United Technologies Research Center, the research and innovation arm of United Technologies Corporation, has made a $250,000 gift to Virginia Tech to establish a five-year fellowship in power electronics.

The fellowship is to support Ph.D. candidates and doctoral research students in the power electronics field.

“Power electronics innovations are a key enabler for many of United Technologies’ future products,” said David Parekh, corporate vice president, research, and director, United Technologies Research Center, commonly known as UTRC. “Working with Virginia Tech provides us the opportunity to conduct research with some of the top faculty in this field and also to strengthen our pipeline for talent through collaborative projects between Virginia Tech graduate students and UTRC scientists and engineers.”

Photograph of Virginia Tech alumnus and United Technologies Research Corporation executive David Parekh.
United Technologies Research Center executive David Parekh (mechanical engineering ’82) touring the Virginia Tech Center for Power Electronics Systems. His company created a fellowship for Ph.D. candidates and doctoral research students in the power electronics field.

“We are proud to partner with United Technologies Research Center," said Luke Lester, the department head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. "The fellowship will provide graduate students the ability to pursue a hands-on, minds-on education at Virginia Tech and better prepare them for a career in a science, technology, engineering or math field, such as power electronics.”

Niloofar Rashidi Mehrabadi  is the first recipient of the prestigious fellowship. She is working toward a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, having already completed a master’s in that subject at Virginia Tech. Mehrabadi’s research, within the university’s Center for Power Electronics Systems, seeks to improve the modeling framework used in manufacturing power conversion equipment for aerospace and other industrial applications.

 “UTRC’s generosity makes it possible for me to continue my research into modeling and design optimization of power electronic converters and systems,” said Mehrabadi, who is exploring ways to better account for uncertainty within the modeling process. “I’m extremely grateful and excited to continue this promising work.”

Share this story