Newswise — MANHATTAN, KAN. — A Kansas State University engineering professor is one of 13 individuals chosen nationwide as a prestigious Jefferson Science Fellow.
Anil Pahwa, Logan-Fetterhoof chair professor of electrical and computer engineering, will spend the 2014-2015 school year at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., As a Jefferson Science Fellow, he will serve as a scientific adviser and help with national foreign policy.
Tenured academic scientists and engineers from U.S. higher education institutions are eligible for Jefferson Science Fellowships. The program is administered by the National Academies and supported through partnerships with the science, technology and engineering academic community; professional scientific societies; the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID.
"I hope to contribute to the national foreign policy related to my expertise in the field of electric power and energy," Pahwa said. "About 20 percent of the world's population doesn't have access to electricity, which includes 70 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa. My goal is to advance policies and plans that can reverse this trend and improve lives of people around the world."
All Jefferson fellowships are contingent upon awardees obtaining an official U.S. government security clearance. Pahwa is the third Kansas State University faculty member selected for the honor since the program's start in 2003. Brett DePaola, professor of physics, was a 2010-2011 Jefferson Science Fellow, and Richard Marston, university distinguished professor of geography, was a 2011-2012 fellow.
As a Jefferson Fellow, some of Pahwa's work might include providing up-to-date expertise in science, technology and engineering arenas that routinely affect the policy decisions.
Kansas State University Provost April Mason, who nominated Pahwa for the fellowship, said his vast expertise equips him to contribute to important national policy.
"Anil Pahwa's work improving and advancing electric power availability and systems makes him very deserving of this award," Mason said. "As a Jefferson Fellow, he will be able to make contributions to policy setting in our federal government."
"We are very excited to have Anil Pahwa as a Jefferson Fellow, as his leadership and expertise in electric power as well as technology programs for developing countries will serve our nation and the world well in this program," said Don Gruenbacher, head of the department of electrical and computer engineering.
Following his fellowship, Pahwa will return to Kansas State University in September 2015, but will remain available to the State Department or USAID for short-term projects for the following five years.
"Engagement and outreach in addition to research and education are important aspects of the land-grant mission of Kansas State University," Pahwa said. "The fellowship provides opportunities for K-Staters to fulfill this mission by service contributions at the highest level. These contributions are important because they can significantly influence national foreign policy, which has effects around the world."
Pahwa studies the application of advanced computer and communications technology to enhance efficiency, reliability and quality of electricity delivery systems. His research also involves using small renewable energy resources within the grid and off-grid locations.
Pahwa has had extensive international experience. His research with power and energy needs has taken him to Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Cape Verde. As a faculty adviser for the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders, he has guided students on projects in India, Guatemala and Ecuador.
From 2007 to 2011, he served as the electrical engineering coordinator for a World Bank-funded project to strengthen higher education in Afghanistan. In 2007, he also spent approximately three weeks at Kabul University to prepare a new curriculum and mentor faculty and students.
Pahwa came to the U.S. from India in 1977 to pursue graduate studies in power and energy systems. He came to Kansas State University in 1983.