Thirty students successfully completed the Fall 2023 student exchange program, which ran from August 8–December 16, 2023. The Fall 2023 cohort included 27 undergraduate students and three graduate students: 18 students from Ain Shams University, nine from Mansoura University, and three from Aswan University. Undergraduate exchange students were enrolled into technical courses transferrable to their home university degree programs and averaged 15.8 credit hours of courses for the semester. Despite heavy course loads of difficult, upper-level undergraduate and graduate engineering courses, undergraduate exchange students in the Fall 2023 program averaged a 3.73 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale, with 20 students earning at least an A- cumulative GPA (3.67 or greater) and nine achieving an A or A+ cumulative GPA (4.0). Graduate students were enrolled into nine credit hours each and averaged a 3.11 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
During FY2024 Q1, the COE/E continued to support exchange students and monitor student progress and issues through weekly office hours hosted on the ASU-US Tempe campus and informal visits to their off-campus housing. In addition to the many student activities available to ASU-US students, the COE/E also hosted several program-specific events and activities for its exchange students including several educational excursions and site visits, a graduate school informational session, and a graduation luncheon.
During ASU-US fall break, the COE/E organized a cultural excursion to San Diego, California from October 9-11, 2023. Exchange students visited San Diego highlights such as Mission Beach, Old Town, Little Italy, La Jolla, Sea World San Diego, and more to experience the unique culture and history of Southern California.
Later in the semester, exchange students visited notable technical sites in Maricopa County, Arizona. On November 11, 2023, students toured the Ocotillo Power Plant, a gas turbine power plant that was recently modernized from 1960’s era, gas-fired steam generators. The quick-start generators enabled the utility to integrate more renewable energy into its system and transformed the old plant into a greener, more efficient facility.
Students next traveled to Red Rock Solar Plant, a joint project by Arizona State University and Arizona Public Service, the largest utility company in Arizona. Encompassing 400 acres and housing 182,880 solar panels, it is the company’s largest solar plant to date. The plant provides the university and others with clean, renewable energy, generating more than 65,000,000 kWh on an annual basis. During the visits, students got to meet with engineers and other specialists working in the energy field; learn about how the plants were designed, built, and operated; and see energy technologies in action.
Finally, the students visited the Photovoltaic Reliability Laboratory (ASU-PRL), a premier research facility established in January 2009 that is dedicated to solar photovoltaic (PV) reliability research. The ASU-PRL is funded by the United States Department of Energy, Arizona Public Service (APS), Salt River Project (SRP), the National Renewable Labs (NREL), Sandia National Labs, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and many more preeminent stakeholders in the energy sector; a fantastic illustration of public-private partnerships. Students met with Dr. Govindasamy TamizhMani, the ASU-PRL director and ASU-US professor, who explained how the group predicts climate-specific and construction-specific lifetimes of photovoltaic modules through rigorous, field-based evaluations and accelerated lifetime testing conducted in state-of-the-art, environmental and UV exposure chambers. The group has published more than 60 papers and performed reliability testing for over 50 PV powerplants and 250,000+ modules in four different climates.
Exchange students completed a third excursion on November 12, 2023, traveling north to the Flagstaff, Arizona area to visit Grand Canyon National Park. At the national park, students toured the South Rim and Grand Canyon Village, learning about the geology, indigenous culture, and notable architectural features of the park and the greater region. Following a morning at the canyon, students traveled to Sedona, Arizona, to view the iconic red sandstone buttes and explore the downtown area.