Episode 5 – Katherine Rasley

In addition to being an electrical engineer, Katherine volunteers and leads a myriad of organizations supporting and promoting women in engineering. Katherine shares her educational experience in a project engineering collegiate program and the benefits and experiences she gained in the process and how she got involved in many of her volunteer programs.

Episode Notes

Music used in the podcast: Higher Up, Silverman Sound Studio

Acronyms and Definitions

Bottle Lamb – Some lambs become bottle lambs after the first few days of their life simply because their mothers are unable to produce enough milk, perhaps because she has given birth to two or more lambs, perhaps because half of her udder is non-productive.

SCADA and Control Engineer – Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) – develop, deploy and maintain SCADA systems and control processes.

Integrated Distribution Plan – A plan for the future of a distribution grid using inputs supplied by the electric utility, the commission and interested stakeholders. The planning process is integrated in the sense that all possible solutions to distribution system needs are considered. (www.raponline.org)

Energy Control Center – The decision-center for the electric transmission and generation interconnected system. The ECC provides the functions necessary for monitoring and coordinating the minute-by-minute physical and economic operation of the power system. In the continental U.S., there are only three interconnected regions: Eastern, Western, and Texas, but there are many balancing areas (also known as control areas), with each balancing area having its own ECC. (http://home.engineering.iastate.edu/)

Energy Management System – a system of computer-aided tools used by operators of electric utility grids to monitor, control, and optimize the performance of the generation or transmission system. (Wikipedia)

Relay Engineer – Plans layout and oversees maintenance of protection equipment of an electric power distribution system to minimize interruption to service and danger to lives and equipment from abnormalities, such as overload, no load, and short circuits: Studies drawings of power system and makes complex calculations to determine type, number, location, and correlation of protectors, such as relays, circuit breakers, fuses, and grounding devices. (https://dot-job-descriptions.careerplanner.com/PROTECTION-ENGINEER.cfm)

FERC – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

  • Regulation of wholesale sales of electricity and transmission of electricity in interstate commerce.
  • Oversight of mandatory reliability standards for the bulk power system.
  • Promotion of strong national energy infrastructure, including adequate transmission facilities.
  • Regulation of jurisdictional issuances of stock and debt securities, assumptions of obligations and liabilities, and mergers. 

NERC– North American Electric Reliability Corporation – a not-for-profit international regulatory authority whose mission is to assure the effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the grid. NERC develops and enforces Reliability Standards; annually assesses seasonal and long‐term reliability; monitors the bulk power system through system awareness; and educates, trains, and certifies industry personnel. NERC’s area of responsibility spans the continental United States, Canada, and the northern portion of Baja California, Mexico. NERC is the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) for North America, subject to oversight by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and governmental authorities in Canada. NERC’s jurisdiction includes users, owners, and operators of the bulk power system, which serves more than 400 million people. (www.nerc.com)

DNR – Department of Natural Resources

Iron Range – refers collectively or individually to a number of elongated iron-ore mining districts around Lake Superior in the United States and Canada. Despite the word “range”, the iron ranges are not mountain chains, but outcrops of Precambrian sedimentary formations containing high percentages of iron. (Wikipedia) In the case of this discussion it is an area from north central to north east Minnesota.

Iron Range Engineering – Iron Range Engineering is a project based 4 year degree program accredited through Minnesota State University, Mankato and located in Virginia, Minnesota. IRE is a unique collaboration between Mesabi Range College, Itasca Community College, and Minnesota State University, Mankato.  Students graduate with a B.S. in Engineering, with a focus area of their choice. Students transferring from other institutions can also enter Iron Range Engineering in their junior year, and begin applying engineering principles in our project based environment. (www.ire.minnstate.edu)

Breaker Operation – Used to interrupt current flow after a fault is detected. Unlike a fuse, which operates once and then must be replaced, a circuit breaker can be reset (either manually or automatically) to resume normal operation. (wikipedia)

Coop – Refers to a multi-work term agreement with one employer; traditionally with at least three work terms alternated with school terms, resulting in a five-year degree program for what would otherwise take four years. Co-ops are traditionally full-time, paid positions. (https://career.vt.edu/experience/ceip/ceip-internship-coop.html)

Iron Range Engineering Bell Program – The Bell Program is an upper division engineering program for students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree. The program is 2.5 years in duration. The first half-year is on-site at Iron Range Engineering in northeastern Minnesota where students will complete the Bell Academy. The following two years are spent working as co-ops at companies anywhere in the world. A co-op is much like an internship position in which students are paid to work for an extended period of time. (www.ire.minnstate.edu)

UMD – University of Minnesota Duluth

IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers  – the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. (www.IEEE.org)

Fluid Mechanics – the branch of physics concerned with the mechanics of fluids (liquids, gases, and plasmas) and the forces on them. (Wikipedia)

“The Cities” – A term commonly used for the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

ABET Accredited Program – Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology – Assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students. For example, an accredited engineering program must meet the quality standards set by the engineering profession.

Hydrology  – The branch of science concerned with the properties of the earth’s water, and especially its movement in relation to land.

Protective Relaying– a relay device designed to trip a circuit breaker when a fault is detected. (Wikipedia)

Fact Check

Project-based learning is an instructional method in which students learn a range of skills and subject matter in the process of creating their own projects. Sometimes, these projects are solutions to a real-world problem.

Joan C. Williams is an American feminist legal scholar whose work focuses on issues faced by women in the workplace. She currently serves as the Founding Director at the Center for WorkLife Law. Williams is also a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Hastings School Law.[1] Williams also contributes to the Harvard Business Reviewblog, the Huffington Post, and the Psychology Today blog.

This is a video series Ms. Willams did on gender bias. https://leanin.org/education/introduction-to-what-works-for-women-at-work

Ron Ulseth – Ron Ulseth, PhD PE  is the director of academics and research of Iron Range Engineering. He teaches thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, statics, dynamics and physics in IREs upper and lower division programs. Ulseth has been teaching engineering since 1989. He has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of North Dakota, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Central, and a Ph.D. in Project Based Learning from Aalborg University.

Famous people from Minnesota’s Iron Range – Bob Dylan, Judy Garland, Kevin McHale Roger Maris

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