Konner C.

January 7th – January 14th (3.39 hours) – I had a short two weeks because of scheduling conflicts and a government competition. This week my mentor took me to see the UA tech park. The park is home to a series of solar panels, owned by many people, but sell electricity to TEP. This experience was meaningful because it introduced me to the PV side of TEP, and TEP’s next big investment over the coming decades. I also learned about the different types of solar panels at the Tech Park. Some solar panels are cheaper to make than others, but they aren’t as efficient. I also learned some hard truths about the reality of solar, specifically how bad they are for the environment. This opened my eyes to the corrupt public image about solar.

I have been working on developing my presentations skills. Since last semester I have been working on making a presentation on choosing a current and voltage sensor. A lot of my presentation has been research and discussion with my mentor. Learning how to research and format a presentation has helped me alot. In school, presentations have rubrics and blatant expectations, so creating a presentation that meets expectations isn’t as easy without those things. By giving this presentation, I hope to receive public speaking and content critiques, but avoid them at the same time.

Because college presentations won’t be as simple as highschool presentations, this assignment is helping me develop my research and presentation skills. I came into the assignment knowing little to nothing about DA sensors, but now I know almost as much as my mentor (maybe…). All my previous research assignments have been guided by teachers, so being left to my own resources was a unique challenge. In college, I’ll have to be more independent, so this assignment has taught me a little about how to do my own research and make my own choices. By giving my presentation on the 23rd, I hope to both display my research abilities and also learn on what I can improve. I don’t know how to present professionally, so this will be a good learning opportunity.

The term “String” is new to me. A series of solar panels is called a “string”, being that they are all strung together. I learned this during the UA Tech park trip.

January 15th – January 28th (4.37 hours) –  My presentation was a valuable learning experience. I was nervous to present to my coworkers, but the presentation went well overall. The feedback I got helped me learn about what aspects of a presentation are valuable, mainly ensuring I don’t look at the slides. I’ll have to give another presentation, so now I know how to do better next time! I need to ensure that I can elaborate on every point in my explanation, and not read off the slides as much. Additionally, on a few occasions I stuttered and lost my words. My presentation itself, however, received high praise and taught my coworkers something!

Memo. A memo is a written suggestion that engineers make about their plan for making a solution. Kelly wrote a few memos on the location for some sensors, which was her plan and suggestion for where the sensors should be put and why. My job is to write a memo of my own. This means that I will have to give my suggestion on where the line sensors should be stationed, and why.

January 29th – February 11th (5.73 hours) –  This week I researched more into the power delivery products sensors. Chris was out of town, so I was left to my own resources. I had to work closer with my coworkers in order to get help. This was a good lesson in self reliance for me. By not having Chris to guide me, and be easily accessible, I had to define my own problems, and solve them alone. Overall, over the past two weeks were fairly lax, but I started the assignment that will last me until the end of the program.

My primary responsibility throughout my internship, was researching grid advisory sensors, and giving a persuasive presentation based on my research. This responsibility helped me learn some key things about how to research, how to present, and become better acquainted with the distribution world. I started off with a few presentations with information that I knew little to nothing about. My mentor guided me with some objectives, what the products do, why they are important, and I started creating my decisions. I made a list of criteria that a good sensor would have, and started checking each one to check for compatibility. This initial test did not help me make a decision, because every sensor was compatible and performed to standards. I was unsure how I should move forward, and didn’t know how to make a decision. After a discussion with my mentor, I learned that the sensors may measure the data in identical ways, but the method of delivery might differ between the two. I became so focussed on one aspect of the sensors, the data acquisition aspect, that I completely forgot that the data would be rendered worthless if it couldn’t get to the place where it was utilized. After overcoming this hurdle, I continued researching and developing my decision. After learning about TEP’s existing infrastructure, I started applying new criteria to the sensors. This cycle of learning, concluding, getting stuck, and starting over repeated throughout the project. This taught me alot about perspective and knowledge. Because I knew little about the thing I was critiquing, critiquing became very difficult for me. I got the perspective of someone who knew more than I, and then was able to continue researching. My perspective was limited, therefore, I couldn’t perform in some ways. The only way I was able to understand those perspectives is if I learned about them. Things always seem strange when one is unfamiliar with them, so learning about those things eliminates that strangeness. I was often afraid of my ignorance, and didn’t know what to do other than to blame it on ignorance. I believed that I would never grasp the things at my internship, such as advisory sensors, because I hadn’t gotten the proper education. I had to admit to myself that I wasn’t going to be able to do some things on my own and must ask for guidance, but I didn’t realize that asking for help wasn’t me failing; asking for help was me learning. I never understood how ‘babying’ school was until I had to create a presentation completely blind. Usually, teachers would present a lesson, and then one would regurgitate in the form of a presentation. Every student was an expert in the field, so creating a presentation was as simple as remembering to put everything down. By being told to give a presentation on something I didn’t know anything about, I was faced with an unfamiliar challenge. Making my way through this challenge was a wake up call, and taught me a lot about how to learn. My own presentation wouldn’t make sense to my past sense, because I lacked the foundation and perspective of my current self. I must keep this idea in mind moving forward, acknowledge my ignorance, and desire to learn as a result.

