Peter Killeen

Credentials: PhD 2021


B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Arkansas 

It’s not surprising that Peter Killeen ended up in graduate school; he’s the son of two research scientists and excelled in math and science. But growing up in Ames, Iowa and Santa Cruz, Bolivia he was drawn to the applied side of STEM, deciding to focus on power engineering where he could put theory into action.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Arkansas in 2012, Killeen worked as a power electronics designer from 2011 until 2016 with Arkansas Power Electronics and Wolfspeed. There, he designed and tested gate drivers and power modules focused on silicon carbide MOSFETs.

Killeen says the size and history of UW-Madison’s power electronics program and its Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium convinced him to apply. In particular, he was interested in the unique research focuses of Associate Professor Daniel Ludois’s lab, joining his group in 2016.

The research group is close to making capacitive machines competitive against electromagnetic machines. However, that requires new power electronics designed for medium voltage and low current. Over the last four years, Killeen has designed, benchmarked, and improved those electronic components.

When he’s not in the lab, Killeen enjoys cooking and sailing, serving as the heavy keelboat fleet captain for the Hoofers Sailing Club at UW-Madison.

When he graduates in late 2020 or early 2021, Killen says he hopes to return to industry to work in research and development.