Spotlight on CO-OP

Senior BSEE student Aaron Curley has just finished his third degree-required co-op in Transmission System Operations at LG&E-KU’s Simpsonville facility. He reflected on some of his experiences for us:

ECE: “How did your ECE classes prepare you for your co-op?”
Curley: “The ECE classes provided me with some knowledge, but there was still a steep learning curve for my first and second rotations. I made sure on my first co-op to try and apply any relatable information back to what I learned in the classroom. Before my third rotation I took the Power Systems Analysis class. The class shows the math behind how the energy field works. Although my co-op was not directly related to what I was learning it improved my knowledge about the field.”

ECE: “Your employer paid you the compliment of saying you are ‘quick to learn and [enjoyed] applying new knowledge.’ Can you give us an example of an application of new knowledge on a project that was particularly gratifying?”
Curley: “For one of my projects, I was tasked with verifying the topology for a neighboring entity on our mapboard. The main goal was to verify the devices and to make sure we were receiving telemetry for those devices. I recently learned about a tool in our SCADA system that provided me a list of all devices our system accounted for. I used the database to filter only that neighboring entity, which gave me a list of devices from the neighboring entity that we were receiving telemetry from. I then compared the list with the stations on our mapboard to find the inconsistencies. The project would have taken a lot more time if I had verified each device one-by-one. The most gratifying part was finding a solution that would save time.”

ECE: “What was the most rewarding part of your co-op experience?”
Curley: “The most rewarding part of co-op was being able to positively impact the company I worked for. Being able to contribute to my team gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. With the steep learning curve, I experienced in my first and second rotation, it felt very rewarding to see how much I had learned when I was completing my projects on my third rotation.”

ECE: “Do you plan to pursue a career in the energy field when you graduate?”
Curley: “I do plan to pursue a career in the energy field. I do not know where that will be yet, but the energy industry is very broad. I find the transition to sustainable energy and sustainable practices particularly interesting, so I am going to look more into that.”