CAESer lands White House Fellowship

CAES resident Dakota Roberson was recently selected for the 2019-2020 Class of White House Fellows. Participants in the highly competitive program spend a year working as full-time, paid fellows to senior White House staff, Cabinet Secretaries, and other top-ranking government officials.

Roberson, an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Idaho, has been placed at the Department of Defense for his fellowship. At CAES, he leads an interdisciplinary research team studying electrical grid stability and security, and he is an appointed Nuclear Engineering Affiliate Faculty at University of Idaho.

In addition to his professorial duties, Roberson promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education through secondary school outreach and public speaking engagements; he also volunteers at a tech start up and serves as an unpaid adviser on regional energy infrastructure programs, according to the White House news release.

Roberson was in the first cohort of the CAES Summer Visiting Faculty Program, in 2018, and he was integral to launching CAES’ monthly Codebreaker seminar series, which provides a forum for students and researchers to address their work, communicate opportunities and challenges to a receptive audience, and increase dialogue among CAES affiliates leading to further interdisciplinary collaborations and ground-breaking new research.

In July, Roberson and a colleague from University of Wyoming were awarded US Patent No. 10,355,485 B2 for their invention, Variable Loop Gain Using Excessive Regeneration for a Delayed Wide-Area Control System, which could improve the safety and stability of the nation’s electric grid. The patent was officially awarded to the University of Wyoming and was made possible by a DOE grant.

Dakota is also a member of Touchstone, the team that won the inaugural CAES Cornhole Competition in August.
“Dakota is a valuable member of the CAES team and community,” said CAES Director Noël Bakhtian, who encouraged Roberson to apply for the White House fellowship.

A native of Shelley, Idaho, Roberson has collaborated with researchers, scientists, and engineers at several national laboratories, electric utilities, private stakeholders, and universities to mitigate 21st century energy-system threats. His engineering courses at UI are geared toward preparing students for careers in this area.

Roberson earned a PhD in Electrical Engineering with a Graduate Minor in Statistics at University of Wyoming, where he won the Fisher Innovation Challenge for contributions to energy storage control. He also has a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, with a minor in Mathematics, from University of Wyoming.

The White House Fellows Program was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The non-partisan program provides professionals from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to engage in public service for one year by serving in various roles in the federal government. Fellows participate in education programs that expand their knowledge of leadership, policy-making and contemporary issues. Community service plays a prominent role in the program as fellows take part in numerous service projects throughout the year. The selection of the fellows is based on a record of professional accomplishment, evidence of leadership skills, the potential for further growth, and a commitment to service.