University of Idaho - I Banner
A student works at a computer


U of I's web-based retention and advising tool provides an efficient way to guide and support students on their road to graduation. Login to VandalStar.

White House Names U of I Idaho Falls Professor 2019 Fellow

November 05, 2019

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Nov. 5, 2019 — University of Idaho, Idaho Falls Assistant Professor Dakota Roberson has earned a 2019-20 White House Fellowship and will spend a year working for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Roberson teaches in the College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His expertise in power systems and renewable energy integration led him to the national leadership and public service program. For the next year, he will gain first-hand experience working at the highest levels of government, alongside Cabinet secretaries, senior White House staff and other top-ranking government officials.

“While my engineering expertise provides deeper knowledge to the broad context of energy and defense challenges faced by our nation, more valuable is my ability as an engineer to tackle complicated problems as presented,” Roberson said. “By breaking a problem down into its constituent parts, an engineer can efficiently deliver solutions and intuition to even the most complex questions.”

Selection from thousands of applicants is based on early career achievement, leadership skills, commitment to public service, ability to work effectively as part of a team and skills to succeed at the highest levels of the federal government.

“Insight regarding how federal government and executive branch agencies function will be invaluable to the next generation of power engineers,” Roberson said. “Those involved in the electric generation and transmission sector will find themselves in the midst of a significant regulatory environment through which they must navigate and abide. Understanding how and why these policies impact operations can help them become more effective engineers.”

At U of I, Roberson leads an interdisciplinary research team studying electrical grid stability and security and is an appointed nuclear engineering affiliate faculty. He has collaborated with numerous national laboratories, electric utilities, private stakeholders and universities to develop high-performance control systems and detection algorithms to address challenges which, left unmitigated, threaten to destabilize large power grids. His engineering courses are structured to prepare students for careers in this area.

“Dakota’s expertise has not only been an asset to our college, but a valuable resource in educating future engineers on the ever-changing landscape of power systems and cybersecurity,” said U of I College of Engineering Dean Larry Stauffer. “This fellowship, an achievement so early in his career, is yet another example of the high-caliber faculty in our cybersecurity program.”

Roberson also promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics education through secondary school outreach and public speaking engagements. He volunteers at a tech startup and as an advisor to regional energy infrastructure programs.

“Providing power to our nation’s hospitals, airports and essential infrastructure is one of the most critical sectors of our economy,” Roberson said. “It is our duty to preserve a strong pool of talent as interest among our nation’s youth wanes.”

Roberson received his doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Wyoming in 2017, as well as his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 2013.

Created in 1964 by then President Lyndon B. Johnson, the White House Fellows Program is designed to give participants first-hand, high-level experience in federal government and increase participation in national affairs.

Throughout the year, fellows participate in educational programs that focus on leadership, policy-making and contemporary issues, and take part in community service projects.

Media Contact

Alexiss Turner
Marketing & Communications Manager, U of I College of Engineering

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at