Irving Institute to Host Second Annual New Energy Summit

How might you develop an interdisciplinary pathway to integrate clean energy into the grid? What strategies could advance public understanding of energy systems and how to use energy more efficiently? How can we close the gap between energy and climate research and practice? From July 23-26, 20 early-career energy and climate researchers from the US and Canada will gather on the Dartmouth campus to join a growing community of early-stage energy and climate scholars, learn from each other and campus experts, gain insight into multidisciplinary approaches to climate and energy research, and tackle questions like these as part of the Arthur L. Irving Institute's second annual New Energy Summer Summit

The New Energy Summer Summit was conceived of as an opportunity to connect advanced PhD students, postdocs, and assistant professors working across the disciplines in order to forge new networks and new ideas in interdisciplinary climate and energy scholarship and collaboration. Participants will network with peers as well as with Dartmouth faculty and researchers, learn about emerging research in the climate and energy space, identify shared and complementary areas of expertise among peers, brainstorm and develop new projects and avenues of inquiry, and enjoy the beautiful Upper Valley summer. 

The Summit offers a unique opportunity for early-career researchers to meet others in a similar place in their professional journey. One participant from the 2022 Summit noted that most conferences and networking events tend to be dominated by more established scholars and researchers, which can be intimidating. The New Energy Summer Summit provides a welcoming space for young scholars to connect with each other, offer advice and perspective on topics and issues specific to this stage of their career, and build the foundation for a long-lasting peer network. This year's cohort will break off into small, multidisciplinary groups to identify and tackle specific climate and energy challenges with the hopes that participants will walk away with the seeds of new projects and a team of new collaborators. 

After reviewing dozens of applications for this year's Summit, the Institute accepted 20 researchers and two alumni advisors for the summer 2023 session. You can learn more about this year's New Energy Summer Summit cohort below. *Indicates participation in the Institute's online New Energy speaker series

Alonso Alegre-Bravo is a fourth-year PhD candidate in environmental engineering at Cornell University and a Fulbright Foreign Scholar. His research examines rural electrification challenges in Latin America using a multi-scale approach to inform future policies for achieving a just energy transition in the region. Currently, he is researching alternative indicators for measuring access to electricity in rural areas of Latin America and plans to conduct fieldwork in rural Guatemala to gain a community-based perspective on how to improve such indicators. Before beginning his PhD, he worked for five years with a Central American NGO coordinating the development of small-scale energy access projects in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.Alonso also holds a M.Sc. in Sustainable Energy Development from the University of Calgary (Canada) and a B.Eng. in Electromechanical Engineering from the Costa Rica Institute of Technology. He is a native Spanish speaker, fluent in English and speaks French at an intermediate level and Portuguese at a basic level.

Dr. Noman Bashir is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst. He received his PhD in Computer Engineering from UMass Amherst in 2022. His research focuses on decarbonizing societal infrastructure including large-scale datacenters, distributed edge computing systems, and cyber-physical energy systems. His recent work has explored the fairness, equity, and sustainability aspects of systems. He has strong track record of improving the efficiency and performance of energy systems [BuildSys'17,18, 20, e-Energy'19, COMPASS'20], decarbonizing residential heating in an equitable manner [BuildSys'22, EIR'22, e-Energy'23], reducing the cost of cloud computing for end users [SC'20, SoCC'21], decarbonizing data centers and increasing their efficiency [EuroSys'21, SoCC'21, ASPLOS'23], and enhancing the performance of edge computing systems [e-Energy'23, IoTDI'23].

Dr. Anna Bettini is a postdoctoral research associate at the Calgary Institute for the Humanities at the University of Calgary. Originally from Italy, she is an environmental socio-cultural anthropologist who has received her training in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Her research interests include human-environment relationships in energy landscapes, deindustrialization processes in oil and gas communities, environmental and energy justice, and multi-species ethnographies. Her current project, titled After Oil and Gas – Stories on Energy Transition Among Workers and within Rural Communities, is a multi-sited ethnographic comparative study between Canada and New Zealand, focusing on oil and gas sector changes in both regions as energy transition processes occur. Her future research agenda looks into continuing ethnographical investigations of changing agricultural and energy landscapes by exploring how farming communities adapt to climate threats by integrating more sustainable solutions in their practices.

