Graduate Member Spotlight
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Expected Graduation Date: 2020
Texas A&M University
This year, we are excited to have Cecilia Klauber serve as our Graduate Member Coordinator-Elect, where will she take part in leading our Societal GradSWE team and create new resources for graduate students across SWE. Cecilia (Ceci) has been a member of SWE since 2010, when she arrived at Baylor University. She held an officer position at Baylor during FY13. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she held various positions in the GradSWE group. In FY16, she was the SWE Liaison, connecting the grad and undergrad communities through monthly coffee chats about life as a grad student, and also took on the role of Social Chair for the GradSWE group. After serving in these positions, she moved on to hold the position of GradSWE Director, which is a recognised position on the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Section Officer Board. After serving as Director, she held the position of Secretary for GradSWE. Throughout her involvement at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ceci worked as a volunteer to help organize the weSTEM conference, which brings together graduate students from across the country, providing meaningful training sessions and networking for graduate women in STEM, developing the skills and inspiring the passion needed to succeed in both academia and industry. In addition to attending weSTEM conferences, Ceci has attended WE15, WE16 and WE17. Ceci is also very involved in the power and energy research community, having served as the Treasurer and Chair of the University of Illinois IEEE Power and Energy Society/Power Electronics Society/Industry Applications Society Joint Student Chapter as well as various roles on the planning committees for the student-run conferences the Power and Energy Conference at Illinois and the Texas Power and Energy Conference.
Ceci’s hard work, both in and out of the lab, has been recognized with numerous awards. She received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2015, which provides significant funding for her graduate education. She was also recognized with a Grainger Power Engineering Award in 2016 at the University of Illinois, as well as a Powell Fellowship in Electrical Power Engineering in 2018 at Texas A&M, which recognize academic achievement, research accomplishment, and commitment to the power and energy community. Additionally, Ceci was awarded 2nd Place in the Graduate Division of the SWE Collegiate Poster Competition at WE15.
Thesis Title: Computational methods for electric power grid monitoring and mitigation techniques during geomagnetic disturbances
Ceci studies how solar flares and space weather affect the power grid and how we can protect the grid during geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs). Massive bursts of magnetic energy from rare but powerful GMDs disrupt the earth’s magnetic field, producing geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) on transmission lines which can damage system components, trigger suboptimal grid operation, and even precipitate large-scale blackouts. Specifically, Ceci is working on developing monitoring methods that would give grid operators a real-time snapshot of how GICs are flowing through the system. She also studies computationally efficient means of generating mitigation schemes that could protect grid assets and maintain secure system operation when the earth is under the influence of space weather.
Ceci’s original goal was to become a professor, and spend as much time at school as possible! Since coming to graduate school, her interests have expanded to include working for a national lab or research institute, as well as going into energy policy. Ultimately, she hopes to be in a role where she can combine her technical abilities and interests with her desire to communicate and inspire a passion for science and engineering.
Outside of work, Ceci enjoys playing board games, going on road trips, and anything outdoors, from running to hiking! She also enjoys watching collegiate and professional football, where she roots for the Baylor Bears and Seattle Seahawks. She can often be found eating tacos and queso or doing hipster things like making her own kombucha and granola!
Fun Fact from Ceci: Ceci and some of her girlfriends from engineering started a fantasy football league in undergrad. It’s still going strong and she is the current champion!
Pictured: Ceci (left) and her homemade kombucha (right)!