Intern to Help Utility Provide Reliable Power to Rural Customers

Intern to Help Utility Provide Reliable Power to Rural Customers

Abigail Leigh, one of ACEP’s utility student internship participants, was born and raised in Alaska. She began traveling in her early teens and started her college career in South Carolina. In pursuit of her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, she decided to move back to Fairbanks, where she began her journey at UAF.

“Throughout my time at UAF, I have had the opportunity to gain an abundance of relevant experience in my field, my work with ACEP being the most significant,” said Leigh. She added that she is “delighted to be a part of the 2020 ACEP internship team this summer.”

Now a senior in her program, she’s thrilled to have the chance to expand her exposure to engineering environments and apply her knowledge in hands-on operations in Alaska.

Throughout this summer internship, Leigh will be working with ACEP and Matanuska Electric Association on a modeling project located near Talkeetna, Alaska. Due to the harsh environment and often-expansive distances between power sources and customers, unreliable power can be common in rural areas throughout Alaska. Applying modeling tools and economic analysis, Leigh will be optimizing a system that will aid MEA in providing consistent power to its rural customers. This project will make use of microgrid applications and nonwire alternatives to ensure a resilient and reliable power source for this location.

Leigh’s internship is funded through the ARCTIC Program, an initiative by the Office of Naval Research.

Leigh is mentored by ACEP engineer Michelle Wilber. For more information on the ACEP Utility Student Internship, visit or contact Heike Merkel.


Abigail Leigh is a summer intern at ACEP. Photo courtesy of Abigail Leigh.