Electrical engineering students from Penn State-Harrisburg recently added some real-world perspective to their classroom learning when they visited two of our substations and saw a drone demonstration.

Employees in the Harrisburg area hosted seven college students and a professor for a three-hour visit on Dec. 1. Engineering students from the college have made similar visits to PPL for about a decade, said Jonathan Sinclair, manager-System Engineering for the Transmission & Substations group.

Sinclair said the students toured transmission and distribution substations that are located near each other, allowing them to “follow the power” from 230 kilovolts down to 12 kV. They also learned about how we use drones as a new way to conduct overhead line inspections.

The students were “very inquisitive,” Sinclair said, asking questions about topics like network security, maintenance of substations and lines, and the differences between transmission and distribution system operation.

The goal of the visit was to show the students how a real-life electrical delivery system works, while hopefully boosting their interest in careers in the industry. Senior Engineers Allyson Kilheffer and Jonathan Fuge assisted with the tour.

“It’s really about getting them out and having them see the industry,” Sinclair said. “It’s a great opportunity to show them what we do and how we do it.”

PPL is working to schedule a similar visit in the spring for engineering students from Penn State’s Wilkes-Barre campus, he added.