In 2021, Assistant Professor Hector Pulgar received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award for his proposal, “Towards enhanced grid robustness: Augmenting grid regulating capabilities through discrete controls on emerging power technologies.”
The award provides $500,000 over a five-year period for Pulgar to transform the dynamic robustness of the power grid against disturbances by expanding the limited capabilities of emerging power technologies through the design of discrete control logics. Emerging technologies such as solar power, energy storage systems and wind turbines are considered.
More than $392,000 of the total has been awarded to date.
Additionally, Pulgar has elaborated an integrated educational component that leverages the research through specific projects for undergraduate and pre-college students and through mentoring programs for Hispanic Americans to support their pursuit for professional or academic careers.
These mentoring programs focus on Hispanic American students both at the University of Tennessee and Lenoir City High School. Since receiving the award, Pulgar has led two educational programs for Hispanic students at Lenoir City High School.
“We want to bring them hope,” Pulgar said, “we want to encourage them, to show them they are capable to reach their dreams, to show them that there is a path that leads to higher education or professional development. We want to create this ambiance in which the students feel free to ask questions or seek guidance, and we want to be there for the students.”
Lenore Currence, English Language Learners teacher at Lenoir City High School, said of the program, “I think this is a great opportunity for the students to see what engineering is and how fun it is.”
Assistant Principal Mark Weeks said to Pulgar, “Thank you for coming and doing this for our kids; this means so much. It was amazing watching them be so engaged and interested in what you’re doing, and to see them immersed by hearing Spanish spoken and then really understanding the science. It was very heartwarming.”
“With the support of the National Science Foundation,” Pulgar concluded, “we will continue with these activities for the next years and also with the research activities we’re having.”