Neutral Wire: A neutral wire is a wire strung across the top of power poles. The very top wire on power lines carries no power at all, but serves as a conductor for lightning! If lightening happens to strike a pole, it will be redirected into the ground, rather into customers homes. If this line didn’t exist, customer’s homes could get destroyed or very damaged.

February 12th – February 25th (9.03 hours) – This week I started a new project. I met a lady, named Kelly Williams, who has written a memo about the current and voltage sensors that I researched last semester. This memo is basically a suggestion to TEP about where the sensors are to be used, and how. By working with her on this project I will have made a physical contribution to the project and better understand how engineering projects start. I’m not certain on how the memo is to be written, and I hope Kelly understands that this will be a learning experience for me. I’m sure that I’m not expected to produce an A+ memo first try, but I’ll try my best! I hope to learn the valuable skill of writing memos through this assignment.

An EMS, or energy management system, is a system of computers that TEP uses to monitor and control the performance of the generation, transmission, and distribution systems. The grid advisers that I researched will eventually feed into EMS. With this, TEP can better manage the grid because they will have real time data to act on.

February 26th – March 11th (8.48 hours) – This past week I was in charge of assisting in the creation of a memorandum that better described the potential plans for TEP’s line sensors. I had to contact a sales representative at Power Delivery Products to find more information about the SMART Navigator 2.0 line sensor. More specifically, I had to determine how the line sensor would communicate with TEP. My portion of the memo was about how the data transfers between different steps in virtual and physical management and collection softwares to eventually get the data to System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Energy Management System (EMS). This assignment taught me that I can accomplish most anything if I work hard enough. I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to make my memo edit in time, or make an edit that contributed in a good way, but I took the challenge anyways. I was successful and did so without assistance, which is a good feeling.

My second goal throughout my internship is to learn about what the different softwares of TEP do, and how they work. By understanding key infrastructure like this, I would definitely have my foot in the door when it comes to things like understanding basic data transfer. By understanding how TEP ensures that they are performing their job to the best of their abilities, I’d better understand how power gets everywhere in the city. Most people never question how TEP ensures that the lines they put up can handle the load or provide enough electricity, but learning the softwares and how they work will teach me how TEP does this. I have worked on this goal as kind of a side project throughout my internship. Because of security restrictions I haven’t been given a computer or access to the software, but I have been able to observe coworkers using it and attended meetings that incorporated its use. My first smart goal has been adapted to fit this goal as well. Because I have a very good understanding of TEP’s plans to incorporate “smart grid” technology in the future, it was easier for me to research communications of the new sensors and existing infrastructure, rather than learning an entirely new system like GIS mapping software. This software, simply put, allows TEP to simulate the loads on an electric line and check for viability. It is important that TEP ensures that an investment in a line addition or new substation is necessary, worthwhile, and proper. I don’t have an understanding of electric principles that are necessary to fully understand exactly what the software checks for, but I understand the purpose of it. On the other hand, my assignment does provide data that feeds into this software eventually. The simulation needs real time data in order to have inputs give accurate outputs. The line sensors would provide this real time data to TEP, which is why they are a significant addition to the system. I was in charge of assisting in the creation of a memorandum that better described the potential plans for TEP’s line sensors. I had to contact a sales representative at Power Delivery Products to find more information about the SMART Navigator 2.0 line sensor. More specifically, I had to determine how the line sensor would communicate with TEP. My portion of the memo was about how the data transfers between different steps in virtual and physical management and collection softwares to eventually get the data to System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Energy Management System (EMS). In this, I still am accomplishing my second smart goal, but in a different field than I once predicted. Being left to my own devices on this project was a struggle because I wasn’t sure how to do my job. Someone usually gives me everything I need to do a job in school, and it’s just a matter of carrying it out as expected. With this assignment, I had to figure out how to do my job on my own, had to contact Patrick on my own, had no guidelines for my memo edit, etc. I was pleased that I did a good job, but also more worried that what I produced wasn’t what was expected of me. All I could do in this point in time was do my best work with hope that it was sufficient.
In completing this goal I learned how to operate as a lacking team member. Every time I do group work I’m always the one picking up the slack, so it felt bad to be the ‘slacker’. I call myself the slacker because this is all new to me so it takes me a longer time to get moving. Kelly needed me to finish my part of the memo so that she could present it, and I was responsible for doing a good job. It felt good to be dependable in a situation where I wasn’t completely confident in myself; it was a challenge and I succeed. In the future, I’ll definitely be more open to challenges and taking on things I may not be completely familiar with. In other words, I won’t be as reluctant to take charge on new things, and challenge myself in unfamiliar fields. This project taught me that I can be successful if I really put effort into something, which is reaffirming when jumping into something like college and an un-school-guided internship! If I forgot to mention it, my proficiency and display of work ethic has gained me a paid internship offer over summer and past then if I so choose!