Judith Ellen Brunton is a scholar of religious studies and the environmental humanities, currently at Harvard University as a William Lyon Mackenzie King Postdoctoral Fellow in the Canada Program at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Judith received her PhD from the University of Toronto's Department for the Study of Religion in 2022. Her current book project takes an ethnographic and archival approach to explore how oil extraction shapes contemporary imaginaries of the good life in Alberta. This includes case studies on: Imperial Oil's publications, Energy Heritage sites, The Calgary Stampede, and various corporate aspirational initiatives in Calgary. Judith is broadly interested in questions of energy, land and labor, secularity and enchantment, religion-making, and method in the North American West. Her next projects will expand on oil to include investigations into dowsing, ghost towns, ley lines, malls, and the rodeo, among other interests.

Natalia D'Agosti is a PhD candidate from Rutgers University. Her areas of interest are energy economics, environmental economics, and applied microeconomics. Her research explores the penetration of renewable electricity at a large and small scale.

Dr. M. Omar Faruque is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen's University, Canada. He is also a member of the Working Group on Natural Resources, Energy and Climate Obstruction in the Global South, under the auspices of the Climate Social Science Network (CSSN) at Brown University. He earned his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto. During 2019-2021, Dr. Faruque was a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen's University. His broad research interests are positioned at the intersection of Political Sociology and Environmental Sociology with a focus on contentious politics/social movements, sustainable energy future and climate politics, environmental inequality and governance, and resource politics. He published research papers in Critical Sociology, Social Movement Studies, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Asian Journal of Social Science, Asian Journal of Political Science, Journal of Contemporary Asia, and The Extractive Industries and Society.

Karl Hoesch is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan, School for Environment and Sustainability. He studies in the field of energy justice under the guidance of Dr. Tony Reames. The focus of his dissertation work is on justice outcomes at the nexus of community and energy. His interest in energy justice grew out of his own experience participating in an energy retrofit of a multifamily building in which he lived. Karl earned his master's degree from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, where he was the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellow. Prior to graduate studies he was a college admissions counselor at Hope College and a Spanish educator for Teach for America. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Tracey, and their two kids, Henry and Alyce.

Julia Huddy is a PhD candidate at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth where her research focuses on scalable fabrication methods for next generation solar technologies. She found her passion for renewable energy as an undergraduate conducting research on solar air heaters, and it continues to motivate her as she works towards solutions to current energy problems. Outside of the lab you can find her baking at home, hanging out with friends, or swimming in one of the local lakes.

Maddy Kroot is a PhD candidate in Clark University's Graduate School of Geography. Her dissertation project looks at community opposition to new high-voltage transmission lines in northern New England, focusing on the Northern Pass project in New Hampshire and the New England Clean Energy Connect project in western Maine. These transmission lines are intended to increase imports of hydroelectricity from Hydro-Quebec to meet decarbonization targets in Massachusetts. Using spatial justice as a lens, she considers how the dual mandates of decarbonization and energy democratization lead to "green-on-green" conflict in energy governance when the regional and planetary benefits of grid decarbonization and reduced carbon emissions come into friction with localized impacts to landscape conservation, rural livelihoods, and sense of place. Maddy is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholar, and holds a B.A. in Geography and Linguistics from Dartmouth College.

