Sara Borchers is a Masters student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Atmosphere/Energy Program. She received her BS in Biology and BA in Spanish from Wake Forest University. After graduating, she spent some time working in marine biology before pivoting to a career in energy engineering. Her first job in the energy sector was at Altanova, a sustainability engineering and consulting firm in New York City. In this position, she helped corporate clients reduce their carbon emissions through building energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
In her graduate studies, she is focusing on grid integration and optimization. She enjoys the big-picture thinking, data-driven approaches, and intersectionality that grid transformations demand. She is thrilled to be interning with the Renewable Integration Group at the California ISO (CAISO), where she hopes to apply and grow what she has learned to help move California to an even cleaner, more resilient grid.
Jackie Ennis is a senior studying Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence. Next year, she will be pursuing a coterminal M.S. in the Atmosphere / Energy program within the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department to study ways to decarbonize the energy sector. She was a 2019 Schneider Fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C., working on climate change and clean energy advocacy. She has also interned at DE Shaw, Facebook, and ClimateAI in previous summers. She has researched carbon storage in soils and rainforests through projects with Rob Jackson’s Lab and the Natural Capital Project. Most recently, she is working on a design project combating deforestation through sustainable charcoal production in Uganda. As an enthusiastic member of the Stanford Outdoor House and broader outdoor education community, she is passionate about biodiversity conservation and loves hiking, running, surfing, and climbing. She is excited to join the SEICW cohort and work at the Hawai’i Public Utilities Commission this summer!
Alex Evers is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Earth Systems with a focus in Energy, Science, and Technology. He is incredibly excited to contribute what he has learned to his summer fellowship at the Western Interstate Energy Board. Alex is interested in remote off-grid solar installation and larger-scale energy policy reform. In the future, Alex plans to develop off-grid solar for isolated communities in the Himalayas. Another interest of Alex’s is plant and animal conservation. He was able to participate in the Sophomore College program that went to the Galapagos Islands to research methods on how to better manage isolated social-ecological systems. Beyond conservation, Alex is intrigued by how businesses and renewable energies interact, especially converting existing corporations that are built on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
Rachel Hu ’21 is majoring in Atmosphere/Energy and minoring in Computer Science. She wants to leverage data and technical analysis to better inform energy policy decisions. Last summer, she was a Schneider Fellow at the National Audubon Society and contributed to the climate policy sections for Audubon’s National Report: “Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink.” The summer before, she biked from San Francisco to Washington D.C. and taught climate change and environmental science along the way to rural and inner-city schools. This summer, she is excited to continue her work in climate policy and communication at California ISO (CAISO) on the Regulatory Affairs Team, where she will work on large-scale issues around grid decarbonization. Outside of academics, Rachel is passionate about women’s rights and API community representation, devoting her time to Stanford Women in Politics and alpha Kappa Delta Phi.
Prateek Joshi is a first year Masters student in the Sustainable Design and Construction program, with a focus on energy, within Stanford’s Civil and Environmental Engineering department. His academic interests are focused on increasing the reliability, resiliency, and sustainability of the electrical grid, especially in the midst of climate-change-exacerbated natural disasters. Originally from San Jose, California, Prateek received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University, where he experienced life with snow. During this time, he worked for engineering organizations in the public and private sectors, both globally and domestically. He brought these diverse experiences with him to the projects that he was involved with prior to enrolling at Stanford. Prateek worked on the design of commercial solar projects and zero net energy residences in Rhode Island before returning to California, where he worked on sustainability masterplans and building-integrated renewable energy projects. He is excited to work for the Western Interstate Energy Board this summer in Denver, tackling the difficult issues of wildfire mitigation strategies and public safety power shutoffs. Outside of the classroom, Prateek works at Stanford’s Outdoor Center and enjoys going on backpacking adventures. He also writes satire for The Stanford Daily after several unsuccessful attempts at writing for The Onion.
Mondee Lu is a JD-MS student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. She discovered her interest in environmental, natural resources, energy, and climate work during the first year of law school and has been spending her graduate studies exploring various facets of these topics. She spent previous summers researching the role of environmental and tech policy in enabling sustainable development and the role of climate rights litigation within the larger climate movement. She's excited to spend this summer learning more about the ins and outs of energy policy and working on microgrid integration and energy resiliency at the California Public Utilities Commission in Commissioner Shiroma's office.
Sindhu Nathan is a third-year PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering. Prior to her time at Stanford, she researched strategies to improve the capacity, safety, and stability of lithium batteries at UT Austin. Her current research focuses on designing and characterizing materials that convert carbon dioxide to fuels and chemicals, an important part of the carbon capture and utilization cycle. She aims to apply her technical research background in energy materials towards developing policy solutions at the intersection of energy and the environment. Outside of research, Sindhu is involved with the Stanford community through the Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Action Committee and the Stanford Energy Club. In her free time, she loves to bake, read, or work on one of her many half-finished art projects. Sindhu will be working at the California Energy Commission this summer, in the office of Commissioner Patty Monahan. She is excited to gain experience working in the public sector, and to learn how energy decarbonization is accomplished at the state level.