The kilowatt hour is the unit TEP uses to sell electricity. It divides number of kilowatts, which is the volts times the amps multiplied and then divided by 1000, by an hour, and gives a rate of power used over time. By using this unit, TEP can see how much power people use in a given time period, and charge them accordingly. TEP charges by time of use, so the hour is an important factor. Those who use power at peak production (around 2 pm when the solar panels are producing the most) are charged less, but when everyone comes home at around 6, the prices shoot up because everyone is pulling power and turning on their AC.

March 12th – March 25th (8.73 hours) – This week I went in during the daytime so that I could experience some high profile meetings. Surprisingly, the meetings felt similarly to the meetings we would have in our engineering classes. Certain people were questioning about certain parts of the project. One lady was focused on budgeting, one guy threw out some challenges to put pressure on the current plan, and other people gave other specified input. It was interesting to see that a huge group works in real life in a way that wasn’t completely alien to me. It was important that each person in that meeting was already familiar with the project, because someone from the outside would not be able to comprehend it. Luckily these meetings were on subjects that I was familiar with, and I didn’t get confused when the project specs were being discussed! Each person had a specialization and focused on getting their subarea done, which was an interesting lesson that I will try to apply to big group projects in the future. When someone brought up a problem that would occur in their specialization with a current plan, it got fixed. Otherwise, the problem would have been undetected by those who didn’t know what to look for.

During those meetings I learned about Island microgrids. An island is a circuit that is self sustaining to put it simply. This means that a community, per say, produces so much solar that TEP provides no power to them. During the day these areas charge up huge devices that store energy, and during the night these devices supply power. They are called islands, because they are separate from ‘the TEP mainland’.

March 26th – April 8th (17.67 hours) – I was recently offered a paid internship position. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to meet the 20 hour a week requirement, but after I spoke with Danny I’m more confident. I need to make sure that I can balance both school and work, so this is a part of life that I must face. I will go to school from 8-1, and work from 2-6. Whatever hours are left I will make up along the way. Danny explained that this is really for my benefit, and that getting paid to learn and keep my foot in the door is a rare opportunity. A paid internship through college will be a great way for me to both work my way up the ladder, learn, and get paid at the same time.

I’ve discovered that being humble goes a long way. If I were to try and seem professional and qualified in my current situation, I would not be successful. I am not educated in this field, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was told about a past intern who tried to give input on everything, butted in on meetings, and tried to seem like he was qualified, but it ended up just getting in the way. My job isn’t to be an engineer during this internship, it is to learn how to become one. I came into this expecting to be responsible for huge tasks that I didn’t know how to do, but the point of an internship is to learn.