JoRee LaFrance - also known as Iichiinmáatchileesh/Fortunate with Horses – comes from the Apsáalooke/Crow Nation located in southeastern Montana. She holds a B.A. in Earth Sciences and Native American Studies from Dartmouth College and is now a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. She is an Agents of Change in Environmental Justice Fellow, Aspen Institute Forum on Women and girls SOAR Fellow, UofA CALS Impact Leader Fellow, CLIMAS Environment and Society Fellow, Carson Scholar, National GEM Fellow, Sloan Scholar, NSF NRT Indigenous Food, Energy, Water Security, and Sovereignty (Indige-FEWSS) Fellow as well as the co-founder/co-program manager of the Ilíiaitchik: Indigenous Correspondents Program. In her free time, JoRee enjoys serving as a community organizer/advocate, hanging out with the elders and youth in her family, riding horses, playing with her two dogs, beading, and running a few games of basketball.

Qingran Li is an Assistant Professor at Clarkson University in the David D. Reh School of Business and the Institute for a Sustainable Environment. She got her doctoral degree in Environmental Policy at Duke University in 2021, and her Master degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University in 2015. Qingran's research expertise is environmental economics, with a focus on marine resources management, climate change adaptation, and clean energy transition policies.

Dr. Ganga R. Neupane is a research associate in the Heat Transfer and Alternative Energy Systems (HTAES) Group of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He joined the HTAES Group in August 2022 as a postdoctoral research associate (Johns Hopkins University). Dr. Neupane's main research interest is in the characterization of semiconductor and photovoltaic devices. His graduate research work was focused on studying the structural, optical, electrical, and chemical properties of ZnO semiconductor and perovskite solar cells. He currently works on a project centered on hyperspectral imaging (HS) technique to understand the defect behavior of thin film semiconductors. The main objective of this project is to understand the electrical and optical behavior of the semiconductor for better device performance. In addition, he is also actively involved in other projects focused on advanced measurements including electroluminescence and photoluminescence, external quantum efficiency (EQE), voltage and light biased electrical and spectral response measurements etc. Dr. Neupane received his M.Sc. in Physics from St. Xavier's College (Tribhuvan University, Nepal) in 2015, and a Ph.D. also in Physics from University of Tulsa (Oklahoma, USA) in 2022. His Ph.D. dissertation work was titled, "ZnO Nanoparticles and Perovskites for Solar Cells". He has published several journal articles, one book chapter, and has given more than 15 oral and poster presentations inside the states. He is currently a member of American Physical Society (APS) and Oklahoma Photovoltaic Research Institute (OKPVRI).

Vivian Ogechi Nwadiaru* is a Doctoral candidate in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in Dr. Baker's E3Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a Fellow in the NSF-funded Ph.D. program called ELEVATE - Elevating Equity Values in the Transition of the Energy System, which is a part of the Energy Transition Institute at UMass Amherst. She focuses on decision analysis methods that optimize the benefits consumers can derive from the energy transition. Vivian received a BEng in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and an MS in Energy Engineering from the Pan African University, Institute of Water and Energy Sciences. Before joining UMass as a Ph.D. student, she completed an International Climate Protection Research Fellowship funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Technical University of Berlin and the University of Oxford. Vivian is a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) and a student chapter secretary. She is a 2023 Decision Analysis Society DEI student fellow. Vivian enjoys threading the line between engineering and policy and is also dedicated to bridging the skills gap for STEM students through outreach and curriculum design. (View her October 2022 New Energy talk.)

Dr. Renee Obringer is an assistant professor in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering at Penn State, as well as a faculty associate in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. Her research interests focus on understanding and evaluating the impact of climate change on urban systems, with an emphasis on water and electricity. More broadly, Renee harnesses methods from data science, climatology, and civil engineering to study the nexus between climate change, people, and urban systems. Prior to starting her role at Penn State, Renee worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland. She earned her PhD in environmental and ecological engineering from Purdue University.

Vivek Shastry* is passionate about facilitating inclusive development through sustainable energy solutions. As a doctoral candidate in Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, his current work explores the intersection of energy access, primary health care, rural livelihoods, and gender. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, he earned master's degrees in Sustainable Design, and Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and worked with the policy and planning group at SELCO Foundation. He has traveled extensively in rural India and worked on decentralized renewable energy projects from implementation, research, and policy perspectives. (View his March 2023 New Energy talk.)

