News of EEM Students, Faculty and Alumni

Sec Moniz
Dr. Kumbaroglu with Secretary Moniz
June 19, 2020
Dr. Gurkan Kumbaroglu, a Fulbright Fellow conducting research on climate change impacts on the electricity generating sector with the Environmental and Energy Management Institute, participated in a forum on the energy situation with former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on March 4, 2020. The event, held at the Resources for the Future building in Washington, D.C., attracted an impressive array of energy experts across the full spectrum of important energy topics.


Jimmy Jia

Mu Hu at graduation

EEMI Visiting Scholar Jimmy Jia recently published an important new energy management book entitled “Corporate Energy Strategist’s Handbook: Frameworks to Achieve Environmental Sustainability and Competitive Advantage.” Prof. Jia’s book evolved out of recognition of the need for executives and boards to have a comprehensive set of tools for environmental and social governance. It includes 120 frameworks, some well-known while others are original, to provide a thorough, practical guide to inform the sustainability strategy of organizations worldwide. 

Recent EEM Master of Science graduate Mu Hu has joined the Asset Management Branch of Founder Securities. Mu reports that the financial industry is quite a new area for him, but he is learning and catching up fast.
Key EEMI researcher Dr. Saniya LeBlanc of the MAE Department recently received the highly prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award for her research project “Interface Formation in Laser Processed Thermoelectric Materials.” Her five-year, $500,000 award integrates advanced materials and manufacturing techniques to create next-generation energy devices. The project aims to discover the relationship between rapid melting and solidification and the resulting nano-, micro-, and meso-scale structures, as well as establish the impact of these structures on thermal and electrical properties of thermoelectric materials. 
EEMI Director of Renewable Energy Prof. Scott Sklar served as the general Chairman of the American Solar Energy Society’s annual conference June 24-25, 2020. Established in 1954, the ASES advocates for sustainable living and 100% renewable energy by sharing information, events and resources to cultivate community and power progress. This year’s national conference was focused on integrating the perspectives of science, industry, policy and citizens, based on the concept that knowledge and community are a powerful combination for change. Prof. Sklar’s conference was converted from a major face-to-face event in Washington, D.C. to a virtual event due to COVID-19. More information can be seen at
Dr. John Helveston             
Dr. Jigar Shah

CBS Newspath recently spoke to Dr. John Helveston about the temporary positive environmental side-effects of the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19. Dr. Helveston appeared in this KTAB news segment.

On March 11, 2020, Dr. Jigar Shah, formerly the executive director of the Institute of Industrial Productivity and now a visiting scholar with the SEAS Environmental and Energy Management Institute, published the article “Sound investments to decarbonize the world’s industries” in GreenBiz. Dr. Shah’s article sets forth important information relevant to addressing the critically important worldwide problem of global climate change.  
On June 1, 2020, Dr. Gurkan Kumbaroglu, a Fulbright Research Fellow with the Environmental and Energy Management Institute, was interviewed by the Turkish Heritage Organization on the topic “Impact of COVID-19 on the Energy and Economics Industry. The interview can be seen at
Recent EEM graduate Kushal Malvania, who was an EEMI EDF Climate Corps Fellow in 2019, has been selected as an Energy and Sustainability Analyst at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley, California. 
Kisa in New Delhi
Kisa (Left) in New Delhi

EEM graduate Kisa Mafila has moved to New Delhi, India, to take on a new job with the International Fund for Agricultural Development. IFAD-supported projects in India have delivered substantial results in various areas including the commercialization of smallholder agriculture, grass-roots institution building to enable communities to manage their own development, the empowerment of women, and the improvement of livelihoods in tribal and other communities.

Prof. Scott Sklar was featured in a “Critical Minerals Discussion” in the February 2020 issue of “This Week in Energy,” a publication of the organization. In his discussion, Prof. Sklar indicated that "I first want to say that being aware of changing mineral needs, sources, and geopolitics makes sense. But second, I also want to caution that the mineral drivers of today are not likely the mineral drivers of the future. New battery plants using aluminum, sodium, vanadium, etc are being built and battery formulations will be changing radically over the next decade. The same is true for electric engines and turbines and many of our other digital appliances and gadgets we now rely."
EEM Professor Ekundayo Shittu is a co-principal investigator on a one-year, $25,000 grant from Duke Energy Innovation Fund for the project “Co-location of sustainability goals: Assessing potential synergies between ecological restoration, climate resilience and renewable energy at the Capital Partners Solar Project.” The objectives of his study are to gather baseline data on the CPSP sites and synthesize existing research on renewable energy projects that are integrating conservation and climate mitigation. This will inform opportunities to reduce the ecological footprint of the CPSP sites while also promoting climate resilience. 
Doctoral student Olawale Ogunrinde conducted a seminar on “Distilling the Interplay between Corporate Environmental Management, Financial and Emissions Performance: Evidence from U.S. Firms” on April 30, 2020. Wale’s research project is investigating the relationship between firms' carbon intensity and their carbon management strategies. His preliminary findings indicate that, for firms in the high-carbon intensive sector, a U-shaped relationship exists between corporate environmental performance and financial performance while for the low-carbon intensive sector, the converse is the case. 
On February 27, 2020, the GW Branch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics hosted a seminar on “Climate Change: Engineering and Policy Issues.” The event focused on issues such as uncertainty in climate models, public and government perception of climate science, incentivizing private solutions to climate change, and reducing climate model variability. During the event, audience members were asked in an online poll to choose the statement that most closely reflects their view of climate change. An overwhelming majority chose the statement “Climate change is an existential threat to humanity.” 
On April 7, 2020, Prof. Scott Sklar, Director of Sustainable Energy in the EMSE Department’s Environmental and Energy Management Institute, made a presentation on an Environmental Protection Agency webinar on “Efficiency and Renewables Finance for Small Business and Congregations.” A recording of Prof. Sklar’s prevention, which provided a comprehensive overview of opportunities for the financing of renewable energy projects across the U.S., can be seen at