National Engineers Week student feature: Felipe Sozinho
Electrical engineering student, Felipe Sozinho.
Meet Felipe Sozinho, WVU Tech electrical engineering student and future smart grid master. Sozinho comes to WVU Tech from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where he first discovered his interest in electrical engineering after enrolling in a technician training program. “I got into a course to become an electrical technician in Brazil, which would be equivalent to obtaining an associate’s degree here, and I loved the course. After I was done, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree,” he said. “So I came to Tech for the good engineering program along with the opportunity to play soccer.” As an electrical engineering student, Sozinho said he spends his days pouring over senior-level coursework and conducting research that tests the fundamentals he’s been learning for the last few years. He is currently applying his skills as he researches his senior project – implementing an improved controller for micro-grid voltage stabilization – and helps the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) student chapter with the electrical circuits for a vehicle the group plans to enter into competition.
He is also an active member of the WVU Tech student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and will compete in a number of competitions with the group throughout the spring.
Sozinho is president of the University’s chapter of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, works as a resident assistant in WVU Tech’s Maclin residence hall, serves as a student ambassador and works as a peer tutor in the Student Success Center (SSC), where he helps students in math and electrical engineering courses. He also played for four years on WVU Tech’s varsity men’s soccer team, which won back-to-back USCAA National Championships in 2013 and 2014.
In the fall semester, Sozinho worked with other Brazilian students to found the student-run Brazilian Community Organization on campus, of which he serves as president. The group plans regular cultural events and community service activities.
“The goal of the organization is to bring more diversity to our campus, provide more knowledge of the Brazilian culture to all of the Tech community and provide an opportunity for the Tech community to learn some basic Portuguese,” he said.
Now in his senior year, Sozinho is looking forward to beginning his career. He said that his love for electrical engineering is driven by a passion for powering the world and that he ultimately wants to end up in the renewable energy field. He is also intrigued by emerging “smart grid” technology, which uses computer systems to make power generation, transmission and use more efficient.
“A great technology that is already in place in a few locations in the United States is what we call the Smart Grid. Smart grid is a combination of several technologies that will completely change the consumer experience with power companies. Some of the great benefits it will offer to society are that it gives you control over your power bill; it decreases brownouts, blackouts, and surges; and it makes renewable power feasible,” he said.
Sozinho said this type of excitement about energy and electrical engineering is important for drawing students into the field, but that new recruits have to be willing to work at it.
“You have to like math, as there is a lot of math involved. It is also a demanding course like any other engineering discipline. However, I believe it is well worth it as an electrical engineering degree will provide a great number of career possibilities to go into later on,” he said.
“It is such a broad field. Before, when I thought about electrical engineering I would think about power transmission and the electrical grid. But there is so much more to it. Electrical engineers can work with communications, control systems, automation, optics and much more. It’s amazing the amount of fields a person with an electrical engineering degree can go into,” he said.
Looking forward to graduation and his own choice to pursue electrical engineering, Sozinho has no qualms about the path ahead.
“Engineers are responsible for putting in place great advances we have in technology. I’m excited about electrical engineering because of the fact that it is always evolving, that there is always new technology being developed and that one day I might be part of something great,” he said.