Dr. Valentina Cecchi, ECE Associate Professor & Graduate Program Director, is the 2022 recipient of the William States Lee College of Engineering Graduate Award in Teaching Excellence.
Dr. Cecchi is committed to achieve a balance between education and research, which she believes results in true broadening of scientific and technical knowledge. The primary aim of her educational efforts is to enhance effectiveness of the power and energy engineering curriculum towards a modern power engineering workforce. The grid of the (near) future is envisioned as an intelligent system consisting of millions of smart devices and interconnected decision-makers that can be monitored, supervised, and controlled in real-time. She feels that this emerging paradigm calls for a revamping of the power and energy engineering curriculum, with the goal of developing a future workforce with strong foundational skills in not only traditional power systems topics, but also in renewable energy and distributed resources grid integration and in data analytics.
She also aims to inspire more students to pursue advanced studies and research careers in the energy field. She states that her main educational goals are to: (1) Educate undergraduate and graduate students in electrical and computer engineering, and specifically in electric power systems, emphasizing the importance of data-enhanced system modeling, analysis, and optimization, through analytical studies and hands-on experience; (2) Encourage students’ learning and research in the area of power and energy, through curriculum enhancement, graduate and undergraduate student mentoring and research involvement; and (3) Lead outreach initiatives within UNC Charlotte and the community, in an effort to attract interest in the power and energy field, with special attention to under-represented groups and women.