ACEP Summer Internship Program

 

**Applications have closed for ACEP's 2023 Summer Internship Program.**

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How do I apply?

General internship requirements can be found on the homepage.

In your application, you will identify 1-3 projects (described below) that you are interested in matching. We will ask for a short paragraph covering the following:

  1.  Please explain what excites you about the project and/or mentor that you have indicated.

  2.  Please explain the ways in which you are qualified to perform the project tasks.

If you have questions regarding the specific projects or mentors, please reach out to Annalise Klein at asklein@alaska.edu. 

 

2023 Summary Project Descriptions

  1. Analyzing Electric Vehicle Performance in the North          
  2. Book Research
  3. Coastal Mapping
  4. Cook Inlet Tidal Mapping: Data aggregation and modeling
  5. Cordova Electric Cooperative Utility Intern
  6. Data Librarian
  7. Energy Storytelling
  8. Power Electronics Modeling, Control, and Simulation
  9. Railbelt Decarbonization and Energy Resources Project
  10. Arctic Energy Atlas
  11. The High Cost of Kotzebue Home Heating: Learning the story, telling the story
  12. Synthetic Power System Model Development
  13. Green Energy Project: Hands on technical measurements in mariculture
  14. Hydrokinetics and Field Work Introduction
  15. Solarize MatSu Community Solar Research 

1. Analyzing Electric Vehicle Performance in the North

Mentor: Michelle Wilber

Location: Anchorage (preferred, housing not provided) or Fairbanks

Momentum for electric vehicles (EVs) in Alaska has grown rapidly in recent years. The objective of this internship is to analyze recent data on electric vehicles in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and other communities and investigate how energy usage varies in different conditions. In this investigation, the intern will have the opportunity to create and pursue additional lines of inquiry including, but not limited to, grid impact, integration of charging with renewable energy, EV applications in rural Alaska, or research on electrification beyond passenger vehicles (to include buses, boats, planes, snow machines, etc). The student may also help design and implement a data collection and analysis plan for additional EV and charger data from new projects in the state.

The ideal candidate will possess basic or proficient programming skills, be able to inquisitively engage with patterns that emerge in the data, and draw on lived experience in Alaska to generate additional lines of inquiry. This internship is based in Anchorage, and a UAA student is preferred.

Tags: data analysis, python, electric vehicles, cold climate applications, inquiry design

Field of study: computer science, data science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering

 

2. Book Research

Mentor: Peter Asmus

Location: Fairbanks

This project seeks an intern with good research and writing skills to help develop a book under development for the University of Alaska Press under the theme of "Alaska's Energy Pioneers." The book will feature the first-person accounts of leaders in different Alaska communities to develop resilient and sustainable power systems under challenging conditions. The intern ideally would have some knowledge of Alaska history and basic energy concepts, and love doing online research. The book will be led by Peter Asmus, who has authored four previous books on energy topics and who has over three decades of experience in the energy space. The time-frame for the book is roughly one year, with the proposal currently underway, and the big push on writing and research commencing in January 2023.

Tags: research assistant, humanities, literature reviews, energy story

Field of study: communications, English, journalism, history, humanities, STEM

 

3. Coastal Mapping

Mentor: Erin Trochim

Location: Fairbanks

This project will focus on understanding coastal environments across the state. In Alaska, there are many opportunities for marine energy, including offshore wind, wave, riverine, and tidal. We need better characterizations of the coastal and ocean environments to understand where and when this technology is viable. This includes gathering and processing information on bathymetry and habitat characterization. You will learn to process a variety of coastal remote sensing data, including satellite imagery and Lidar, using cloud-based approaches. Students will also have an opportunity to do fieldwork by collecting their own geospatial data using UAS and understand other hydrokinetic applications. 

The ideal candidate will be a UAF student who has an interest in geospatial data and its applications and is open to learning new skills to work long term on an exciting project. Appreciation of detail and good visualizations is helpful, we’ll provide the training specific to coastal data. Experience with GIS and/or python programming is a plus. This project is open to students without prior research experience and will provide an opportunity to learn about data collection, processing and analysis from ground to landscape applications. For UAF students, there are opportunities to continue working on this project during the academic year and future summers.

Learn more about previous interns on this project here. 