Stay calm, be professional, but remember that your coworkers and mentors understand your situation and are human. Your mentor understands if you’re lost, or confused, or need help. Don’t be afraid of the looming “professionalism requirement”. You’re in highschool, you’ll make mistakes. Additionally, don’t be scared to take on responsibilities, even if you’re not 100% confident. If you don’t step out of your comfort zone you’ll never improve. Your mentor is doing this FOR YOU, so appreciate their time and get as much as you can from your time at work.

A word that I learned is 240 V panel. A panel is the huge box on the side of your house that distributes power to your house. The wall voltage is 120 V, so a transformer takes the 240 V from the panel and steps it down to 120 V, and then proceeds to distribute it to the outlets.

April 9th – April 22nd (9.95 hours) – This week a couple of my coworkers helped me review my resume. I’ve been offered a paid internship outside of the internship program, and I will be required to go through the application process once more. They really want me to obtain this position, so by helping me review my resume I’ve got a good start. I really appreciate that they took some time out of their busy days just to help me out. Everyone at my internship has been so helpful and willing to do favors for me, and I hope that I don’t disappoint them. I hope one day that I can pay forward their kindness, and I hope that I will use these opportunities to the fullest extent.

Carbon Tetrahydride, or methane, is what TEP burns to produce power. Natural gas, or methane, is burned to generate steam, which powers turbines. Carbon Tetrahydride is the chemical name of natural gas or methane.

July 20th – August 13th (7.77 hours) – One meaningful experience I had recently was learning about TEP’s operations. I got to visit what is called “The Map Room”, which is exactly what it sounds like. The map room is a large circular room where a circle of desks faces the circular walls. Every inch of the wall is covered in map’s, pins, and lights to show the city’s power grid, and where problems occur. The people sitting at the desks are responsible for operations, so when the power is our they coordinate power reroutes and distribution. This moment was enlightening to me, because I’ve never thought about how the power gets turned back on after a storm, or who is fixing it. Discovering how the power gets redirected and fixed was eye opening, and makes me appreciate all that TEP does to keep the lights on. In addition, I got to see how TEP builds onto their existing circuits. This gave me a further appreciation of just how complex the city’s power grid is, and how the different substations all connect just right to get everyone a secure source of power to everyone. Seeing the operations side of the job overall just makes me appreciate the work I normally took for granted.

From the program itself, I hope to learn how to communicate better. One of the lead managers joked about my job being to send ‘bad news’ to a customer, and it made me think about how somebody actually has to do it. If that manager wasn’t just teasing, I would have been really anxious and reluctant to do something as simple as relay information, so I’d like to learn how to become a more effective speaker. From my internship, I hope to learn how to use their planning program, and decipher all the different unit’s of measure in electricity. In high school we learn the basics like volts and amperes, but there are so many other aspects to electricity that I have never even heard of. Impedance, conductivity, capacitance, step up and step down, etc. What does it all mean and why is it important?! Once I understand the basics (which I soon will) the more complex stuff will start making sense.

In the program I have already learned about some the different parts of power engineering. I know about transmission, generation, operations, and distribution so far. Power engineering isn’t as easy as connecting a line to a generator and stretching it on poles across the city. I also learned about the potential programs for education TEP offers, such as a potential $20,000 scholarship to a one year employee in a field of engineering. One thing that I realized about myself, is that I tend to speak on tangents when I’m nervous. We could be talking about something that is alien to me, and I try to make sense of it by comparing it to something completely different and non applicable. In other words, ‘I need to get the full story before I start trying to tell it to others or apply what I learned’.As a student, I found that having a passion for what you’re learning really makes a difference. I was handed a 2 inch binder of textbook for my internship and didn’t get annoyed because I cared about actually learning what was inside of it. Had that been an English class I would have been upset, because I wouldn’t have cared to learn the content.

