St_Thomas Engineer 2023


Undergraduate Profile



NSF CAREER AWARD FOR MICROGRID RESEARCH Dr. Mahmoud Kabalan , assistant professor and the director of the St. Thomas Center for Microgrid Research, was recently awarded a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation that will help advance microgrid research and expand student opportunities. The $529,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award will support Kabalan’s work to increase the reliability, security and resiliency of the electric power grid via the use of microgrids. The CAREER award is one of the NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as

HOMETOWN: Forest Lake, Minnesota

MAJOR: Electrical engineering

WHAT ARE SOME WORDS YOU WOULD USE TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF? Curious. Thoughtful. Kindhearted. Determined. Honest. A bit impulsive. WHAT MADE YOU INTERESTED IN AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING DEGREE? I’ve always enjoyed math and science and liked the idea of applying theoretical knowledge to real-life problems. I chose electrical engineering because the world is increasingly implementing more electrical systems and connected devices. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT ENGINEERING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS? Hands down my favorite part of engineering at St. Thomas has been forming strong relationships with my professors. I’m constantly impressed by their depth of knowledge and am so grateful they make themselves so readily available to students. TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR SENIOR DESIGN PROJECT IN PERU. It was an amazing experience. We designed a solar- powered water pumping system to bring water to the farming community to drive stronger crop growth. A highlight was digging the well and installing the water pump we designed. It was so exciting to see water coming out of the tubing nearly 90 meters up the mountain!

academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. This is the first NSF CAREER Award for St. Thomas’ School of Engineering. “This award provides a strong foundation for me to grow as a teacher-scholar and empowers me to create a truly unique educational experience for my students,” Kabalan said. “The outcomes of this award will get us one step closer to a more resilient and reliable electric grid.” The Center for Microgrid Research at St. Thomas is one of just a handful of premier research and educational facilities of its kind in North America.

Kabalan’s research will bring transformative change to how microgrids are designed and operated by addressing the gap between theoretical studies and real-world applications. The broader impacts of the research include an improved method to design and operate microgrids, which would reduce implementation costs. By reducing costs, microgrids can be deployed faster in both developing and developed nations. This would quicken the electrification of historically marginalized communities and improve grid resiliency, robustness and sustainability.


Advanced Manufacturing Curriculum . The School of Engineering has received $300,000 to develop the Graduate Certificate in Advanced Manufacturing. The funding comes through Third Wave Systems, a Minneapolis-St. Paul company that is a global leader in machining optimization software, as part of a larger grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory. Sustainability Design and Sustainable Engineering. The School of Engineering has recently received grant funding for the development of graduate courses in sustainability, such as: Sustainable Design, Sustainable Energy Production, and Engineering Life Cycle Analysis.


It affirmed I have a heart for working in places where I can really get to know the people I’m working with and where there is a need to solve problems in unconventional ways. I learned I thrive in situations where I am stretched to try new things, and that there is beauty in the different ways other cultures carry out their lives. n

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