Julia Osterman is an MBA-MS in Environment and Resources candidate at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business (GSB). Julia is passionate about financing and operationalizing innovative solutions to climate change. Prior to Stanford, she worked with senior leadership at The Nature Conservancy to drive the organization's global priority and goal setting process. While at Stanford, she co-founded the GSB's Climate, Business and Innovation Conference. She worked with the InterAmerican Development Bank and the Natural Capital Project to drive increased public-private investment in natural climate solutions and with the innovative forest restoration finance organization Blue Forest Conservation to develop their next Forest Resilience Bond project in California. Julia holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a focus on biodiversity and conservation from Yale University. She can't wait to work with and learn from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research this summer on driving sustainable land use policy and climate action in California.
Erin Pang is a coterm student pursuing an M.S. in Earth Systems. Her experience has been in renewable energy advocacy and California water policy. She's interested in environmental justice, collaborative policymaking, and working towards a just transition to a clean energy society. As an intern in President Batjer's office at the California Public Utilities Commission this summer, Erin is excited to learn more about the complex energy landscape in the West and to work on wildfire prevention projects in relation to the new Wildfire Safety Advisory Board.
Nathaniel Ramos is a junior majoring in Environmental Systems Engineering, with a focus on water and energy, and minoring in Comparative Studies in Race And Ethnicity. He’s from Watsonville, CA, and currently serves as a Resident Assistant. He is passionate about environmental justice in his home area and more broadly, having worked on safe drinking water issues in Monterey County last fall. He is excited to go from the local level to the state level, and he hopes to serve agricultural communities like his throughout his career. This summer, he will be interning at the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in Sacramento, working on modelling projects to best determine how the State Water Project (how California moves its water around) can implement solar PV and battery storage in the pursuit of reducing its carbon emissions, as per California’s ambitious climate goals.
On campus, he is on leadership for Students for a Sustainable Stanford, the Central American Students Association, and is a part of a student coalition supporting the protection of ecological sites that are of great spiritual importance to the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, upon whose ancestral land his hometown is built on. In his extracurriculars and academics, he aims to develop a clear understanding of social inequities and justice frameworks so he can pursue sustainable, equitable solutions to environmental issues. He is excited to develop skills in his internship at the DWR so he can work towards environmental justice for all.
Mo Sodwatana is a first year master’s student in the Energy Resources Engineering department. She is currently involved in the Stanford led ERFC group, which focuses on understanding physics in tight porous media. Specifically, she is conducting research on the impact that micro fracture topology has on reactive transport. Mo is very enthusiastic about her summer internship with the City of Palo Alto Utilities - The Karl Knapp Energy Fellow in City Government, where she will be working on assessing the electric vehicle charging infrastructure needs and locations within the community. She hopes to better understand the current approaches and issues to decarbonization and learn more about energy policy implementation in California. Prior to joining Stanford, Mo completed her Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Sindhu Sreedhara is a first year PhD student in Energy Resources Engineering. Her current research focusses on improving grid flexibility in India. During her master’s degree, also at Stanford, she worked on comparing and quantifying the detection capabilities of various methane detection technologies. Sindhu has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from IIT Madras and hopes to combine this quantitative background with economics to make energy decisions for a cleaner future. This summer, she will be at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) working on electricity pricing for zero emission vehicles. She is excited to learn how state agencies operate and to interact with the stakeholders involved in making policy decisions.
Jayne Stevenson is a junior at Stanford studying Earth Systems with a concentration in Human Environmental Systems. She is particularly interested in climate change issues and how climate policy can move the world toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Jayne interned last summer at the Environmental Defense Fund and is excited to explore the state-agency side of climate and energy work this summer at the California Energy Commission in the Office of Chair David Hochschild. She hopes to learn more about the California energy system and how the CEC's work is advancing the state's climate and energy goals.
Liqian Zhang is a first-year M.S. student in the Environmental Engineering program in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford, and will intern with the City of Palo Alto Utilities. She has a B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Xi'an Jiaotong University in China. While her background is mostly technical, she is interested in the intersection of energy technology, policy, and the environment. She is looking forward to applying her analytical skills and learning more about the possible decarbonization reached by the existing energy policies.
Allan Zhao is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in political science. A California Bay Area native, Allan was raised surrounded by pioneers in sustainable technology but also became increasingly frustrated at the inaccessibility of these same technologies to many communities. His previous work in local government and Congressional offices expands upon his policy-oriented background, working to bridge the gap in access to clean technology.
Allan envisions a future of clean transportation that is a synthesis of public transit and clean personal transit options that builds a network to connects urban and rural America. As a Summer 2020 Intern for the California Air Resources Board (CARB), he hopes to expand his understanding of environmental policy encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles in pursuit of this vision.
Wenxi Zhao is a first-year master student in Environmental Engineering. One year ago, she was an undergrad at the University of Waterloo, working on her thesis project about the attenuation of artificial sweeteners in a local reservoir. The research experience inspired her about how remote sensing systems and data analysis could impact hydrology studies, therefore she started to take courses that related to sensing, data, and AI in her master's study. Right now, she is working on two projects, one is developing an apparatus that can turn bio-waste into biochar for water filtration or soil amendment, the other is related to benchmarking the energy storage market. Wenxi is excited about the summer internship in the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), and she hopes to understand the interplay of the renewable energy implementation and the traditional energy portfolio by deeply engaging in the whole-spectrum assessment of integrating solar energy into the State Water Project. Learning from the state-of-art practice of rejuvenating the traditional municipal utilities with renewable energy resources encourages her to think about decarbonization from a much broader horizon.
EJ Baik is a first year PhD in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering. Her research interests are modeling large scale energy systems to determine optimal pathways for achieving economy-wide deep decarbonization. She aspires to bring together insight from technical modeling and economic analysis to inform policy decisions regarding deep decarbonization. For this purpose, during her time at Stanford, EJ has taken a wide range of energy courses involving energy law, policy, economics, and modeling, which she hopes to apply throughout her internship. EJ is excited to work in Commissioner Rechtshaffen’s office in the California Public Utilities Commission this summer. California is leading the U.S. in its decarbonization policies, and she hopes to learn more of how energy policy is designed and implemented in California, and how lessons learned in California can apply to the broader U.S. Before joining Stanford, EJ graduated from Princeton University with a B.S.E. in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Yulia Chen is undertaking her master's degree in Energy Resources Engineering. Her current research, in the group of Professor Adam Brandt, focuses on quantifying GHG emissions of fossil fuel production from a life-cycle perspective. The study intends to inform legislators of environmental impacts of different oil and gas production technologies and to facilitate climate-wise decision making. Before joining Stanford, her interest in a broad spectrum of energy topics had prompted her to take on internships revolving power systems modeling, climate policies, and building efficiency. This summer, she is excited to intern at the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), working on load forecasting across the Western Interconnection. She looks forward to applying her analytical skills and learning more about reliability standards in bulk power system operations.
Cheng Fan is a first-year M.S. student in the Atmosphere/Energy program of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. He received a B.S. in environmental science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and then stayed in Thailand for a year doing air-quality research and consulting. Born and raised in Chengdu, China, he experienced the notorious air pollution that came along with the economic growth of the country, and thus decided to devote his life to battling the environmental issues. Cheng has a huge passion for energy because he believes a clean, reliable, safe, and affordable energy system is key to a sustainable future of human beings. Therefore, he has spent most of his time at Stanford digging into the field of energy, from technologies to policies. Cheng is excited to be working at the Western Interstate Energy Board in Denver, CO this summer and hopes this experience will complement his academic background. He is looking forward to learning how scientific research and policy intersect. In his free time, Cheng loves to submerge himself into nature. Traveling and hiking can always grip him. He is also passionate in learning different languages.
Nora Hennessy is a PhD student in the Energy Resources Engineering Department, where she works on battery energy storage. Previously, Nora received her Master’s degree from Stanford in the Atmosphere and Energy program, where she focused on energy access and clean energy systems. Prior to attending Stanford, Nora completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University. After completing her Master’s, she worked as a Research Analyst at the Center for Sustainable Energy. While her background is mostly technical, she is interested in the intersection of energy technology, policy, and the environment. Nora will be working with the City of Palo Alto this summer. She is excited to gain experience working in the public sector, and learn how energy decisions are made at the city level.
Scott Jespersen is a first-year masters student in Computational and Mathematical Engineering (ICME), and will be interning at the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in Sacramento. He is especially interested in decarbonization of the grid and of transportation, as well as issues of energy in the American West more generally. After obtaining a B.A. from Pomona College, where he focused on mathematics and music composition, he worked in various software industry roles, most recently at Google. He is a recovering musician, though not very committed to recovery, composing for and playing piano in a local jazz quintet among other bands, and enjoys cycling, running, and rock climbing.
Tristan Krueger is a junior dual majoring in Computer Science and English at Stanford University. He grew up in Bend, Oregon and spent much of his youth running, backpacking, and, generally, gallivanting his way across the ranges and forests of Central Oregon. At Stanford, he captains the varsity men's fencing team and works as an Residential Assistant. When he has free time, you'll find him bouldering in the open space preserves around Palo Alto, writing short stories, or watching political talk shows. His academic and career interests focus on the relationship between technology and governance both in how policy regulates and allows for progress and in how tech has changed the nature of politics. He is especially fascinated by the internet's revolutionary influence on campaigning and the ways in which advancements can help to solve major policy issues. This is why he is excited to work with the Western Interstate Energy Board to help increase the domestic efficacy of nuclear energy, which he believes will be one of the primary solutions to the environmental crisis. Long term, he intends to work in public service and hopes to be one of the people making high-impact policy decisions. Therefore, he is extremely eager to gain experience analyzing and understanding the idiosyncrasies of nuclear energy in the United States.
Matt Miccioli (BS '19, MS '20) is a coterminal master's student studying Atmosphere & Energy Engineering. His past energy experience includes a fellowship at the Environmental Defense Fund and research positions in the Civil & Environmental Engineering and Energy Resources Engineering departments at Stanford. Matt hopes to help implement policy that will lead to just and equitable deep decarbonization. Outside of school and work, Matt is involved with the cooperative living community at Stanford and is an avid climber who draws inspiration from the steep granite of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra. Matt is excited for his summer in the office of Commissioner Douglas at the California Energy Commission. He will be working with California Native Americans interested in developing offshore wind energy on their lands.
Richard Randall is a coterminal masters student in Mechanical Engineering, with strong interests in sustainability and transportation. His work experience focuses on mechanical design and prototyping, though he is keen to explore other areas as well. He has completed internships in the government and in industry, most recently at a startup building novel hybrid bus drivetrains. During the last academic year, he also finished his history minor, and took various classes relevant to work in policy. Going forward, Richard is curious to explore the intersection of technical expertise and policy creation, with this summer’s internship at the California Air Resources Board a perfect avenue to do so. He is excited to see firsthand how the agency uses engineering analyses to inform better regulations, and to learn from the other impressive people there and in the SEICW program. He hopes his work in Sacramento will give some inspiration for his own future career and education choices. Richard is also a serious hiker and rock climber, and is excited to spend the summer so close to the Sierras!
Reza Talieh is a Master of Science student in chemical engineering with an alternative energy focus he's had for quite some time. Back in his undergraduate at USC, he petitioned for and was part of the inaugural class of ChemE's with a sustainable energy emphasis option, one he's grateful to be able to expand on tremendously at Stanford while learning essential analytical and optimization skills. Reza grew up nearby in sunny California's Central Valley, where he really began to appreciate the untapped potential of the abundant sun, wind, and bio-waste coupled with the almond orchards that surrounded his home. His personal goals include gaining personal exposure to the many different forms of energy technologies he's only studied in a classroom setting up until now and interning for the California Independent System Operator during the summer of 2019 will do a great deal in achieving just that.
Gaby Uribe '21 is majoring in mechanical engineering and is originally from the Chicago area. She is very interested in understanding how the world works to come up with creative solutions to problems in the medical and environmental fields. During her time at Stanford, Gaby has been involved with tutoring kids in East Palo Alto, playing in the Wind Symphony, and playing soccer any chance she gets. This summer, Gaby will be interning at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in Sacramento. She is excited to take her engineering background and apply it to a cause that aims to better the environment through public policy. Gaby is grateful for this opportunity and hopes to gain a new set of knowledge and skills pertaining to electric vehicles, air pollution, and environmental legislation in California.
Kiki Velez is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Energy Resources Engineering with a focus on Clean and Renewable Energy. She is very excited to apply what she’s learned through her coursework towards her summer fellowship at the California Energy Commission, and especially towards their critical policy work transitioning California to 100% zero-carbon energy by 2045. While Kiki’s main passion lies in developing engineering and policy solutions to climate change, she also devotes time outside of class to her passion for social justice. To this end, she is involved with the Stanford Womxn’s Coalition, Stanford Students for Housing Justice, and Engineers for a Sustainable World. She views the intersection between social justice and the transition to clean energy as one of the main challenges facing society today, and she plans to devote her eduction and career to addressing climate change while also alleviating issues of environmental justice and disparities in meaningful and affordable energy access.
Greg Von Wald is currently a PhD student in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University. He received his Bachelor's degree from James Madison University in 2016. His unifying research interest is the modeling and optimization of low-carbon energy systems - from reactor-scale to grid-scale. In the past, Greg has worked on diverse research topics ranging from biomethane integration to methane pyrolysis. At present, he is working to align electricity grid planning techniques within market and policy contexts, ensuring economic feasibility in an increasingly zero-marginal cost resource mix. Greg is looking forward to a productive summer with the California Public Utilities Commission working in the Office of Commissioner Liane Randolph. Over the course of the internship, he hopes to help tackle out-standing challenges regarding long term planning and resource adequacy as California seeks to meet ambitious emissions targets, while ensuring reliable and affordable energy for all.
Chen Zhang is a first-year M.S. student in the Atmosphere/Energy program in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford. She has a B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She is passionate about energy and the environment. She previously participated in research groups that studied optimization of wind turbines, global CO2 emissions, and PM2.5 measurement techniques. She also interned at the Environmental Protection Agency in Qingdao, China in 2016. In her free time, she enjoys reading, swimming, and visiting national parks. As an intern at the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), she is looking forward to helping analyze historical demand data and predict future growth of electric loads in the western interconnection.
Kevin Zhu is a first-year master student in the Atmosphere/Energy program of Civil Engineering Department at Stanford University, and will be joining the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in their Power and Risk Office. Previously, Kevin studied Environmental Engineering and received a B.S. from the University of Illinois. His current interest is in solving renewable energy integration and building-related efficiency problems using model simulation, system thinking and data-driven methods. Kevin worked as an air quality lab assistant at the Illinois applied institute performing data acquisition from radon-detecting electrets. He also took part in two sustainable housing contests organized by the department of energy (Solar Decathlon and Race to Zero) and designed plumbing systems with heat recovery, grey water reuse,and rain water collection. He enjoys hiking, playing badminton, and table tennis during his free time.
Madhur Boloor is a recent Ph.D. graduate from Stanford University’s Materials Science and Engineering department. His work at Stanford has included experimental research on solar to hydrogen conversion and hydrogen fuel cells, and prior to his Ph.D., Madhur has worked on flow batteries for grid scale energy storage at Primus Power and thin-film photovoltaics at U.C. Berkeley. He hopes to leverage this technical understanding of energy to have an impact at the interface between energy technology, policy, and finance. Madhur is keen to reduce the barriers to bring innovative clean energy technologies to market by shaping policy and derisking investments through public-private partnerships and incubators. Madhur is thrilled to be joining the California Energy Commission to work on projects ranging from deploying off-shore wind to developing long-duration energy storage.
Outside of his work, Madhur has served as the Co-President and VP of Business Development for the Stanford Energy Club, which has sought to educate students about the energy industry and connect them with a community of future energy leaders. In his spare time, you can find Madhur listening to energy podcasts, watching movies and exploring the latest restaurants.
Carlos Ciudad-Real is a rising Junior studying Environmental Systems Engineering in Stanford's Civil and Environmental Engineering department. He is originally from San Bernardino County and he is very proud of his Salvadoran and Latin American heritage. Carlos hopes to address issues within the built environment that arise in large, urban settings using scientific and engineering principles while also keeping in mind larger issues of social and environmental sustainability. He has challenged himself to have experiences outside of his engineering coursework and study how public policy, in conjunction with new technologies, can help create a more equitable future. One such experience was a Sophomore College course on the water and energy nexus and governance in the Pacific Northwest. Using this course as a stepping stone, Carlos will be interning at California ISO this summer to develop innovative energy policies for an ever-changing and crucial power grid.
Carly Eckstrom ‘19 is majoring in Political Science, and is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the past, she has interned in the United States Senate working on energy and environmental policy in the Office of Senators Al Franken and Tina Smith, as well as conducted research through the Stanford Political Science Department. During her time at Stanford, Carly has pursued her interest in policy through her participation in the Stanford in Washington program. Additionally, she spends her time outside of class competing with the Stanford Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee team.
This summer, Carly is excited to intern at the Western Interstate Energy Board, working on promoting coordinated resource adequacy in energy production in the West. Carly hopes to use this opportunity to learn more about the details of the operation of the energy market, resource adequacy at the regional level, and policy solutions to improve transparency and promote efficiency.
Holden Foreman '21 is interning at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in Sacramento. He is from St. Louis, Missouri and plans to major in both electrical engineering and economics. In applying his coursework, Holden hopes to contribute to environmental and socioeconomic sustainability through reducing waste and increasing access to clean, renewable energy. Aside from academics, Holden takes part in the activities of student organizations such as the Stanford Project on Hunger, Students for a Sustainable Stanford and Stanford Solar Car Project. His favorite activities include running, hiking and kayaking in the wilderness. When indoors, Holden enjoys computer programming, writing and reading nonfiction. He is grateful and excited to work for CARB in order to support his passion while learning more about air pollution, electric vehicles, regulations and other important elements of environmental policy and engineering.
Tanvi Gambhir is a senior in Civil and Environmental Engineering specializing in Environmental and Water Resources. She wants to apply her skills to encourage and enhance clean energy practices. This past summer she worked on a water policy research project with the Bill Lane Center looking at representation within the Integrated Regional Water Management System in California. She also worked on a solar installation project with the Shan Shui Organization in China. These projects as well as the classes she’s taken in energy and hydrology have piqued her interest in the water-energy nexus and in using data analysis to optimize energy use. She is excited to gain practical engineering experience by working with the California Department of Water Resources in their Power and Risk Office this summer. In the fall she will be interning with the US Green Building Council in Washington D.C. working on their building efficiency standards, after which she will return to Stanford to complete a Coterminal Master’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering specializing in the Atmosphere Energy track. Upon graduation she hopes to work in the sustainable energy sector.
Sheila Gao is currently a PhD student in the department of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford. She completed her Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering and double degree in Economics at Tsinghua University in 2015. During her undergraduate studies, she worked at the State Key Lab of Combined Air Pollution Resources Control in Beijing, and her research focused on investigation and monitoring of PM2.5. Based on her research results, she realized that reforming the energy structure towards a more clean future and promoting energy efficiency are the key solutions for solving many environmental problems including air pollution, which inspired her to study energy as her major at Stanford. She's also passionate about cutting-edge energy technologies including transactive energy and energy blockchain that could help decarbonizing the electricity grid and integrating intermittent renewable generations and distributed energy resources. Last summer she did an internship at Rocky Mountain Institute and Energy Web Foundation, where she studied business applications and values of blockchain technology in the energy sector. She's thrilled to have the opportunity to intern at CPUC in the Office of Commissioner Rechtschaffen through SEIC this summer. Through this internship, she looks forward to deepening her understanding of energy and environmental policy and gaining more insight into the regulation framework that supports California in achieving its RPS and energy efficiency goals.
Growing up in the heart of the West, Sierra Gentry had the pleasure of being a short drive away from iconic red rocks, world class skiing, and a plethora of adventure. However, due to the geography and industry of her hometown, her childhood winters were often plagued with embarrassingly high levels of air pollution. The poor air quality encouraged her to better understand the cause and seek solutions -- most related one way or another to cleaner energy systems. After earning her Bachelors in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Utah, she applied to the Atmosphere and Energy program at Stanford University. Now completing her second year, she has spent the majority of her time at Stanford focusing on the systematic aspects of energy, along with learning how technology can better optimize and predict energy use. Sierra is excited to be working with CAISO this summer, and hopes this experience will complement her academic background. She looks forward to learning about not just the technological side of the grid, but how policy can complement this, ensuring clean, reliable, safe, and affordable energy for all.
Xuesi Shen is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Management Science & Engineering at Stanford University. Her research interests mainly focus on integrated assessment modeling and energy and environmental policy analysis. Previously, she has worked on projects on resources management, air quality policy, and regional resilience. Before joining Stanford, she graduated from Tsinghua University with dual bachelor degrees in Engineering Physics and Economics. She also received M.Sc. in Resources, Environment and Sustainability from the University of British Columbia.
Xuesi is thrilled to spend the summer at Western Interstate Energy Board, where she would contribute to the regional resource adequacy planning across the west. During the internship, Xuesi hopes to bridge the gap between her academic training and the real-world policy development.
Yanbo Shu is enthusiastic about equitable and sustainable development at both the local and global scale and is exploring solutions from the perspective of renewable energy in his Master's studies. He has a great passion for public service and hopes to serve with his strong background in science and a good understanding of management and governance. In pursuit of his career goal, he extended his studies to several internships in public service. He researched on the national decarbonization strategy at the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, a government-sponsored think tank. He developed a project to promote the circular economy in developing countries in his intern position at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, in Vienna. He also had the experience designing an app to visualize and publicize the SDG dataset when he worked with the United Nations Office at Geneva. For the coming summer at the California Air Resources Board, he is looking forward to drawing regulation insights in the transportation sector from the analysis of the monitoring data. Currently, Yanbo is a first-year Master's candidate in the Atmosphere/Energy program. Prior to joining Stanford, he received his Bachelor's degrees in Environmental Engineering and Law from Tsinghua University. In his free time, he loves reading about linguistics, learning about different cultures, running, and lifting weights.
Michelle Solomon is a PhD candidate in Materials Science and Engineering. Her current research, in the group of Professor Jennifer Dionne, focuses on making pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals safer for people and the environment using light-based purification techniques. She has also been involved with building community at Stanford through being a graduate Community Associate and a co-president of the Stanford chapter of the Materials Research Society. In her free time, she loves skiing and hiking around in the mountains, and generally being outside. She is continually excited and impressed by the research that is going on in the renewable energy field, and it gives her a lot of hope for the future. As an intern in the office of Commissioner Janea Scott, she is looking forward to helping implement some of these advances, as well as learning more about how scientific research and policy intersect.
Barrett Travis is graduating in June 2018 with an M.S. in Environmental Fluid Mechanics & Hydrology, and is excited to be joining the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in their Power and Risk Office. With a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate degree from Stanford (Class of 2016), he has strong interests in fluid mechanics, renewable energy, and mechanical systems. Several years of environmental courses and an interest in justice issues has compelled Barrett to pursue his current master’s degree and work to help both the environment and people through engineering and computational analysis. Recent experiences include working with the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge to address resilience issues related to sea level rise in the Bay Area and spending a year with the anti-human trafficking organization International Justice Mission in the Philippines.
Amulya Yerrapotu is a second-year economics major from San Jose, California. She is interested in environmental justice and housing issues, and works to advocate for solutions to these problems as a member of Students for a Sustainable Stanford and the Stanford Coalition for Planning an Equitable 2035. Outside of environmental advocacy, Amulya works to bolster student interest in public service as a Cardinal Service Peer Advisor. Over the past summer, she worked at the Natural Resources Defense Council on various energy issues, and is excited to bring that knowledge with her to the California Energy Commission this summer. She hopes to continue to use economic thinking to expand access to clean and healthy living spaces for all people.
Originally from Orange County, California, Matthew Cohen ‘18 is majoring in Political Science and Earth Systems. Previously, he has interned at the The White House under President Obama, for the President pro Tempore of the California Senate, Darrell Steinberg, and at the Center for American Progress. At Stanford, Matthew is a member of the ASSU Undergraduate Senate and is on the Stanford Student Enterprise board of directors.
He is excited to work at the California Air Resources Board this summer working on the agency’s million zero emission vehicle (ZEV) goal. California has had great success in taking steps to decarbonize its electricity generation; however, transportation continues to remain a key roadblock in California’s efforts to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions. Matthew hopes to learn more about how to decarbonize the transportation sector over the summer.
In his spare time, he enjoys reading, running, and playing golf.
Charlie Duff is thrilled to have the opportunity to work at the California ISO as a Market Quality and Renewable Integration intern through SEIC this summer. His early interest in renewable energy inspired him to study mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with minors in engineering for energy sustainability, international engineering, and mathematics. During his time in Wisconsin, Charlie enjoyed working at the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium with a team conducting research on a novel electric motor design. Now at Stanford, Charlie is pursuing a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with an emphasis on atmosphere and energy. His interests are focused on energy storage and optimizing energy systems in order to integrate renewable energy more easily. After touring CAISO in the fall, he found the work there to be fascinating and desired to intern there in the summer. Charlie hopes to take this summer experience and, in the future, continue to develop physical and digital solutions for a grid reliant on renewable energy.
Anthony Ho is a PhD candidate in the Department of Applied Physics at Stanford University. His research, supervised by Dr. William Greenleaf and supported by a Stanford Graduate Fellowship, focuses on applying state-of-the-art techniques in machine learning to aid the design and development of a novel class of low-cost, portable chemical sensor. This type of sensor, leveraging the power of pattern recognition on high-dimensional data, is able to achieve ultrahigh specificity and could be used in a wide range of areas such as health screening, industrial process monitoring, and environmental contaminant detection.
Anthony aspires to utilize his data analytics skills to help combat the world’s most imminent problem—climate change. He is excited to spend the summer helping Commissioner McAllister’s office at the California Energy Commission analyze California’s energy efficiency data and its progress toward reaching SB 350 target. Anthony plans to continue to work on data-driven problems in energy upon graduation.
Karen Huynh is a junior studying electrical engineering. She has worked in research labs the past two summers, and is a member of a student environmental consulting group on campus. She is excited to be an intern at the California ISO where she will be performing energy and environmental policy research to help develop new market designs. In the future, she would enjoy working with the electric grid to accommodate an increasing amount of renewable resources and to advance environmental goals.
Nathan Iltis grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin and attended Montana State University, where he attained a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an incidental education in wilderness exploration. He then worked for a small Structural Engineering firm in Ridgway, CO, where he designed residential buildings and applied to the Atmosphere/Energy program in the Civil Engineering department at Stanford University. Now in his third quarter, his coursework is focused on transportation and building efficiency. He’s very excited to use this acquired knowledge and understanding to develop new policies for the State of California at the Air Resources Board. He will likely be digging deep into research focused on how best to implement Heavy Duty Vehicle efficiency standards or will continue the work of a former SEIC intern to increase access to clean transportation for low-income Californians. He hopes to gain valuable insight into California policy creation and build lasting connections through this wonderful opportunity he will have over the summer. After SEIC, Nathan hopes to find a niche in transportation or building efficiency with an entrepreneurial flavor, or continue policy work to decrease the carbon footprint of low-income individuals.
Sage Lagron is a senior majoring in Environmental Systems Engineering, freshwater track. She is particularly fascinated by the water-energy nexus. Her academic experiences have centered around water resource and water hazard management, while her summer experiences--including the Energy in the West Sophomore College and research with Rob Jackson on fugitive emissions from oil and gas wells--have had more of an energy focus. This past summer, as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholar, Sage conducted research on the intersection of climate change, hydropower, and Atlantic salmon fisheries management in New England. She is thrilled to be working with the Department of Water Resources this summer in the Power and Risk Office to delve deeper into the water-energy nexus from the perspective of a prominent water resources agency. Following her time at DWR, she will be a Sophomore College Assistant (SCA) for the ‘Water and Power in the Pacific Northwest: The Columbia River’ Sophomore College and hopes to pursue graduate studies in hydrology and water resources management.
Ben Lim is a Master’s Candidate in the Sustainable Design and Construction Program, focusing in Energy, at Stanford University. Ben completed a Bachelors in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCLA in 2013, and since then has worked in heavy civil construction for both contractors and construction managers. He is excited about this SEIC opportunity because his work experience has shown him that corporations and mature industries are averse to change, unless given a push by policy makers. Beyond SEIC and Stanford, Ben intends to make impacts in energy policy whether it be through invention, innovation or politics.
Akua McLeod is a first-year prospective engineer from Southern California. She is an advocate in the arenas of environmental justice, educational equity, and renewable energy. Recently, she has worked to increase accessibility to STEM education for minorities as an Engineering Diversity Programs Intern for the Stanford School of Engineering, and previously as an intern for Sacred Sistahs, Inc., as an annual STEM conference program developer. Akua is extremely excited for her summer work at the California Energy Commission, where she hopes to expand her understanding of distributed energy legislation and energy policy. In the future, Akua hopes to further explore the intersection of engineering disciplines, energy issues, and environmental policy through a graduate degree in either engineering or law.
Ignacio Mendez is a sophomore from Buenos Aires, Argentina, majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in computer science. He is very passionate about renewable energy, math, Latin American literature, and politics. In his free time, Ignacio enjoys running, reading political philosophy, and organizing events for his on-campus fraternity, Sig Ep. Ignacio is interested in working at the intersection of engineering and public policy, and hopes to improve the grid-scale energy storage technology needed to deploy renewable energy at large scales.
Isaac Sevier is a graduate student in the Atmosphere / Energy program of the Civil & Environmental Engineering department at Stanford University. Isaac studies renewable energy resources and technology, climate change science, and the impacts of energy policy on the environment. He is currently researching the use of cloud- based data analytics in building energy efficiency, specifically comparing policies that enable or discourage use of these tools and understanding barriers to adoption of newer technology. Recently, he created a dashboard of the decarbonization of energy systems for all OECD countries, and has conducted other short, course-based research on altering transportation patterns in urban environments to reduce air pollution, financing startups that address renewable energy opportunities in low- income communities, the feasibility of utilizing electric vehicle fleets for utility-scale storage, and the potential for pricing rooftop solar reactive power capacity in California. At the office of Commissioner Hochschild, Isaac is excited to work on policies related to microgrids and energy storage.
Isaac is a first generation American through adoption and the first in his family to attend college. He is a co-founder of Science Action Committee, an advocacy group focused on institutionalizing diversity in the STEM fields. Prior to joining Stanford, Isaac worked on an array of oilfield development projects in California, where he deployed over $23 million to produce new assets. He then joined a financial advisory startup in San Francisco managing portfolios for high net worth individuals, families, and foundations. Isaac received his undergraduate degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Tulsa in 2009 and will complete his Masters degree in June 2017.
Max Vilgalys started Stanford with a passion for environmental preservation that has been channeled into a commitment to building a more clean and efficient electricity system. Now a senior in electrical engineering, Max has had work experiences in research, government, and private industry that helped inform him about issues in the energy system as a whole. He is excited to use his technical experience analyzing markets and policy as an intern at the Western Interstate Energy Board this summer. In the fall, Max will begin a doctoral program in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, where he hopes to use data science to study and improve energy markets and policy.
Yiyuan Zhang is currently a master's student in the Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology (EFMH) Program at Stanford. He is interested in water resource management and hopes to integrate the theory he has learned with real-world practice. During his undergraduate studies, Yiyuan worked on a project entitled ‘Optimization of Water Supply Network based on Genetic Algorithms’. He redeveloped the corresponding toolbox in MATLAB to improve its efficiency. During his internship at the World Resources Institute, he assisted in developing a Water Energy Nexus Calculator Tool, which provides policy makers with optimum water diverting decisions. Yiyuan hopes to practice and enhance his multi-disciplinary learning capabilities, applying them to his advantage in practical projects during the SEIC program. Through this internship opportunity, Yiyuan is looking forward to gaining a deeper insight into a career in engineering, as well as expand his practical experience.
Peter Adelson describes his time working at the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) as enlightening - not only with regard to state energy markets but also on the processes of transparency necessary to creating effective policy. Peter primarily focused on evaluating the effectiveness of the Flexible Resource Adequacy Must Offer Obligation (FRACMOO) program. His work led to a new stakeholder process that redesigned the program. Peter is interested in primarily two sectors: energy and democracy, and he is presently considering entering the energy sector or pursuing academic research focused on issues related to US democracy and civic society.
Raul Cabrera is a senior in Civil Engineering (Environmental Specialty). During his time at the Department of Water Resources, he analyzed the local environmental impacts and greenhouse gas consequences of water infrastructure projects, and learned about California energy policy. His experience at DWR shifted his academic interest from water resources to energy and air quality, leading him to pursue a Master's degree in Atmosphere & Energy at Stanford. He hopes to enter public service in California in order to help with the implementation and analysis of climate change policy.
Paloma Hernandez is an Earth Systems major in the Human Environmental Track. She is primarily interested in implementing place-based solutions in the most marginalized communities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. She hopes contribute to these solutions through an economic or legal skill-set.
In the summer of 2016, Paloma interned with the California Air Resources Board. She was part of a team conducting a study on barriers to access to clean transportation in disadvantaged communities throughout the State. That summer, in addition to honing hard skills like research and technical writing, she learned the crucial importance of humility and teamwork when working toward solutions to big problems.
This summer, Paloma will be in New Delhi, India interning for The Energy and Resources Institute. She will be conducting a study on opportunities to electrifying India’s transportation sector. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Earth Systems, Paloma hopes to continue her studies and work toward a Master’s degree. She also dreams of going to law school, but only after she’s gained real life experience.
Jeffrey Lin is a PhD/MA student in electrical engineering and public policy, and was a fellow under CEC Commissioner Andrew McAllister, working on data analytics for energy use in school sites participating in the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (also known as the Proposition 39 K-12 Program). Additionally, he studied the proposed 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, in relation to zero net-energy buildings. Jeffrey is interested in the ever-broadening intersection of technology and policy, particularly in the field of energy and environmental policy, and looks forward to continuing such work after graduation.
Other 2016 Interns:
- Evan Bowechop
- Esteban Guerrero
- Nathan Lee
- Alex Smith
- Terra Weeks