August 14th – August 27th (11.2 hours) – One meaningful experience I had this week was learning about the first project I will contribute to. My mentor showed me my own neighborhood on the electrical grid (which was really cool on its own), but he also pointed out some problems with it. He explained that from the time power is sent to the customer from their substation, TEP is unsure of the exact values of voltage and current, or the direction the current is flowing to. Because of this, in the event of an outage TEP has to send out a “Troubleman” to seek out where the outage has happened. The current technology for doing this job is called a “Fault indicator”, which basically is a box that blinks or makes a noise on the power lines which have experienced a current surge. This is outdated and not efficient, so I was tasked with finding a better alternative! The idea that I get to contribute to something that could benefit all of Tucson, and actually contribute to TEP is mind blowing to me. I never expected to have a responsibility so grand. I am currently researching a device called a “Grid advisor”. This device allows for the wireless communication of data about the line, from many different parts of the line, back to operations for evaluation. Eventually I will create a presentation of which supplier and type of device TEP should choose and why, and present it to some high tier managers for actual consideration! I am hopeful that my hard work will actually end up making Tucson a better place. This experience has reinforced my belief that engineers really do make the world a better place, and I’d like to contribute to the advancements of technology as others have done. In projects at school our work doesn’t really mean anything and is only completed because we seek a good grade. To an extent a job is like this as well, with working to get money instead of a grade, but in addition you get to actually contribute something, or create something. If I were an actual engineer, I would not only be getting paid for my work, but I would get to see how I contributed to the city as well. I could drive down the street and feel good when I see the device I picked out attached to the poles hard at work making Tucson’s power safer and more reliable, confirming that my hard work actually has meaning and purpose. In conclusion, I learned about how doing a job you love isn’t just about the money you get paid, it’s about having something to be proud of. If I can better Tucson as a whole and get paid for doing so, then Power Engineering seems like a good fit for me!

August 28th – September 10th (10.16 hours) – This week I got to sit in on a meeting among the different divisions at TEP. Each division is responsible for a different task, and they all rely on each other’s cooperation and efficiency. While observing the conversation, I connected the meeting to how teamwork is used during group projects to how coworkers contribute to a task to achieve a common goal. What was different in this case, however, is that if you failed to contribute what was assigned you were punished for it. In the real world, if you fail to cooperate and your team suffers because of you, it will not be tolerated. This is something I have to look forward to, because I usually end up picking up everybody else’s slack. While i’m sure sometimes I will have to pick up the slack of others, it’s a nice thought to believe that people will start eventually being held accountable for not doing their part.

At my site, I am expected to learn as I please but not interfere. I am allowed and encouraged to ask for help whenever I need it, but, of course, it is implied that they won’t bend to my every whim and will! I am here to observe and learn, so not much strain is put on my learning projects; if I don’t have a self driven goal, only I suffer. The environment at TEP is moderately lax, which is a relief. The occasional joke reminds me that I am among friendly acquaintances. My coworkers aren’t all work and no play. So long as their work is done on time and effectively, they are free to socialize and stray from the constant silence and strain to finish I find familiar in school.

I have developed two very polarized personalities throughout my public school career. At school, even silence and continuous 100% effort isn’t sufficient. Being able to ‘work and play’ (for the lack of a better term) is a major relief. While I can’t be completely outrageous as I am among friends, cracking the occasional joke is okay. While I’m still learning how to do things like introduce myself and pick up on certain social cues associated with ‘office small talk with strangers’, the professional environment wasn’t as strenuous as I once thought. While I understand that my case may be an exception, it is nice to know that some office type jobs aren’t constrictive and bland.

Among the some thousands of words I have learned, “fault” is an important word. Faults are what cause things like outages and brownouts. A fault can be anything from a broken lightning struck pole to a failing capacitor or transformer, or even a conductor which has melted or deteriorated due to extreme or everyday strain. Distribution and Planning’s job at TEP is to prevent faults and provide a constant and reliable source of power across their zone by designing electric grids which can handle the load or stress they will encounter in their lifespan.

September 11th – September 24th (7.6 hours) – “This week I got to take a visit around “The Warehouse”. The Warehouse is a series of outdoor lots where all types of circuit equipment, retired and new, is stored. Things like cap banks, transformers, and breakers are stored at the warehouse, and were much larger than I thought. Some of the giant breaker connection points looked like the splaying thorns on a barrel cactus, but each thorn was the same length and diameter as I am! I never really paid attention to the anatomy of a power-line, but many of them are different and have special tasks. After taking this trip, I now appreciate how complex Tucson’s electrical grid really is. I was also very humbled by Chris’ setting aside time to take me on a trip, I really appreciate his sacrifice.

I learned what a “Cap-Bank” is. A capbank is a system of capacitors which are either pole or pad mounted, and help to regulate voltage drop. Capbanks also help provide reactive power so that the electricity in a line can move towards the load and be active. Essentially, capbanks are pieces of equipment which help manage little fluctuations in voltage.

