WPI Celebrates National Grid Engineering Ambassador Program

Undergraduate engineering students speak about Smart Grid pilot
April 24, 2013

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and National Grid celebrated the National Grid Engineering Ambassador program, a new partnership aimed at teaching engineering students how to communicate technical information and engage people in the excitement of engineering.

WPI President Dennis Berkey announced the program during the National Grid Engineering Ambassador Celebration Dinner on April 18 in WPI’s new Sports and Recreation Center, with additional remarks by Stephen P. Flavin, vice president and dean of academic and corporate development, Lynn McElholm, program manager of WPI's corporate leadership programs, and Marie Jordan, National Grid senior vice president of network strategy.

The National Grid Engineering Ambassador Program is a leadership development program sponsored by National Grid and run by WPI. Through the program, undergraduate engineering students complete a specially designed leadership and communications workshop and present to groups of middle and high school students in a variety of formats, focusing on the power industry and smart grid applications.

"WPI is thrilled to be expanding our partnership with National Grid to include the Engineering Ambassador Program," said McElholm. "We have a terrific group of six sophomore students who present to local middle school groups to promote the exciting possibilities around engineering. At the same time, the WPI students are spreading the word about National Grid’s pilot program and how it benefits customers in the Worcester area."

National Grid’s Smart Grid pilot (now known as the Smart Energy Solutions Program) in Worcester will offer 15,000 participating customers greater choice in how they use energy, as well as new technologies that will increase electric system reliability. The pilot, slated for launch next year, calls for installation of advanced metering systems that provide the latest in technology and security. Under the pilot, the company will also test full integration of renewable resources and electric vehicle charging stations and connecting energy storage to existing renewable projects across the city.

"We are dedicated to our customers and communities, which is why we teamed up with WPI to create an enriching program that benefits students and customers alike," said National Grid's Marie Jordan. "Participating students will work directly with us to deliver a Smart Energy Solutions Program that brings tangible benefits for customers. We are delighted to have these talented engineering students on board."

The goals of the Engineering Ambassadors Program are to connect with audiences in creative ways and inspire them to see the opportunities in the engineering field and to raise the visibility of engineering as a discipline and as a career option. The six new National Grid Ambassadors will join an established group of WPI Engineering Ambassadors, some of whom are sponsored by United Technologies Corporation. The National Grid Engineering Ambassadors have already begun presentations to local middle school groups, having recently visited Forest Grove Middle School to present on topics related to the power industry. On April 18, they visited National Grid's training facility in Millbury to learn more about the Smart Energy Solutions Program and the company’s customer focus strategy.