Solving Problems, Providing Reliability, and Making a Difference – How One Electrical Engineering Student Plans to Do All These Things, and More
Growing up in the rural town of Fairmont, Minnesota, Tyler Fogelson, a 2023 Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) PES (Power & Energy Society) Scholarship Plus Initiative and John W. Estey award recipient, knew he wanted a career that would allow him to work on a variety of different projects and logically break down problems. After attending a class called “Tech,” he learned about and decided to pursue electrical engineering.
“The degree is based almost solely on logic,” Tyler explained. “That was the biggest push for me to become an engineer.”
A senior at South Dakota State University (SDSU), Tyler is looking forward to graduating in May and hopes to find a “forever” job in industry where he can dig in and do what he loves to do – solve problems. He also hopes to attain his PE (licensed professional engineer) in the next five years, to have either started or attained a master’s degree, and have continued to make a difference through mentorship – something from which he has benefitted from greatly.
“My volunteer work so far includes being the chair of the IEEE and the IEEE HKN [IEEE-Eta Kappa] student branch at SDSU and being the treasurer and vice president of administration for the SDSU Joint Engineering Council,” he said. “I’ve been part of the IEEE mentoring program since my freshman year, so I had a mentor my first two years and the last two years I’ve been a mentor to other students and have tried to be there when they needed me. Eventually, I’ll have my own interns and be able to allow people who are interested in power the opportunity to visit, for example, a power plant or hydro dam. The power industry needs to get more kids interested in stem.”
This is the third time Tyler has earned an IEEE/PES scholarship, which he counts among his “top achievements” thus far, he noted.
“Since getting my first PES scholarship two years ago, I have utilized the financial support to pursue internships and experiences within the power sector. I started interning for Missouri River Energy Services [MRES] the summer after I got my first PES scholarship and have continued working throughout the school year, in addition to attending a conference on long-duration energy storage mechanisms last year,” he said.
Getting to see his work in action through internship opportunities has been something that Tyler really enjoys.
“I got to check out four different generation resources at MRES – wind, two different types of combustion turbines, and a dam – have gotten involved in energy modeling, wrote different procedures, and done maintenance on the power plants themselves. Overall, it’s been awesome and exactly what I was hoping for,” he said. “In school you learn a lot of equations and math but in my internships, I’ve experienced firsthand how when you ask one question it leads to so many different things. I find it fascinating.”
Now that he has earned the IEEE/PES honor again, he looks forward to being able to attend the annual conference and experiencing the event for himself.
“It’s really awesome to be recognized for continuing to be involved with power,” he said. “My classmate was able to go to the conference last year and had an amazing time and I’ve heard some really great things about it. Now I get to go and see what it is like for myself.”
As he looks to the future, Tyler hopes to use his skills to help in rural areas similar to the town where he grew up. He is also excited about starting a new full-time position at MRES as a resource engineer in May.
“Just to be able to provide reliability so that people receive the services they need and deserve,” he said. “Microgrids are really coming into their own now. One of the things I’m working on is getting to design a local microgrid for a critical load and I’m seeing how as these technologies get more and more advanced, they will have the ability to power a whole town for short durations after storms and whatnot. These are the types of projects I hope to be able to contribute to in the future.”