September 25th – October 8th (8.07 hours) – This week I learned some lessons during my site visit with Mrs. Polivchak. During the visit, I made some mistakes but apparently did an okay job. I mixed up some areas of the building and didn’t introduce a coworker to Mrs. Polivchak, but I still got through it. I was very stressed that I wouldn’t provide a sufficient tour, but I was told I did a good job. I still feel bad that I made the mistakes I did, and I won’t let them happen again, but I did learn that people are more forgiving in the real world. In school, if you slip up your grade tanks and you’re really hurt by a mistake, and I feel that this represents how messed up the grading system in school is. At work, if I made a mistake and honestly felt bad for it and made things right, its as if it didn’t happen. This doesn’t mean that mistakes are okay, its just that mistakes are actually treated as mistakes instead of being treated as deliberate failures like in school.

My mentor and I text often. Just this week I needed to inform Chris that I am having a surgery and will not be in, so I sent him a short explanatory text. He prefers this method because it isn’t a conversation that requires much dialogue. There isn’t a need for an email chain for such a cut and dry conversation, so text works best. However, if the topic at hand is something that will take time and won’t be answered right away, I email Chris. This is appropriate because it gives Chris time to reply and analyze, whereas through text a conversation as such may be disregarded or forgotten.

Urgency is the determining factor for communication method. If the topic is quickly solved and non-interruptive, a text is the preferred method of conversation between my mentor and I. However, if I need to ask a detailed set of questions about my project, I usually email. If those questions aren’t urgent then I usually wait to ask Chris in person, this way I can make clarifications without the confusion of an email or text chain. I hardly ever have to make phone calls because Chris is busy and would rather respond when he has finished with whatever he is working on. I believe that this method is efficient and productive, because urgency and relevancy determine what method of communication is used. This limits interruption and allows for more efficient communication.

This week I learned the difference between transmission and distribution. Transmission is what brings very high voltage across the county, whereas distribution is what brings power to your house. Transmission lines are the giant towers which look similar to the Eiffel Tower, and distribution lines are the wooden or small metal poles typically found along roads.

October 9th – October 22nd (6.24 hours) – Recently I discovered the importance of teamwork. My mentor had noticed a decrease in my mental health, and was, accordingly, very accommodating. While I felt ashamed to admit that I was struggling with the workload senior year has imposed upon me, admitting my troubles in the end, was the right decision. What I thought would be disappointment from Chris was rather a reaction of understanding. He taught me a life lesson, telling me that times as such will, disappointingly, will happen in life. This is why group work is necessary. When one team member falls behind unwillingly, the others shouldn’t hesitate to help carry their load. Chris taught me that failure isn’t demise, and that it isn’t avoidable. I am grateful that Chris treats me as part of the team, and is willing to make sacrifices for me. In return, when able, I will put forth efforts to reimburse him.

One technical term I learned is primary and secondary lines. Primary, or distribution lines, are what come from substations and are typically the wooden or metal poles seen along roads. Secondary, or service lines, are what connect from primary to your house. These lines are more often underground. This is important, and was learned, because I need to know where the device I am researching will be mounted. The power grid is like a tree, with the main trunk, and large roots with medium sized roots sprouting of those roots, and even smaller roots sprouting off of those roots. Instead of those roots taking energy from the ground as in a tree, however, they supply energy to buildings.

October 23rd – November 5th (9.27 hours) – This week I learned about the importance of asking questions. This week, I showed my mentor my project for my Engineering III class to gain his opinion. He gave me some really good advice, and a new perspective that I hadn’t though of before. I had though that I knew every approach to my problem, but Chris provided me with an entirely new one. This showed me the importance of being open minded. Had I not asked for ways to improve, Chris might not have given me a better solution. In this, I have grown in my skills in dealing with failures, seeing my flawed project not as a failure, but as something which can be improved to be even better.

Every week I have to ask my coworker Brandon to resubmit my guest pass to have internet access. While he teases me by saying things which allude to being bothered, he is only kidding. I had to make sure he wasn’t in a call or doing something important, which is an important lesson in timing. Once he seemed to be available for interruption, I approached his cubicle in order to ask for him to renew my guest login when he gets the chance. In order to obtain the randomly generated password, I first asked permission to take a picture of his screen, in order to have a copy of it and leave him alone as fast as possible. This way, I am both respectful of his time and personal space.