Tags: geospatial data, GIS, coastal, hydrokinetics, data analysis

Field of study: computer science, data science, mechanical engineering, natural sciences, marine biology

 

4. Cook Inlet Tidal Mapping: Data aggregation and modeling

Mentor: Ben Loeffler

Location: Fairbanks

The Cook Inlet contains the majority of the US's tidal energy potential and is adjacent to the Alaska railbelt electrical grid.  The railbelt is reliant on declining natural gas production in Cook Inlet to provide electricity and space heating to residents.  Hilcorp Alaska owns and operates 15 oil and gas platforms in Cook Inlet and is publicly making them available for tidal energy research and development and potentially as hubs for future commercial harvesting of the tidal energy resource.  The intern on this project will work with subject matter experts at ACEP and National Labs to investigate existing datasets collected by Hilcorp in the course of their oil and gas operations, including bathymetry, ADCP, salinity, turbidity, and environmental data.  These data will be used to evaluate the potential of hydrokinetic technology deployment and to identify data gaps that need further study.  

The ideal candidate will have a science or engineering background with sound organizational skills and the ability to perform basic data analysis and visualization in Excel, Python, and/or Matlab.

Tags:  

Field of study

 

5. Cordova Electric Cooperative Utility Intern

Mentor: Clay Koplin, CEO of Cordova Electric Cooperative

Location: Cordova (housing provided)

This is an on-site utility internship in partnership with Cordova Electric Cooperative. The intern will work in Cordova for the duration of the summer at CEC. This project will not have a research or Fairbanks intern cohort component. 

The intern will assist the staff engineer in field verification of system as-builds and one-line diagram, map new advanced metering network to GIS system and link to front-end software to build an enterprise system database and management system for outage management, meter data management, and customer service platforms. Work will include field verification and documentation of system components, geospatial location of equipment and plants, and system modeling and engineering study support.

Tags: utility, advanced metering, field work, Cordova

Field of study: electrical or mechanical engineering

 

6. Data Librarian

Mentor: Vanessa Raymond

Location: Fairbanks

This project will bring a data librarian intern into the ACEP Internship program to provide data management and data archiving services for other intern projects. 

The ideal candidate will be interested in learning and practicing best approaches to scientific data management and data governance for a dynamic research institute with a large diversity of data needs. The intern will be most successful when providing data management and archiving guidance to peers in a supportive and service-oriented way. They will be curious about research, technology, and information management. 

Tags:  data librarian, data management, data governance, the scientific data lifecycle, documentation, reproducible science, FAIR data, CARE data, OCAP data, Indigenous data sovereignty

Field of study: data management, information management 

 

7. Energy Storytelling

Mentor: Amanda Byrd

Location: Fairbanks

This project will embed a videographer, photographer or writer with field work happening in Kotzebue, Fairbanks and Tanana. The intern will eek out stories from field work being conducted and the benefit to the communities the teams are working with.

The ideal candidate will have skills in creating video, photo, and written stories, and create at least two polished stories during the summer.  The intern will have mentorship from the chief and the assistant storytellers in collecting, editing, and finalizing the stories. 

The ideal candidate will be a junior or senior level student in the film or journalism fields, love people, and be curious about life in the North, energy, power, and learning more.

Tags: storytelling, STEAM, videography, journalism, humanities, communications

Field of study: communications, English, journalism, humanities, STEM

 

8. Power Electronics Modeling, Control, and Simulation

Mentor: Mariko Shirazi

Location: Fairbanks

This project is focusing on modeling and control of inverters operating within a small isolated power system, and specifically developing and validating inverter controllers using controller hardware in the loop (CHIL). The effort will leverage an existing Matlab/Simulink model developed for the Opal-RT real time simulator, and an existing CHIL platform based on National Instruments sbRIO controllers.  The student will develop controls in Matlab/Simulink for pure real-time simulation, in LabVIEW for implementation on an NI sbRIO, or in C/C++ for implementation on a Texas Instruments DSP. This work will require proficiency in Matlab/Simulink SimPowerSystems and either LabVIEW FPGA or DSP programming experience.  Depending on experience, there may be opportunities for laboratory testing.

The ideal candidate should be studying electrical engineering with a focus on power electronics or power systems and should have strong working knowledge of inverter topologies and controls and/or expertise with one of the two control platforms listed above and/or experience with the Opal-RT real time simulator platform. It is imperative that the intern on this project is a motivated self-starter and can independently make progress on a project.

Tags: power electronics, modeling, simulation, controls, power systems

Field of study: electrical engineering

 

9. Railbelt Decarbonization and Energy Resources Project 

Mentor: Phylicia Cicilio

Location: Fairbanks

Become an expert on Alaska’s Railbelt electrical grid and energy resources! Interns will choose an energy technology (i.e. solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, hydro, heat pumps, electric vehicles, etc.) to perform extensive technology and availability research on to gain a greater understanding on how that technology may 1) be developed for use in the Railbelt, 2) be modeled and simulated in power system simulation software, and 3) have other non-electrical implications and consequences (such as land-use, human health, etc.). This project will contribute to ACEP’s Railbelt decarbonization projects.

