christopher Balzer and Kaleigh Johnson, all juniors at Barrett, the Honors College, have been awarded this scholarship out of only four chosen from the state of Arizona.

Each university can only nominate four students per year, and fewer students overall were awarded scholarships than in many years prior.

“Beyond high academic achievement, the other main criterion for Goldwater Scholars is a demonstrated potential as a scientific researcher,” said Kyle Mox, associate dean at Barrett, the Honors College, and director of the Office of National Scholarships Advisement.

“Our students could not demonstrate this potential without the range of opportunities that ASU provides, particularly for talented and ambitious students to engage in significant undergraduate research under the supervision of world-class faculty members.”

Over the past decade, ASU has become one of the nation’s leading producers of Goldwater Scholars, with 27, outperforming Stanford, Princeton, Harvard and Yale. The latest honorees all credit ASU’s extensive research opportunities for undergraduates and their experiences at Barrett as critical to their success.

“The academic atmosphere of living and working at Barrett, the Honors College, elevated my performance in my classes and led me to get involved in research in the first few weeks of my freshman year,” said Balzer, a chemical engineering major. “Having other researchers pouring time and experience into my life gives me insight that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”

ASU offers a unique experience for many undergraduates, focusing on use-inspired research and transdisciplinary solutions.

“My involvement in this engineering academic program led me to explore sustainability from many different angles, including entrepreneurship, community service, interdisciplinary course work, global studies and research,” said Johnson, a chemical engineering major.

Anderies, a double major in biomedical engineering and mathematics, offered a similar sentiment, reflecting on the breadth of options for undergraduate research that allows students to experiment and tailor their academic experience.

“I had access to a huge number of research opportunities in both mathematics and engineering. These opportunities allowed me to extensively explore and develop my interests,” he said. “I am especially appreciative of the numerous funding opportunities available to undergraduates interested in conducting research.”

“Having other researchers pouring time and experience into my life gives me insight that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”
— ASU honors student and new Goldwater Scholar Christopher Balzer

Mox said winners of this scholarship often go on to win subsequent awards and grants, like the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship or Rhodes, Marshall or Churchill scholarships. The Office of National Scholarship Advisement will be there to help when these and other outstanding ASU students apply for those scholarships, too.

“The Office of National Scholarship Advisement has been an invaluable resource for helping students like myself tailor our applications, and it is a resource I intend to take advantage of again in the future,” said Anderies.

Each of the students thanked their scholarship advisers, as well as the faculty who supervised their research.

“They are the people behind the scenes who make all of these great opportunities possible for students like me,” said Balzer. “I’m beyond grateful for their help."

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ASU’s energy-systems expertise and Decision Theater will help shape Mexico’s power grid

ASU partners to help Mexico modernize its energy grid.
April 6, 2016

3-year project will explore interconnections with the U.S., the use of micro-grids, and ways to bring renewable energy into grid

Arizona State University’s leadership in energy systems is stretching beyond the border into Mexico. ASU was recently named a participant in a new grant that will help Mexico modernize its energy grid as well as make it more connected to the U.S.

The three-year, $26 million grant awarded to the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Tec de Monterrey) by Mexico’s National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) and its Secretary of Energy, is designed to address the energy economy in Mexico. It will help build infrastructure, perform research and conduct educational activities, preparing Mexico for its energy future.

The grant was announced as part of the launching of the Binational Laboratory for Intelligent Management of Energy Sustainability and Technology Education at Tec de Monterrey’s Mexico City campus on April 6.

Mexico is in the midst of privatizing and updating its energy industry — fossil fuel and electrical generation industries — at a time when it is moving toward using more renewables. The grant will help the country explore its energy options and how it can connect with its neighbors.

ASU is receiving $1.5 million of the grant and will provide energy economic modeling expertise via the Decision Theater. In addition, ASU will apply its renowned expertise in power engineering to the project. The University of California, Berkeley is also involved in the project.

ASU’s power engineering group will help Mexican authorities look into updating its power grid to include interconnections between it and the U.S., explore the use of micro-grids, look for energy efficiencies and bring renewable-energy sources into the grid, said Stephen Goodnick, who will lead the ASU involvement in the project. Goodnick is a professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, deputy director of ASU LightWorks and a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

“These are the areas our power systems engineering people, who lead one of the top power systems research consortiums in the country, excel.”
— ASU professor Stephen Goodnick

Goodnick said the research portion of the project will focus on current issues with the energy infrastructure in Mexico.

“There is research being done collaboratively with ASU in cross-border transmission,” he said. “Right now, there are very few interconnections between the U.S. and Mexico, so the project will look at what the issues and technical problems are associated with cross-border transmission.”

Goodnick said another part of the project will be looking into the integration of renewable-energy technologies, such as solar and wind, into the grid system. Renewable-energy sources are variable energy sources that cannot be dispatched like fossil-fuel-based sources, so the renewable systems need energy storage capacity to provide a steady amount of power on demand.

The project also will look into development of micro-grids, which can be deployed in remote areas of the country where there presently isn’t transmission infrastructure.

“These are the areas our power systems engineering people, who lead one of the top power systems research consortiums in the country, excel,” Goodnick said of the Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSERC), which is led by Vijay Vittal, the Ira A. Fulton chair of Electrical Engineering.

He added the project will bring a cohort of PhD students from Tec de Monterrey to ASU to work on the research projects in coordination with professors in the U.S. and Mexico.

Goodnick added the project will take advantage of a Decision Theater that has been built at Tec de Monterrey’s Mexico City campus and will draw on ASU expertise in energy markets modeling to help assess the costs of various energy scenarios.

Mexico’s Decision Theater will display models on the impact of various energy investments on socio-economic variables such as GDP, job creation and tax revenue. Stakeholders can then readily use the tools to better understand the implications for their decisions and collaborate toward a common future. Plans are to build additional Decision Theaters in Mexico as part of the project.

“Decision Theater will help develop scenarios on Mexico’s future like should they add more renewables, more nuclear, more natural-gas plants,” Goodnick said. “This is very important for Mexico because they have a lot of decisions they need to make in the short term.”

Director , Media Relations and Strategic Communications