IEEE Student Members Tackle Public Policy Topics in Washington, DC

Each year, IEEE-USA selects up to three outstanding IEEE student members with a keen interest in public policy to participate in the nine-week program in Washington, D.C, USA called Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE). Students discover how government officials make decisions on complex technological issues, while also learning how engineers and scientists can contribute to the legislative process and regulatory decision-making. Each WISE intern researches a public policy topic of their choosing, experiences meetings with policymakers and Federal agencies, and prepares a policy paper, which they present.

Meet Kevin Guan and McKenzy Heavlin who were selected as the 2022 IEEE-USA WISE interns.

Kevin Guan

Kevin Guan is a rising senior at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). He is an electrical engineering major with a specialization in Semiconductors and Optoelectronics as well as a concentration in Digital Signal Processing. He is also an undergraduate researcher working on IGZO Thin Film Transistors. A member of UCI’s IEEE-HKN Chapter, he will serve as its President this coming year. He is interested in going to graduate school where he will continue working on the intersection of technology and policy.

Kevin focused his research on “Right to Repair” and how public policy recommendations may help change the trajectory of the industrial complex. His main focus was on how supporting secondary markets for electronics can help reduce the negative externalities associated with producing electronics at scale.

He says of the experience,”WISE is one of those rare opportunities that encourages you to explore your palate for social change and your vision of where technology should lead us. There’s no shortage of talent in DC where new connections are always around the corner.”

McKenzy Heavlin

McKenzy Heavlin, originally from Spruce Pine, NC, USA is a master’s student at North Carolina State University (NC State) in Raleigh, NC, USA studying electrical engineering. He received his B.S. in electrical engineering with a minor in mathematics from NC State in May 2022. Following the completion of his master’s degree, McKenzy plans on pursuing his P.h.D in electrical engineering with a focus on industrial controls and robotics. On campus, McKenzy has served in numerous leadership roles most notably as a two term Student Body President and as Student Body Vice President and joined NC State’s IEEE student branch during his sophomore year. 

As a WISE intern, McKenzy focused on cybersecurity of the electric grid and proposed policy solutions to solve the challenges associated with distribution infrastructure security. Thanks to his WISE experience, McKenzy is eager to stay involved with engineering public policy in his future career and looks forward to being an active member of IEEE.

He shared that: “The WISE program was extremely beneficial in helping me understand the next steps of my education and career while showcasing the numerous ways engineers can influence government policies. As I continue to explore the intersection of engineering and policy, I will remember the program as foundational to my interest and success.”

Annually, the IEEE-USA WISE interns are funded by a three way partnership between the IEEE Life Members Committee, IEEE Technical Activities  and IEEE-USA via the IEEE Student Public Policy Fund of the IEEE Foundation.

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