The ideal candidate will be a motivated sophomore or junior with an interest in energy modeling, studying engineering, mathematics, computer science, or physics, and have taken a basic circuits course.

Learn more about previous interns on this project here.

Tags: energy modeling, grid services, power systems, renewable energy, decarbonization

Field of study: electrical engineering, engineering, mathematics, physics, computer science

 

10. Arctic Energy Atlas

Mentor: Erin Trochim

Location: Fairbanks

The Arctic Energy Atlas characterizes energy availability across the North. Currently, it provides information on transmission networks, roads, rivers, coastlines and power availability. The focus of the internship will be work on estimating future grid connectivity. The intern will learn to use cloud-based geospatial processing and develop visualizations. There is the opportunity to focus on either the policy or economic implications of this work.

The ideal candidate is studying computer science, data science, or a related field with strong computational skills. Having some python programming experience is a plus. This project will strengthen data analysis, visualization and synthesis skills. Those with an interest in learning new techniques and developing energy information for policy-related applications would be a good fit.

Learn more about previous interns on this project here.

Tags: data analysis, data visualization, Arctic policy, computer science, programming, electrical engineering

Field of study: computer science, data science, political science

 

11. The High Cost of Kotzebue Home Heating: Learning the story, telling the story

Mentor: Mark Masteller

Location: Fairbanks

This is an exciting opportunity for an undergraduate student excited about energy use in rural Alaska, building science, and energy education. As part of ACEP’s Diesel-Free Heating study through the NSF Navigating the New Arctic program, the intern will learn the basic inputs of AKWarm, the energy audit software used in Alaska, attend Arctic Lecture Series and growth mindset in research training, and shadow staff installing fuel flow and other home energy-monitoring devices. The intern will work with Teaching through Technology (T3) to develop energy education materials that can be used for middle and high school students interested in exploring building science and energy literacy. The intern will travel to Kotzebue, Alaska, to shadow and assist a professional energy auditor with energy audits on sixteen local residences.

The ideal candidate has a curiosity and passion for improving heat efficiency in Arctic homes and studying engineering, rural development, or related field. They should be interested in learning how to effectively convey project information by distilling the project’s methods and results into curricula appropriate for middle and high school students. Lived experience in an Alaskan community off the road system is a plus. This project will strengthen skills in inquiry, energy audit process, and community engagement.

This internship is in the NSF REU strand and is ideal for a student who is eager, hardworking, and might not have prior research experience.  

Tags: building science, energy education, community engagement, energy audits, rural Alaska, field work 

Field of study: engineering, rural development, science education

 

12. Synthetic Power System Model Development

Mentor: Phylicia Cicilio

Location: Fairbanks

The goal of this project is to develop a fictional but realistic electrical grid model of a remote Alaskan community based on real and publicly available information. The work will include data collection of publicly available electrical grid information of remote Alaskan microgrids and performing statistics on that data to develop metrics that quantify key characteristics of these systems. There will be opportunity to learn power system modeling software to develop a synthetic microgrid model based on the developed metrics that will be overlaid on a geographical area of a community with location specific resource availability (such as from wind and solar generation).

The ideal candidate will be an undergraduate computer science or STEM major who is eager for a first opportunity in research. The interns on this project will be a part of a larger cohort of students with various skills who are working on this project. 

This internship is in the NSF REU strand and is ideal for a student who is eager, hardworking, and might not have prior research experience.  

Tags: data collection, data analysis, power systems modeling, microgrids

Field of study: electrical engineering, engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics

 

13. Green Energy Project: Hands on technical measurements in mariculture

Mentor: Chandler Kemp 

Location: Fairbanks

The green energy project aims to realign the industry at a critical time so that as it grows without developing a dependence on fossil fuels. Summer 2023 will be the first opportunity to build our empirical understanding of how the industry uses energy by measuring energy demands. The intern will be trained to install data logging devices that measure site energy use, then travel to various locations in Alaska to build relationships with local mariculture practitioners and install data logging devices. The intern will be responsible for overseeing data collection from the logging devices and compiling it into a final report. The report will describe preliminary findings, identify opportunities for improvement in the measurement process and suggest key components of a standardized mariculture energy audit process.

The intern will work with project partners to connect with mariculture practitioners that want to participate in the project. Installation of the data loggers will require the intern to investigate power systems including engines, batteries, electronics and hydraulics and determine how energy is transferred between system components. Once that understanding is established, the intern will determine the best location to install data loggers to record the loads of interest. Data loggers may be electric meters that must be clamped around conductors, pressure sensors that are installed in hydraulic lines or flow sensors installed in fuel lines. The data will be extracted to comma separated variable files and processed using the Python programming language. The final report will be written in an iterative process with the supervisor and student team to support future work in the green energy project.

With a $49 million investment from the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better program, the Alaska Mariculture industry is poised to grow from a few dozen sites to a $100 million economic driver in rural communities within a decade. Specifically, the mariculture industry relies on vessels to transport workers and harvests to and from shore, hoists and pumps to run mariculture sites and processing facilities to transform seaweed and shellfish into sellable products. Without intervention, the industry is likely to invest in vessels powered with diesel engines, mariculture sites relying on generators for electricity and fuel oil heating systems for shoreside facilities. The green energy project aims to create a plan that will allow the industry to invest in battery or hydrogen powered vessels, renewable resources for on site electricity and zero emission heating for shoreside facilities. Through a holistic approach addressing workforce needs, culture implications, technical challenges and infrastructure requirements the green energy project will bump mariculture onto a sustainable energy path.

The ideal candidate will be eager to learn about energy transitions in marine industries and excited to travel to rural communities in southern Alaska. Experience working in mariculture, commercial fishing or other experience on working vessels will be helpful. The ideal candidate will also be competent in mechanical work, data analysis, technical writing and communicating with marine industry workers.

Tags: energy transitions, mariculture, data collection, community engagement, equipment installation, field work, southern Alaska

Field of study: engineering, rural development, fisheries, STEM

 

14. Hydrokinetics and Field Work Introduction

Mentor: Stephanie Fisher

Location: Fairbanks

This internship is the ideal opportunity to learn the basics of hydrokinetic field work including mobilization, operations, and demobilization of the Tanana River Test Site (TRTS), Coastal Mapping, Backyard Buoys, Terrain Interactions, among other projects. The intern can expect to learn boat driving, basic mechanical applications, planning, prepping, and executing remote fieldwork. This position also includes learning how to program and deploy numerous oceanographic instruments (ADCPs, ADVs, CTDs), and data collection systems (Campbell data loggers). Drone work and Trimble survey equipment will also be utilized at different times throughout the summer. Intern will work out of UAF’s Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC) lab/shop on the UAF Campus and can expect lots of hands-on work.

The Tanana River Test Site has been operated by UAF for over a decade and the Mentor has worked at this site for the last seven. This summer, Test Site activities include 5kW turbine testing and two weeks of real world testing with BladeRunner Energy. When no testing is happening at the TRTS the intern will work with the mentor on the other projects, Backyard buoys will include wave buoy mooring design and build, Coastal mapping will include drone and sonar work, Terrain interactions will include drone, ADCP and Sonar mapping. 

The ideal candidate is studying mechanical engineering, hydrokinetics, or oceanography and be ready to spend their summer outdoors on the river. Intern should have a growth mindset and desire to learn the ins and outs of fieldwork. 

Tags: field work, hydrokinetics, data collection, drone work, surveying

Field of study: Mechanical engineering, oceanography, hydrokinetics

 

15. Solarize MatSu Community Solar Research

Mentor: Christopher Pike

Location: Fairbanks

In this project, the Solarize intern will join a collaborative work environment with opportunities to support existing Solarize tasks, and lead on specific Solarize tasks in areas of professional interest and skill. The summer will begin with desk-based data analysis for the first half of the summer and some field work including weekly maintenance at ACEP’s on-campus solar test site and the opportunity to work on a redesign of the test site.  

Solarize MatSu is a joint effort between the Alaska Center and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) at the University of Alaska to make residential and small commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems more accessible and affordable for homeowners and commercial property owners in the Southcentral Alaska. Solarize MatSu brings neighbors together to purchase solar panels as a group to receive discounted rates on panels and installation. It will provide home and business owners less expensive panels by pairing group discount rates with available state and federal incentives. The Solarize program has been widely used in the lower 48. It allows neighbors in specific geographic areas to organize for the collective purchase of solar installation. 

The ideal candidate brings curiosity and a growth orientation, exceptional verbal and written communication, and a desire to work on clean energy adoption in Alaska. A UAF student interested in an ongoing employment opportunity maintaining the on-campus solar test site is a plus. Duties would include conducting project surveys, managing energy efficiency components, conducting site visits on solar PV installations, and developing marketing/outreach materials. 

Learn more about previous interns on this project here.

Tags: solar, community engagement, data analysis, clean energy adoption, solar site maintenance, UAF

Field of study: engineering, data science, computer science