Summer 2021 Internship: David Trinko

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David Trinko outdoor portrait
David Trinko, a third year Ph.D. student in the department of systems engineering, is a summer intern at EPRI. Photo credit: David Trinko

David Trinko, a third-year Ph.D. student in systems engineering, is a summer intern at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). He earned his B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University.

What is your responsibility as an intern at EPRI?

I am involved in a variety of projects for the EPRI Electric Transportation team. My main role has been to develop and apply modeling/simulation tools to support new and ongoing projects.

For example, we recently finished a comprehensive assessment commissioned by the city of Seattle to answer questions about future electricity needs, for transportation and for other applications. I worked on developing a software tool that uses data from travel surveys to estimate electric vehicle charging needs and impacts, now and in the future. The outcomes of these types of projects can help utilities, policymakers, and even individual consumers make more informed transportation decisions, like deciding where to install EV charging stations or which EV to buy.

How did your research help you prepare for your internship?

All of the skills and knowledge I’ve had to develop for my research as a student apply directly to what I do as an intern for EPRI.

Most impactfully, as a student I’ve had to learn how to write effective modeling code and how to communicate the results effectively to different audiences, both of which are crucial to my work at EPRI.

What classes have you taken that have helped you in your internship?

SYSE 571: Analytics in Systems Engineering covers a broad array of data analytics methods that I’ve used consistently in my modeling work.

ECE 508: Intro to Power Systems Markets drastically improved my understanding of how the electric power system works, the nuances of which are integral to understanding the benefits and challenges of using electricity as a fuel source for vehicles.

Have there been any parts of your internship that have been unexpected or surprising?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well the internship experience has worked as a remote activity. Working from home has enabled me to create a very low-distraction workspace, but I’m always comfortable reaching out to teammates when collaboration is the right path forward. So, it feels like the best of both worlds.

What do you like to when you aren’t working/taking classes?

Read, listen to/play music, hike/backpack/camp, visit breweries, and spend hours on the stair machine at the gym.

Who inspires you?

Can’t pick any single person – part of why I love reading lots of different types of books is that each one, since it was written by a particular person in a particular state of mind, makes me think about the world in a new way. So I suppose the answer is a long list of authors!