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Holmdel High School Student Invited to Present Research at IEEE Conference

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Jon Marty Credits: Holmdel Schools
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HOLMDEL (February 7, 2018) –  IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) proudly touts itself as “the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology”, and Holmdel High School junior Jonathan Marty is being invited to present his research paper at their prestigious national conference for engineering. The IEEE ISGT (Innovative Smart Grid Technology) 2018 conference is being held from February 19-22 in Washington, DC. 

Marty’s paper, titled “Economic Incentives for Reducing Peak Power Loads in Electric Vehicle Charging Stations” started out as a poster project for his Honors Advanced Research (HAR) class at Holmdel High School. His inspiration for the project stemmed “from the observation that use of electric cars is growing, and while that is great in dropping the use of fossil fuels, there is now a potential problem of the cars draining power off the power grid”, explained his HAR teacher, Dr. Josephine Blaha.

As Jonathan explains it, “I developed a method to help ease the adoption of electric vehicles on the already over-stressed U.S. power grid. The method consists of individual charging stations using batteries to redistribute load on the power grid by charging when demand is low and discharging when demand is high. This improvement to charging stations resulted in major reductions in the effect of electric cars on peak power grid demand, and therefore decreased the need to invest in more power grid infrastructure, thus possibly allowing for accelerated adoption of electric vehicles. Over the course of my research project I ran large-scale power grid simulations, did statistical analysis, and created essays and presentations explaining my research.” Impressive work on its own, even more so when theorized and demonstrated by a high school junior.

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Unfortunately, Jonathan’s work did not fare as well as he would have hoped at the various competitions where he and his classmates participated. Though he did receive some honorable mentions, Dr. Blaha felt that the complexity of the research might have made it difficult to readily convey to the various judges at the competitions. But Marty persevered, undaunted.

“While I believed the research was good,” Jonathan offered, “I had limited success in two separate high school research competitions. I suspect this was due to the specialized technical nature of the project and the difficulty for the judges in comprehending the scope of the project 

without specific background in engineering and electric power grids. In spite of the disappointing finishes, I believed the work of high quality and continued to pursue avenues for sharing the work. 

“I was able to share the work with the director of power grid research at Vencore Labs, and based on the merit of the research he offered me a summer internship. Over the summer of working in a research lab I become more confident and, with the help of my mentor, made extensions and clarifications to the project. 

“I decided to submit the paper to the IEEE Innovative Smart Grid Technologies conference. Though this particular conference is very selective, I believed in the quality of the research and submitted a paper. I was very pleased to have the paper accepted for publication in the conference proceedings and quite surprised that in addition to the paper being accepted, I was asked to present the paper in during the conference (a small portion of the accepted papers are presented).”

Jonathan’s teacher, Dr. Blaha, finds work incredibly relevant, with the advent of an increasing number of electric cars on the road, and the constant demand for recharging.  Aside from the research itself, as Blaha puts it, “To have an 11th grader present a paper, not just a poster, which in itself is impressive, to an IEEE professional conference is an amazing accomplishment. We are so proud of Jon’s tenacity with this work.”

After achieving such a notable goal, one wonders what Jon’s long-term plans might have in store for him, but as forward-thinking as his ideas might be, this high school junior remains fairly grounded. “My ‘medium-term’ plans are currently centered around college. I plan to study Computer Science (CS) or Computer Engineering (CE), though I may combine this with Economics or Statistics,” Jon offered. “Top CS and CE schools have very competitive admissions, but I believe the work I did during my HAR experience makes me a strong candidate for a top school. My interests would best be described as data science, which is a versatile skill set with applications in just about any industry, so I am not sure about career plans just yet.”

If Jon’s work as a high-schooler is any indication, he is certainly charged up for a very bright future.

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