Students at Calgary - The future of USAEE is bright

Mark B. Lively* (

I was struck by the strength of the student population within the USAEE/IAEE who participated in the Calgary conference.  Not only did I appreciate the work and enthusiasm of those recently former students whom I have known for the past few years as treasurer of the National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC) of USAEE but also of those students and recently former students whom I met at the Calgary 2010 conference.

NCAC has monthly lunches.  About five years ago we had an influx of students from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS.)  Jonathan McClelland had helped organize an energy club and got support from the school for the students to attend the lunches.  Jonathan has since obtained his degree and is now in New York City, where he organized a chapter of USAEE and will join USAEE Council in January as Vice President, Communications.

NCAC also sponsors students to attend USAEE conferences.  One of our recipients for San Francisco 2009 was Lucija Muehlenbachs, a PhD student at the University of Maryland.  She now works at Resources for the Future in DC.  I haven’t had the chance to talk much with Lucija at our meetings in DC, but got to know her during the breaks in Calgary.  Her enthusiasm makes me proud that NCAC sponsored her presentation to San Francisco 2009, where her paper won the Dennis J. O'Brien USAEE Best Student Paper Award.  Though I was unable to attend the session at which she presented a paper at Calgary 2010, I heard that she did an outstanding job.

I had minor interaction with the three students that NCAC sponsored for Calgary 2010, but they seemed to enjoy the conference and one presented a paper.

After bragging about the quality of the students associated with NCAC, I also have to brag about the wonderful work being done by the other students whom I met at Calgary 2010.  Warren Katzenstein, the current Student Representative to the USAEE Council did a wonderful job running a concurrent session, as well as presenting a paper during that session.  Eric Hittinger, the incoming Student Representative to the USAEE Council, did a great job presenting a paper in the same session.  Warren and Eric arranged for a dozen students to go out to dinner Saturday night after the conference ended.  I got swept up in the group.

During the dinner, one student got me to review some preliminary results of a statistical analysis she has performed on international electricity trading.  We had a great discussion of the introduction to her work, as well as the implications of her statistics.  Another student was carrying a paper that he planned to study on his way home.  Most of the discussion in which I participated was truly scholarly, as one would expect for an organization such as the USAEE.  I was so in awe by the accomplishments of the students that it is an effort to get beyond their achievements and talk about the rest of the conference.


* Utility Economic Engineer, and Treasurer of the National Capital Area Chapter of the USAEE.
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