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Source: Noel Schulz, 785-532-4398,
Web site:
Photo available. Contact or 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by: Mary Rankin, 785-532-6715,

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010


MANHATTAN -- Noel Schulz, Paslay professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named director of the K-State Electrical Power Affiliates Program, which connects graduate and undergraduate student research projects directly to the needs of power affiliate members.

"As a nationally recognized expert in power systems engineering, Noel Schulz is more than qualified to head this unique program," said John English, dean of K-State's College of Engineering.

Currently Westar Energy, Burns and McDonnell, Nebraska Public Power District and Omaha Public Power District are directly involved in the guidance and advisory capacities of specific research projects of interest through their participation in the Electrical Power Affiliates Program. Their financial investments fund undergraduate stipends as well as undergraduate senior and graduate project sponsorships related to the research projects. The program also extends opportunities for internships and future employment opportunities in the power field.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge and exciting prospect of maintaining this direct relationship between regional power affiliate members and the brightest of our power engineering students," Schulz said. "More than 40 percent of our graduates in electrical engineering specialize in power, and a majority of these would also like to stay in the Midwest. Connections made through this program benefit students and the industry."

Now in its second year, the program was established under the directorship of Don Gruenbacher, associate professor and head of K-State's department of electrical and computer engineering. There are currently 10 ongoing research projects funded by the power affiliates.

"Don Gruenbacher established a firm foundation for this program with his exemplary leadership skills," English said. "We are certainly appreciative of those efforts as the program now transfers to the equally capable hands of Professor Schulz."

Schulz is a nationally recognized expert in power systems engineering, researching use of computers, including intelligent systems, to solve problems in power system design, operations and controls. Her research has been funded by a variety of agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the U.S. departments of Defense, Energy and Homeland Security.

In November 2009 she was elected to lead the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Power and Energy Society, a worldwide, nonprofit association of more than 24,000 individuals engaged in the electric power energy industry.

Schulz came to K-State in 2009 with her husband, K-State President Kirk Schulz, from Mississippi State University, where she held an endowed professorship as the Tennessee Valley Authority Professor in power systems engineering.

Her teaching interests include power systems, energy conversion, application of computer programs to power engineering, application of intelligent systems to engineering problems, fundamentals of electrical circuits, renewable and distributed generation and smart grid technologies.

Schulz has received a number of awards and belongs to the American Society for Engineering Education and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. She has a bachelor's and a master's in electrical engineering, both from Virginia Tech, and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota.