Center for Energy Systems and Control (CESaC)




About the Program

The Howard University Pre-College for Engineering Systems program (PCES), previously Energy Expert Systems Institute (EESI), is a six-week long summer outreach and residential program for high school students selected nationally and internationally. The change from EESI to PCES was to accommodate STEM topics such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, and fundamentals in electrical engineering and power systems. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored the EESI program for 11 years. Due to the achievements of the previous program, the NSF recommended expanding the program to multiple locations in the US. In 2012, the program was revised to attract top underrepresented groups to STEM. The revised program (PCES) now expands the scope of the EESI program and is also recruiting participants from other states such as Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Philadelphia, Washington, and South Carolina. (PCES) emphasizes the fundamentals of electrical engineering concepts and sustainable energy with smart grid concepts. Several design projects using simulation tools for power system analysis for power system design are also introduced.

The approach taken in the PCES program at Howard University is a unique approach. Our program focuses not just exclusively on what engineering is, but rather on why to choose engineering. The program emphasizes the impact of green technology on careers in power systems. Twenty-five to thirty juniro and senior high school students are accepted annually into the PCES program. PCES provides them with the foundation of electrical engineering through problem solving and power system projects. PCES uses a team-based approach, which includes Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), graduate students as mentors, and also the faculty working together to implement engineering projects that motivate creativity and innovation.

This spirit of teamwork builds a foundation for our students’ future education, professional development and overall success. Our students are taught problem-solving methods, even complex ones, by brainstorming issues with their colleagues and engaging in an interactive problem-solving environment. Our students also often engage in group competitions to learn the importance of time management, creativity, innovation and teamwork. Students performance is tracked and rigorously assessed to not only determine if program objectives were met, but also to enhance future performance.

From our students:

"This summer, I had the privilege of participating in an engineering program at Howard University. I was excited by the prospect of living a college student’s life and getting a head start in my education as an engineer. This program taught me invaluable knowledge regarding the framework of electrical engineering. My mind was stretched thin with the mathematics, physics, and mechanics we were taught. Learning the practical applications of engineering was surprising as well. I never knew how much our world depended on engineers before this program. Participating has definitely reinforced my decision to pursue a career as an engineer for the betterment of our world. The labs and lectures were always insightful and our professors were extremely knowledgeable in their subject areas. I learned a lot from these lessons and I would not trade this knowledge for the world. I am happy with my overall experience at this program and would definitely do it again!"

Application Forms

Download the 2018 PCES STUDENT application form
Download the 2018 PCES MENTOR application form


Our students participate in engineering projects that cover areas such as renewable energy, smart homes, and power engineering. Selected past projects are listed below:

Smart Home System:

1. Temperature sensor: This system was designed to sense temperature changes and send an emergency signal or a temperature control signal to the central air conditioning unit.

2. Sound security system: A sound security system that sounds even when an appliance wants to communicate. For example, when a washing machine is broken, it has the ability to warn the household about the malfunction.

3. Smart home for energy efficiency: This project was made so that it can be used in smart-home that is energy efficient and will be able to conserve energy. For example: switching off an unwanted light before smartly switching on the needed light.

4. Smart home: The smart home concept was built to create an alarm system to warn the occupants of any damage to the house such as broken pipes, exposed wires and other types of damage that need immediate attention. This alarm was designed to react in real time and not just as an analysis tool.

Power Engineering:

1. Intelligent Load Control: In this project, a microcontroller is designed to control and optimize power input in such a way that weighted loads are compensated at first (in case of shortage). This technique is also used to save power and maximize efficiency.

2. Energy/Renewable Energy: Using smart reconfigurable converters and different combinations of available renewable energy sources to maximize efficiency and minimize utility costs.

Smart Box:

The smart box is a device that can assess different forms of energy used to power electronic devices in order to determine which energy source is most efficient and optimize energy usage.


Department of Architecture Welcomes 2019 AIA President

Tue, April, 9 2019

The Department of Architecture welcomed William J. Bates, FAIA, NOMA, the 2019 president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) yesterday. Bates shared with our students and faculty his valuable perspective on being an accomplished architect. Bates is only the second African American to head the AIA since it was established in 1857. Read More >>

Dept. of Arch. and NOMAS Host 2019 DC Hip Hop Architecture Camp Music Video Premiere

Tue, April, 2 2019

The Department of Architecture and the Howard University National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) hosted the 2019 DC Hip Hop Architecture Camp Music Video Premiere event.Read More >>


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