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Dominion Energy Research Fellowship


Dominion Energy (NYSE: D) is one of the nation’s largest consolidated energy companies, with a portfolio of approximately 26,000 megawatts of electric generation; 14,800 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline; 51,800 miles of natural gas distribution pipeline; 6,600 miles of electric transmission lines; and 57,900 miles of electric distribution lines. Dominion Energy operates one of the largest natural gas storage systems in the U.S. with 1 trillion cubic feet of capacity, and serves more than 6 million utility and retail energy customers.

Dominion Energy is built on a proud legacy of public service, innovation and community involvement. In addition to their core businesses, Dominion Energy and its 16,200 employees invest in the communities where they live and work and by practicing responsible environmental stewardship wherever they operate.

At Virginia Tech, the Dominion Energy Research Fellowship provides financial assistance to graduate students who are focused in one or more of the following research areas:

Research Areas

  • Clean energy technology with specific focus on natural gas optimization, liquefaction and distribution
  • Wind energy development focusing on variability and environmental consequences
  • Solar energy
  • Sustainable nuclear power generation stressing safety, environmental stewardship and alternative applications
  • Smart-grid technology including grid integration of renewables
  • Domestic energy security and emergency response

2019-20 Dominion Energy Fellows

James Gresham

James Gresham

Department: Aerospace and Ocean Engineering

Hometown: Corpus Christi, Texas

Interests: Experimental Flight Test, Stability and Control, Autonomous Aerospace Systems

How will this award help you? The Dominion Energy Research Fellowship allows me to attend Virginia Tech in an outstanding aerospace engineering program. It allows me to focus on academic and research efforts and complete a Ph.D. program in three years.

What is your background experience? A graduate of the Unites States Air Force Academy, the Air Force Institute of Technology, and the United States Air Force Test Pilot School. Currently, an active duty Major in the United States Air Force. Flight test

Patrick Meehan

Patrick Meehan

Department: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Chantilly, Virginia

Interests: I'm interested in understanding how different atmospheric conditions influence the fraction and strength of solar radiation incidents on solar farms and how this effects their efficiency.

How will this award help you? This award will provide tuition and fees associated with my master's degree in mechanical engineering. Since the Dominion Energy Research Fellowship has fully funded me, the Army has given me two years to focus solely on my education. Without this fellowship, the Army would not have given me this tremendous opportunity to further my education. 

What is your background experience? I received my bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from and was commissioned by The United States Military Academy as an Active Duty Engineer Officer. For my senior design project at West Point, my team and I developed an oscillating rucksack to serve as a research platform for Army Research Laboratory to investigate its potential benefits in reducing soldier fatigue during long patrols. I was also a research intern at NASA Langley where I was attached to their Solar Sail CubeSat team. During which time I worked to quantify the material properties of their Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers which served as the booms with which they deployed their sails.

2018-19 Dominion Energy Fellows

Kevin Pohl

Kevin Pohl

Department: Aerospace and Ocean Engineering

Hometown: Herndon, VA

Interests: Long-wave (thermal) infrared for a variety of advanced space/ground applications, including improvements to system efficiency.

How will this award help you? This award helps cover tuition/fees, which in turn allows me to pursue my PhD studies.

What is your background experience? 9+ years as a USAF program manager in basic R&D, advanced sensor development, and small satellites.

Jeffery Persons

J.B. Petersons

Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Hometown: Suffolk, VA

Interests: Resilient and secure autonomous control for operation in uncertain and adversarial environments.

How will this award help you? By reducing the financial burden on both me and my wife, who is a veterinary student at Virginia Tech, this award will better enable me to focus on further developing the knowledge and skills that I will need to solve problems of national concern.

What is your background experience? Upon graduating with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, where I served for 12 years. After several years flying F/A-18 Hornets, including a combat deployment in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, I reported to the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, where I held multiple branch head roles in the Science and Technology Division. As I transition off active duty, I am excited to bring my operational and leadership experience to bear against challenging technical problems at Virginia Tech while continuing military service as a Marine Reservist.

Joshua Stewart

Joshua Stewart

Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Hometown: Hobbs, NM

Interests: I am interested in power electronics research; specially, how to fully leverage new capabilities offered by emerging wide bandgap and ultra-wide bandgap semiconductor power devices. High voltage design and circuit modeling are key aspects to understanding how to unlock their full potential, which I enjoy doing.

How will this award help you? This fellowship is allowing me to shape my research so that I can develop cutting edge technologies that will benefit everyone. With this, I am ensuring a more sustainable future by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

What is your background experience? I received my B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, NM. While working at Sandia National Laboratories as a year-round undergraduate and graduate intern for almost four years, I was able to concentrate on power electronic circuit design using wide bandgap and ultra-wide bandgap devices. During this time, I have four peer reviewed publications and two patents filed for advancements that I played a large role in developing. I am currently pursuing a PhD at Virginia Tech as a student in the Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES).

2017-18 Dominion Energy Fellows

Chase Altizer: Graduated with a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and Engineering

Andreas Coello Behr: Graduated with a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering

Renzo La Rosa Rivero: Graduated with a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering

Edward Turner: Graduated with a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering

2016-17 Dominion Fellows

Erick Aponte: Graduated with a Master of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Renzo La Rosa Rivero: finished first year, was re-appointed Dominion Energy Fellowship for 2nd year

Maria Rye: Graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Mechanical Engineering

Kaitlyn Wheeler: Graduated with a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering