News of EEM Students and Graduates

EMSE Professor Jigar Shah
EMSE Professor Jigar Shah
June 13, 2019

EEM Master of Science graduate Bruk Berhane recently earned his Ph.D. degree and assumed a positon as Assistant Research Professor in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Bruk reports that he spent the past few years transitioning from a purely administrative role at the University of Maryland to one that is more research-oriented. This coming Fall, Bruk plans to transition with his wife to Miami to start a tenure-track position at Florida International University in the new FIU engineering and computing education division.  Bruk’s scholarly work focuses on methods of broadening participation in engineering, with a particular focus on the community college to four-year college pipeline. 

EEMI Co-Director Joe Cascio served as a judge for the Department of Defense Environmental Awards in March 2019. The award is designed to honor individuals, teams, and installations for their continued commitment to protecting irreplaceable resources and ensuring the availability of land, water, and airspace necessary to sustain military readiness. The awards recognize efforts to ensure mission accomplishment and the protection of human health in the areas of environmental planning, waste management, and compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

EEM Master of Science graduate Carolina Pena, who works for the Pan American Health Organization, a component of the World Health Organization, recently joined the Board of Directors of EcoAction Arlington ( EcoAction Arlington protects and improves water, air, and open spaces in the Arlington community and nearby areas by promoting stewardship of our natural resources and connecting all citizens to practical solutions that achieve a sustainable lifestyle. Carolina has been volunteering with the Energy Masters Program for the past several years.

Dr. Payman Dehghanian Dr. Saniya LeBlanc Professor Ekundayo Shittu
Dr. Payman Dehghanian Dr. Saniya LeBlanc Professor Ekundayo Shittu

Dr. Ekundayo Shittu (EMSE) and co-principal investigators Dr. Saniya LeBlanc (MAE), Dr. Payman Dehghanian (ECE), and Prof. Donna Attanasio (Law) received a one-year, $115,000 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award for their project “Examining Community Solar Programs to Understand the Factors Influencing Adoption Trends and Patterns.” The project seeks to examine how stakeholders (utilities, investors, and municipalities) have invested in community solar programs. The focus will be on the accessibility of low and middle income (LMI) earners to these programs. Of special interest is the examination of how LMI households’ access to these programs varies in states with and without enacted shared solar policies. Prof. Scott Sklar, Director of the EEMI Solar Institute, is senior researched on the project.

Former EEM Master’s student Cheryl Barnes began a new positon as a Legislative Assistant with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on April 1, 2019.  Her work will focus primarily on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee.  Cheryl reported that “if it wasn't for your class I wouldn't have gotten this position.  The gentleman I interviewed for my project referred me and got me an interview.”

Prof Sklar
Professor Scott Sklar

EEMI Solar Institute Director Scott Sklar published an article on the Spring 2019 edition of Solar Today. The article, entitled “100% Renewable Energy Makes Sense...But Not Simplistically,” makes the point that there is no reason that the host of high-value energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy storage options cannot cost effectively meet 100% of world’s energy needs. However, as Professor Sklar notes “need the laws, regulations, de-subsidization of fossil fuels, and political will to make this happen. I suggest we use ALL of the clean energy tools in the barrel, not just a few.” A copy of the article can be seen  here.

Professor Rachael Jonassen
Professor Rachael Jonassen

On February 18-22, Dr. Rachael Jonassen, Director of the EEMI Climate Change Program, undertook a mission for the United Nations Development Programme to Kuala Lumpur, where she advised the Malaysian government on greenhouse gas mitigation efforts in cities. This three-month project culminated in late March 2019 with a workshop in Putrajaya, where she presented findings and recommendations. Seven GW graduate students are participating in this project. Dr. Jonassen also participated in a panel at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters in Manila, Philippines on May 8-10, 2019. She serves as senior adaptation expert advising the ADB in developing and delivering good practice guidance on climate resilient infrastructure design in the transport sector. 

Longtime EEMI Research Professor Dr. Kelly Scanlon assumed a new positon as the Director of Environmental Health and Safety Policy and Research at the electronics industries trade association IPC in Washington, DC, starting in April 2019. Dr. Scanlon is continuing her relationship with the EEMI as a Visiting Scholar.

Dr. Ekundayo Shittu represented GW at the 74th Annual Meeting of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Council of Sponsoring Institutions on March 4-6, 2019. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Ensuring a Robust U.S. Energy Future.” ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance research and education, protect public health and the environment, and strengthen national security. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities, and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest.

EEMI Solar Institute Director Scott Sklar was quoted in the WAMU-FM March 18, 2019 article “Welcome To Spotsylvania: The East Coast Battleground For Big Solar.’’

In May 2019, EEM doctoral graduate Dr. Kristin Deason began a new positon as the Regional Director of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in the Caribbean region in May 2019. Operating out of St. Lucia, Kristin has responsibility for assisting the eastern Caribbean nations Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, and Montserrat. The GGGI supports its member governments to achieve the commitments expressed under the Paris Climate Agreement and their Sustainable Development Goal targets by combining rigorous technical assistance to governments through embedded country teams and helping to mobilize financial support for climate resilient projects. An article on the new regional office is at Previously, Kristin served as Senior Regional Officer for the Pacific program at GGGI, where she worked in GGGI’s member countries of Fiji, Vanuatu, and Kiribati developing and implementing projects related to renewable energy, green entrepreneurship, and NDC planning and implementation.

Kristin with OECS and GGGI staff members Kristin with OECS and GGGI staff members Kristin with St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet - small
Kristin with OECS and GGGI staff members Kristin with OECS and GGGI staff members Kristin with St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet