Intern at Power Systems R&D Center
Yuyao is a Singapore studying at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is pursuing a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering. Yuyao interned with us at our Power Systems R&D Center for 10 weeks.
Why did you want to intern in Sumitomo Electric?
I wanted to experience the working life of this industry, as I had thus far been focusing on my academics and did not have the opportunity to do an internship yet. I was also interested in observing how technical knowledge acquired in university courses are applied in this industry. Sumitomo Electric’s Global Internship Program was a great fit for my desires. The position and job scope offered matched my specialization in power systems perfectly, allowing me to fully utilize my technical knowledge acquired in university. The opportunity to explore and experience life and culture in a country as beautiful as Japan was a bonus that added to the attractiveness of this internship program.
What did you do during the internship?
My main objective during the internship was to develop an electrical simulation model of a microgrid, of which SEI had plans to install their energy management system (sEMSA) on. In order to do so, I had to first learn how to use the power system simulation software RTDS. After which, I used it to develop the simulation model, verified and improved on the accuracy of the simulated microgrid. Finally, I integrated and connected the simulation model with Sumitomo Electric’s energy management system for testing. The microgrid contained generator and battery units which had complicated internal systems that were challenging to simulate accurately. These required me to use knowledge gained throughout my university studies to fully understand and model them correctly. I spent most of my time in the laboratory working on the simulation and collaborating with my Japanese colleagues on the integration with their systems.
What has been the most interesting thing you have learnt from this internship?
For me, it was most interesting to learn about my own limits and capabilities. Before the internship, I had apprehensions that potential communication issues, insufficient knowledge and experience would get in the way of my internship performance. However, I was able to adapt rapidly to the new environment. My mentors and supervisors were all accommodating and supportive throughout the process. They helped me get used to the work environment and assisted me with researching for information in Japanese reference books when I lacked the required knowledge or was unable to find them on the internet. The internship has helped me to build confidence in my abilities to adapt and learn when faced with a new situation.
How has the internship help shaped your career?
The internship was most useful in obtaining an understanding of how R&D is conducted in Sumitomo Electric and within the industry. This helped me in deciding my future of continuing further research in academia or getting work experience in the industry. Furthermore, the power system simulation software RTDS is an industry standard tool that is widely used for research and testing purposes. The experience with learning and using it will definitely be useful for my career in the future and provide greater opportunities for me.
What advice do you have for future students considering to participate in this internship?
This internship offers multiple opportunities that are hard to come by in a single package. On the technical aspect, Sumitomo Electric is a leader in several key technologies. The internship will allow you to experience how advanced research and development is conducted within the industry. You also get the time and opportunity to travel around Japan and experience the culture. With some planning, you can fully maximize your weekends to visit multiple scenic and historical locations across Japan within the timespan of the internship.