This week, we are featuring Energy Systems alum Oscar Azofeifa. After graduating in May, Oscar took a job as a postgraduate researcher with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Grainger Center for Electric Machinery and Electromechanics. Under the supervision of Professors Pete Sauer and Alejandro Dominguez-Garcia, he works with a laboratory for distributed control of emulated AC microgrids. Different distributed approaches are being tested so microgrids can provide ancillary services to the bulk power grid. When asked how his Energy Systems degree helps him in his current position, he shared, “It provided me of knowledge necessary to understand the dynamics of power systems and the more complex analysis of them, once more distributed energy resources are integrated. It also provided me [with] a broader understanding of electrical energy markets – where technological, economic and social variables are considered in order to meet environmental and technical standards.”
Oscar pursued a professional Master of Engineering in Energy Systems (Energy Systems M.Eng.) in order to develop technical expertise in Energy Systems and to gain the tools necessary to thrive in professional environments. Illinois became his top choice because of its reputation and because the Energy Systems M.Eng. is such a unique, multidisciplinary program. He feels the professional Master of Engineering in Energy Systems will serve him well as he builds his career, “We need to be able to speak to different crowds and get to solutions that optimize different parameters that go beyond technical feasibility. Especially in the energy field, where so many actors are involved and where different groups have different interests.” To develop that skill, he advises current students to get out of their “comfort zone and get involved in projects that integrate people from different backgrounds.” He goes on to encourage people from different backgrounds to “build professional paths that integrate different areas of knowledge – and to also create strong and diverse networks. This will be crucial in the coming years as humanity will face big challenges in terms of social justice and climate change.”
Oscar followed his own advice during his time in the program. His outgoing nature shone through to faculty, staff, and classmates. Energy Systems Coordinator Amy McCullough describes what an asset Oscar is to the program, “Not only is Oscar extraordinarily talented and hardworking, he is dedicated and passionate about his work in energy. Oscar has always been actively involved in the program, and always happy to help when I have asked current students to share their program experience with future students. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with him, and the M.Eng. in Energy Systems is extremely proud to have Oscar representing our program as an alumnus.”
Though he is very early in his career, it is clear that Oscar is an alumnus to watch.