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Green Energy Student Challenge Selects Outstanding Student Presenter
As of May 20, 2018

Published on: 
November 27, 2012

During each year's Green Energy Student Challenge, the ELECTRI International jury selects one student whose oral presentation shined. For 2012, the winner is Christian McCuen, a senior in Construction Management at the University of Washington. ELECTRI recently spoke with Christian about the competition and his experience with the UW NECA Student Chapter.
Christian McCuen and NECA Presdent, Dennis F. Quebe; Photo by Chuck Fazio

Christian McCuen, University of Washington, and NECA President, Dennis F. Quebe

ELECTRI: Before you joined the NECA Student Chapter at Washington, were you familiar with electrical construction?
McCuen: I always wanted to be involved with construction. That's why I chose this school. I had some knowledge of electrical construction, mostly from classroom learning.
ELECTRI: Once your Student Chapter decided to enter ELECTRI's 2012 Green Energy Challenge, how did the team move from idea to final presentation?
McCuen: We had a six-member student team and we worked closely with Dean John Schaufelberger, our faculty advisor. We selected what we believed was the perfect building on campus because it touched upon every aspect of energy usage. Each student on the team had a defined role. I was the Project Superintendent responsible for scheduling and site logistics.
ELECTRI: Did your team interact with local NECA contractors as you prepared for the competition?
McCuen: Absolutely. Meeting with NECA's Puget Sound Chapter was very beneficial. Once we were selected as a finalist team, contractors from that chapter came to critique our presentation as we practiced for the big day. Some of those contractors are alumni from the University of Washington and they took a special interest in helping us prepare.
ELECTRI: Tell us about your team's experience at the NECA Convention.
McCuen: Competing for my school gave me a real sense of ownership about the project. All six of us wanted to show the ELECTRI jury how much we believed in the project we had designed. After the oral presentations were over, we had more opportunities to meet members of the other teams and talk with them. We had time to visit the NECA trade show and that was enlightening. I also know that meeting with NECA contractors gave me some real opportunities for an internship or eventual employment.
ELECTRI: The UW team placed second and you won the award for outstanding presenter. Does that award help with your education?
McCuen: I'm the first member of my family to attend a four-year university. The $500 award I received from ELECTRI went directly towards my tuition. On top of that, the NECA Puget Sound Chapter gave each member on our team a $1,000 scholarship for our outstanding efforts. That $1,000 is a big help in paying my senior-year tuition. I also want to thank the University for providing the funding to get our team out to the NECA Convention.
ELECTRI: What would you like other construction management and engineering students to know about the Green Energy Student Challenge?
McCuen: We learned a lot about how construction projects run in the real world, in real time. Of course, the opportunity for scholarships from ELECTRI International really helped motivate us. Even more important, I now have a network of electrical contractors who generously gave their time and advice. Wherever I am employed after graduation, I intend to keep in contact with them. Putting together our competition entry took a lot of hard work. Every minute was worth it.
Information on the 2013 Green Energy Student Challenge is now available on the ELECTRI International web site at 2013 Green Energy Challenge.
For more information about forming a NECA Student Chapter, contact Wanessa Tortolero, NECA's Director of Student Chapter Relations at (301)215-4532.