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Talented musician, engineer wins trip around the world

January 24, 2011

An electrical engineering junior who also is a nationally recognized jazz trumpeter will put his music aside next summer to take an around-the-world study trip, having won a scholarship from the Circumnavigators Club Foundation.

Steven Limpert will use the award to study the development and commercialization of solar energy technologies in six countries across the globe, looking at how solar energy businesses and research institutions respond to changes in government policies.

The $9,000 grant is given to only four students in the country each year. Limpert plans to travel for 12 weeks, visiting a wide range of commercial application sites and research institutions in Australia, Japan, Bangladesh, India, Germany and Spain.

He’ll put on hold his performing career, having performed as a studio musician and as a member of jazz ensembles throughout the Valley since arriving at ASU as a freshman in 2006.  He plans to take his trumpet with him, however, hoping to visit jam sessions in some of the cities he’ll visit.

Limpert won awards from the National Trumpet Competition and The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts while still in high school. He has participated in jazz studies coursework in the ASU Herberger Institute while maintaining a 4.0 GPA in the Ira A Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Limpert began working last summer with Professors Stephen Goodnick and Stuart Bowden at the ASU Solar Power Lab, and he has continued to work in the lab through the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative.

“If only a tiny fraction of solar radiation were converted into useable energy, the world’s current electricity demands would be met,” says Limpert. “The fact that solar powered electricity is highly desirable but comparatively expensive has put government policymakers in a difficult position. There is no precedent for the industry’s responses to recent subsidy cutbacks and policy changes.

“I’m convinced that working in the field of solar energy is both a viable personal pursuit and a worthwhile societal contribution. I am very excited about the prospect of studying the solar energy technology industry throughout the world.”

Look for Limpert to start performing again as soon as he returns to Arizona next fall. This year he won a Student Music Award from DownBeat magazine in the blues/pop/rock soloist category. He has released a CD which is available on iTunes, haploid 23, and has a thriving music services company.

He also is in Barrett, the Honors College, and is president of Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical and computer engineering honor society.