Women in engineering profile: Jyo Chandrapati
International Women in Engineering Day, celebrated on June 23, 2018, celebrates the achievements of females in various engineering industries. Here’s a Q&A with Jyo Chandrapati.
To honor International Women in Engineering Day, Consulting-Specifying Engineer asked select people to answer questions about their background and mentors and their career path. Here’s a Q&A with one of them.
Name: Jyo Chandrapati
Position: Senior Power Systems Engineer, Schneider Electric, Houston
Education: M.S. in Electrical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
CSE: What or who was your biggest motivation in becoming an engineer?
Chandrapati: Without a doubt, that will be my dad and brother. I still distinctly remember them spending weekends buried under the hood of the family car, or soldering parts on circuit boards when the TV conked out—all the while explaining every step to 10-year-old me. Their passion rubbed off on me and fostered an excitement for engineering very early on. Of course, a shout-out to my mom who always reminded me to never feel that I could not achieve something because I was a girl. In short, my family deserves a tremendous amount of credit for who I am today.
CSE: What trends or challenges do you foresee in your field? What advice would you give to others to help adapt to these types of changes?
Chandrapati: The synergy of modern power generation methodologies (like distributed generation and microgrids) and the efficient use of this power (via energy management systems leveraging data-driven intelligence) is going to be the future of the power industry. One of the key challenges as we work towards meeting our future energy demands is to make our technologies environmentally responsible. Professionals in the power and energy industry therefore need to be thought leaders in the development and adoption of green technologies.
CSE: Describe an unusual project you worked on. What were the risks or challenges you took? Outline the success story.
Chandrapati: One of the most exciting and challenging projects I was part of in 2017 was the U.S. DOE’s Solar Decathlon—an international inter-collegiate competition that challenges teams to design and build solar-powered houses to be part of a temporary microgrid installation. I was leading the technical design for the interconnection between these solar houses and the grid; my goal being the establishment of a safe and reliable microgrid. It was heartening to see my design working in the field and knowing that it helped enable this fantastic event.
CSE: Are there professional development tips you can offer other female engineers? What helped lead to your success? This might include public speaking courses, working with a mentor, or some other advice.
Chandrapati: An invaluable piece of advice I received early on in my career was to constantly and consciously take on challenging and varied projects. Indeed, over the years, the projects I was most apprehensive to begin working on were the ones that taught me the most. These were also the projects that exposed me to amazing mentors and helped me gain a broad perspective of the industry. One can’t stress enough the importance of having great mentors, especially for women in the power and energy industry where it’s hard to find many female role models. Thankfully, it is easy to find mentors by being proactive and asking for guidance when needed.
CSE: In your job, what’s the one thing you are most proud of? What do you want people to take away about you and your profession after meeting you only briefly?
Chandrapati: My biggest motivation for working in the energy industry is to be able to work on technically challenging problems that also have a broad impact on the world. One of the things that I am proud of is the fact that I am part of a team actively working towards helping facilities worldwide make their electrical systems safer and more reliable, especially in countries that are yet to establish safe electrical work practices to avoid life-threatening hazards.
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