Hunter Snyder is an American scientist whose work in the Arctic addresses human behavior in fisheries and energy policy and planning. He is a Research Scientist at the Thayer School of Engineering and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College. Broadly, his research uses concepts from the behavioral sciences to improve our knowledge about how people make decisions. Specifically, he studies energy use in fisheries and fishing communities, and he develops tools to address regulatory and human behavioral barriers to reducing energy consumption.

Camillo Stubenberg is a PhD candidate in the Department of Global Development at Cornell University. His dissertation research examines the social aspects of the rushed transition towards off-grid solar energy in Lebanon. For his project "Under the Patronage of the Sun? the techno-politics of Lebanon's solar energy boom" he recently completed 11 month of ethnographic field research. Prior to coming to Cornell, Camillo worked worked as a consultant in rural development and impact research in the tri-border region of Austria, Switzerland and Germany. He earned a B.Sc. in environmental resource management from the University of Applied life Sciences in Vienna, as well as a BA+MA degree in International Development at the University of Vienna.

Benedict Vergara is a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering at George Washington University (GWU), specializing in power and energy for smart cities. He applies optimization and machine learning methods to address energy scheduling challenges in cities with varied energy generation and storage capabilities. Additionally, Ben serves as an Adjunct Instructor at GWU, leads the university's Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) chapter, and is an Advanced Energy Group fellow, all with the goal of promoting energy literacy and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration.

Hao Nick Zhang is a rising 4th year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and a NSF Graduate Research fellow. His research focuses on carbon utilization using electrochemical methods. The goal of the project is to design processes to recycle greenhouse gasses with high degrees of tunability and efficiency so it can mitigate the effect of climate change. Outside the research, Nick involves in multiple leadership and advocacy positions, including serving as the president of the Johns Hopkins Electrochemistry Society, VP of the Materials Society, and on the Executive Board of the JHU Graduate Student Government. In addition, Nick is a science diplomacy coordinator at Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group, focusing on science policy & diplomacy projects relating to STEM education, climate change, and foreign policy. Before starting his Ph.D., Nick obtained B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Berkeley. He was a research fellow at Berkeley and Brookhaven National Labs, working on bio-imaging and battery projects, respectively. He has also worked in AgTech and BioTech start-ups in Silicon Valley before coming to Hopkins. In his free time, Nick enjoys traveling, live shows, hiking, standup paddleboarding, and kayaking around the Maryland-D.C. area.

Duhan Zhang, Post-doctoral scholar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In addition to the 20 Summit attendees, we are pleased to welcome back two alumnae from our 2022 Summit who will help facilitate the program. 

Jessica Dunn*, New Energy Summit Alumni Advisor 
Dr. Jessica Dunn is a senior analyst in the Clean Transportation Program, specializing in lithium-ion battery sustainability.  She conducts research on material circularity and reducing battery impacts through repurposing and recycling. Jessica has a Doctorate in Energy Systems from the University of California, Davis. During her studies she was a co-facilitator for the California Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Advisory group and a private consultant for the International Energy Agency on topics related to energy technologies and battery systems. In addition, she published several academic journal articles about using industrial ecology methods to forecast and evaluate the impact of battery recycling and repurposing. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, she earned a master's degree from University College London in Economics and Policy of the Environment and Energy and worked in the energy and environmental consulting industries.  (View her September 2022 New Energy talk here.)

Zdenka Myslikova, New Energy Summit Alumni Advisor
Zdenka Myslikova completed her doctorate in international environmental policy and is now a postdoctoral scholar at the Climate Policy Lab at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She works on the intersection of climate, innovation systems, and the politics of change, with a focus on climate policy and energy technological innovation. By way of background, she grew up in Europe, and spent five years in Latin America. Before starting her doctorate, she worked at Mexico's Energy Regulatory Commission.