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K-State Today

September 16, 2013

University hosts international symposium focused on electric power and energy systems

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Kansas State University will welcome faculty, students and engineers from around the world when they gather in Manhattan next week for the 45th annual North American Power Symposium.

The university is hosting the power symposium from Sunday, Sept. 22, to Tuesday, Sept. 24 at the Manhattan Convention Center at the Hilton Garden Inn, 410 S. 3rd St. It is the university's third time to host the event. More than 200 people have registered for the symposium, including nearly 130 students.

"The symposium is the premier event in the U.S. for faculty and graduate students engaged in research in electric power and energy systems," said Anil Pahwa, professor of electrical and computer engineering and general chair of the symposium. "Kansas State University has a strong program in power systems and hosting it is an exciting opportunity to showcase our program and the university to students and senior researchers from academia and industry."

As a third-time host, Kansas State University joins Iowa State University and Missouri University of Science and Technology, which are the only two other universities nationwide to host the symposium three times. This year's event marks Pahwa's second time to chair the symposium — he also co-chaired the symposium in 1994 with Medhat M. Morcos, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The event is a student-centered conference where student participation both as authors and presenters is encouraged. The majority of the students who attend the conference are from the U.S. or Canadian universities, Pahwa said, but the conference gradually is attracting more students from countries around the world. The symposium has always been held in the U.S. or Canada and has been hosted by a university.

"The conference format is designed to promote interaction between established leaders from academia and industry with a wide range of expertise in energy and power systems, postdoctoral scientists and graduate students to contribute and advance the state of the art towards a safer and more reliable electric power grid," Pahwa said.

The conference includes both social events and technical events. Social events include a tour of the Konza Prairie Biological Station, a Sunday evening reception and pizza party, and a Monday evening reception and banquet at the Flint Hills Discovery Center.

The technical part of the conference begins Monday morning and includes speakers, presentations of about 150 technical papers and networking opportunities. The conference closes on Tuesday with lunch and a closing ceremony, which will feature a presentation of awards for winning student papers.

Conference speakers include Jim Sherow, professor of history at Kansas State University and former mayor of Manhattan; Doug Sterbenz, chief operating officer of Westar Energy; and Mike Beehler, vice president of T&D Services at Burns & McDonnell.

Other symposium organizers include: technical program chairs Morcos and Behrooz Mirafzal, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; student program chairs Shelli Starrett, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Ruth Douglas Miller, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; corporate relations chair Noel Schulz, associate dean for research and graduate programs; symposium coordinator Kelli Park Fuhrmann, program coordinator for the Division of Continuing Education; and webmaster Ian Douglas Miller, a senior in high school.

Financial support for the conference comes from the College of Engineering, the department of electrical and computer engineering, the office
 of vice president for research, the National Science Foundation and the IEEE Power and Energy Society. The Electric Power Affiliates Program — which is supported
 by Westar Energy, Burns & McDonnell, Omaha Public Power District, Kansas City Power & Light, Sega Inc. and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories — provided additional support.

For more information about the conference and a schedule of events, go to http://naps2013.org/.