My coworkers often talk to me about school advice. I came in one afternoon stressed because an SEP paper was due, and my coworkers chatted with me about it. They told about their past experiences in high-school and college. They praised me for my hard work, and tried to help me in any way that they could. While they couldn’t exactly review my grammatical and structural skills, they still gave me advice. While I had heard the same lessons before, it was still comforting to know that I wasn’t alone, and that the guys actually cared about me. Advice is always helpful, even though it might be repetitive. If it is repetitive, then it must be good advice!

This week I had to research what SCADA was. SCADA stands for “supervisory control and data acquisition”. What this means is, SCADA is a digital network system which supervises, controls, and acquires data for systems like power plants. The input from a SCADA system can be sent to HMI’s (Human Machine Interfaces) which are essentially touch screens with graphical information and controls in order to make changes to the system. My project into a data transmitter would contribute to the complexity and functionality of TEP’s SCADA network.

November 6th – November 19th (6.9 hours) – Recently I learned about how in the real world there isn’t always just one correct answer. In my project, I am determining which electrical grid sensor works best, but this doesn’t mean I should have my mind set on one. In school, our ideas must be concrete and focused entirely on one argument. In school, you choose side A or side B, and then argue why side A is completely right and side B is completely wrong. Through this project, however, I have been encouraged to try choosing aspects from both side A and side B! Some sensors work better for some applications, and some work better for others. This means, both sensors can potentially be used. This feels more authentic than school assignments, because I believe that there isn’t always one surefire answer to things. My assignment has helped show me this.

At the beginning of the semester I established a schedule with my mentor and Mr. Donovan Sandoval (DP&E’s Manager). I arranged that I was to come in every Wednesday and Thursday from 2:45ish to 4:30ish. The plan was very lax, allowing for staying later on important days and leaving earlier on slower days. I would say that I stuck to this schedule most of the time. Whenever I couldn’t make the arranged times I made sure that Chris knew. Our preferred method of communication is text messaging. While I should have given him more time in some cases, I gave him the most advance to my ability. For instance, I informed him the morning of Halloween that I may be running late because I had to change out of my costume on Halloween. I could have given him more advance, but I had forgotten that my costume required a trip home to change out of, and not just a swift change in the school bathroom per usual. My attendance was given leeway on a few occasions where last minute things came up. On days where Chris couldn’t make it to the office, he advised that I work on my project at home and email him any questions he had. In conclusion, I feel that I could have been more professional with informing Chris, but the schedule appeared lax enough that I believe my performance was sufficient to his standards.

On some occasions my mentor has given me the time off to work on things like last minute ACT study and last minute SEP rough draft work. Despite this, I believe that I have juggled SEP, School, Robotics, Chem Club, my social life, and my internship fairly well. I always turned to cutting out my internship last, but sometimes I had to resort to the worst. I expressed to Chris that I felt guilty for not devoting more time to the program, but he responded in an understanding, forgiving, and easing way. I truly do wish my schedule worked out such that I could come in a lunch and spend even more time on site, but life interrupts on occasion. I try to make the most out of my internship, and am thankful that Chris is understanding of how hectic high-school can be. I try to plan ahead, using schoology’s “magnificent and totally functional due date calendar system” but it doesn’t actually work so I cannot always plan (like on days when teachers submit massive assignments all on the same day, and it happens to be on the day I go to my internship). If my mistakes were significant I really want to learn from them.

This week I learned about “Mesh networks”. Usually, SCADA systems use point to multipoint wifi where each transmitter talks to the same receiver, like an antenna and cell phones where the cellphone must talk to the antenna directly. Mesh networks are where each transmitter is a receiver, and they all connect to an antenna eventually. This would be like a phone call being transferred through other random cell phones and eventually arriving at someones cell phone which is closest to the antenna. If Mrs. Wahl was out in the desert with no reception, but one person was 10 miles away from her, and another ten miles from them, and another, etc, to the point where one person was in signal range of the antenna, then Mrs. Wahl would have signal through a cell phone chain like connection (if cellphones worked like a mesh network). Its like a big web where eventually every line connects to the center of the web.