Abhishek Dharan, an electrical engineering undergraduate in ASU’s School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, was one of three IEEE student members to present their public policy research findings on Capitol Hill on July 31.

The presentations were part of the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) program, a prestigious internship that brings outstanding engineering students to Washington, D.C. to learn how technical professionals can influence public policy on complex technological issues.

During the nine-week summer internship, students interact with government leaders, industry and nongovernmental organizations. Participants research an engineering-related topic of importance to the sponsoring society, then write and present a paper.

Dharan ‘s project was “Telemedicine: A broadband application improving healthcare access and efficiency.”

“I found the WISE program to be extremely educational. Through my internship I learned the importance of engineers in the policymaking process. I also established contacts in various government agencies—meeting such an eclectic group of individuals has really expanded the ways I view problems. It was apparent in my short time that Washington, D.C. is really about who you know, something the WISE program definitely helps interns with,” says Dharan.

“The WISE program organized various group events for all the interns. Some of the highlights include lunch with Commissioner Magwood of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, touring the White House and Capitol Building and attending a special reception with Senator Ben Nelson. Other group events include presentations at the State Department, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health,” Dharan adds.

WISE is a collaboration among several professional engineering societies. Each year, the societies choose future leaders in their fields—third- or fourth-year engineering students or graduate students—in a nation-wide competition. Students in the program are mentored by a prominent engineering or public policy professional, as well as representatives of their sponsoring society.

Fourteen students were selected for the 2012 summer program. Dharan is the third participant from ASU.

In addition to IEEE, 2012 WISE sponsoring societies include the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the American Nuclear Society (ANS), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), ASTM International and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International.

Last year, Dharan was awarded an IEEE Power and Energy Society scholarship in the inaugural round of the Scholarship Plus Initiative™.

Research papers from the WISE internship program are published in the online Journal of Engineering and Public Policy, www.wise-intern.org/journal/index.html.

View the IEEE press release

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