EAP Monthly Dispatch
December 21st, 2015
Dear Alumni, Students, and Friends,
With the end of fall semester in sight, I wanted to say thank you for all your support of the EAP program this year. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with so many of you to build our outreach activities and offer such an exciting assortment of engagement opportunities for EAPers.
Over 200 individuals have subscribed to our monthly dispatch. Our Facebook and LinkedIn pages both reach nearly 100 alumni, students, and friends. In addition to boosting our online presence, we've hosted numerous social events, meet & greets, and many other gatherings both on and off campus for EAPers. Just this past month, EAP alumni volunteered their time to speak with current students at a career panel, and a couple of weeks later we teamed up with a number of campus partners to sponsor a lecture and discussion with German energy and climate policy analyst Mr. Carel Carlowitz-Mohn.
These initiatives would not be possible without your support. I’d like to share a few personal notes for the individuals who have really helped EAP thrive over the past year.
- Dr. Jeff Rudd, a member of the Nelson Institute Board of Visitors, has been a source of enthusiasm and insight for EAP since I met him in April 2015. Jeff has put in many, many hours to help craft a growth plan for the program and work with alumni to move that plan forward.
- Dr. Wes Foell, a founding faculty member and long-time advocate for EAP, has been pivotal in the past, present, and future success of the program. Wes and his wife Ankie generously support graduate student David Abel (profiled in this edition of the EAP dispatch), and have teamed up with an anonymous donor to create a $125,000 EAP Student Fund, an endowment that will generate a steady flow of revenue to support initiatives with a direct benefit to students.
- Dr. Paul Robbins, Nelson Institute Director, has done a tremendous amount to highlight the gem we have in EAP, and the growth trajectory we are on. (Check out the upcoming issue of In Common, the Nelson Institute magazine, where energy and EAP take the limelight.)
- Ms. Ann Swenson has helped our team navigate the ins and outs of fundraising, and ensures that donor engagement is smooth and professional.
- Our EAP student reps -- Ms. Alex Karambelas, Mr. David Abel, and Mr. José Ignacio-Medina -- have volunteered time and energy to EAP, and created the new “GEAPs” student org (pronounced “jeeps!”).
- EAP alumnus Dr. Dan York is leading efforts to coordinate EAP alumni for self-organized activities to compliment EAP programmatic and student-led initiatives.
- Of course, EAP Chair Greg Nemet and EAP Interim Chair Paul Wilson have been essential in shaping and supporting our recent efforts, and shepherding the program into a bright future.
- And last, but very certainly not least, Ms. Olivia Sanderfoot, a first-year graduate student in the Nelson Institute Environment & Resources Program. Our monthly dispatch, our beautiful Facebook page, our up-to-date (and growing) LinkedIn page, our EAP events, our new organizations… all the magic of Olivia!
I am really looking forward to continuing our work building the EAP program this spring. I hope many of you will be able to join us tonight to celebrate the solstice and the wonderful work of our dedicated EAPers this year. Thank you again for all your support. This community has much to be proud of!
Best wishes in the New Year.
Professor Tracey Holloway
Energy Analysis and Policy Faculty Committee
Winter Solstice Bonfire
The EAP Alumni Planning Committee invites all alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends of EAP to celebrate this year's winter solstice and network with peers and colleagues on Monday, December 21st (that's today!) at Picnic Point. We hope you'll join us in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve for a bonfire, stargazing, and a picture-perfect view of downtown Madison. Drop by fire pit #3 (see map above) anytime between 6 p.m and 10 p.m. to partake in the festivities.
If you have any questions about this event or would like to help plan future alumni engagement activities, please contact EAP alumnus Dan York (email@example.com), chair of the Alumni Planning Committee.
EAP Career Panel
On Monday, November 16th, EAP student reps Alexandra Karambelas, David Abel, and José Ignacio-Medina organized a career panel for current EAP students featuring local EAP alumni. Speakers included:
This forum provided EAP students with a great opportunity to learn more about career opportunities they might be interested in and network with prominent alumni in our community.
EAP alumni Rich Hasselman, Flora Flygt, Bobbi Tannenbaum, and Corey Singletary (left to right) at last month's EAP career panel.
EAP alumni interested in participating in a spring career panel are welcome to reach out to EAP student rep David Abel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Socio-political dynamics of the German Energiewende
On Tuesday, December 8th, the Wisconsin Energy Institute, Center for German and European Studies, Department of Engineering Physics, American Council on Germany, and Energy Analysis & Policy Program sponsored a lecture and discussion with German energy and climate policy analyst Mr. Carel Carlowitz-Mohn.
Mr. Carel Carlowitz-Mohn explains how Germany will phase out nuclear power over the next decade.
Students, faculty, and staff across campus gathered to learn more about the socio-political dynamics of the German Energiewende. Mr. Carlowitz-Mohn spoke about the status of the German energy transition, discussed how Germany could become a model for a fair coal phase-out, and attempted to answer a pressing question of international importance: What makes Germany so determined to invest in clean energy?
Driven by longstanding interests in math, science, and problem solving, EAP student David Abel knew he wanted to be a mechanical engineer well before he stepped foot on the UW–Madison campus. However, within the first few months of beginning his undergraduate studies, David became frustrated by the “rigidity” of the mechanical engineering curriculum.
“I was always interested in environmental issues and energy policy and analysis,” David says, “[but] I ended up taking classes in manufacturing and material strength,” topics he found less compelling.
To broaden his coursework, David enrolled in classes outside of the College of Engineering, eventually adding both an environmental studies major and a certificate in “Engineering for Energy Sustainability” to his transcript. Despite his efforts to craft a well-rounded undergraduate education, David felt that in order to define himself “as more than just a mechanical engineer” and become an energy expert, he needed to pursue a graduate degree following completion of his bachelor's of science in May of 2015.
Although David had offers for full tuition and support at other top graduate programs, UW–Madison was his first choice. Due to the unique structure of EAP, David knew he could take classes in engineering while learning new skills in energy analysis and policy to further his career goals. In addition, David was offered a generous graduate award provided by Wes and Ankie Foell. The Foell Graduate Research Award would support David's thesis project examining the climate, health, economic, and security issues associated with energy use. Wes hopes that this support for EAP students "will help re-invigorate the Wisconsin Idea in the field of energy analysis and policy.”
With the support of Wes and Ankie Foell, David enrolled at UW–Madison as a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering, Environment & Resources, and EAP. David thought that joining EAP would be the perfect way to connect his engineering background with his appreciation for the complex, interdisciplinary nature of energy systems.
In fact, one of David’s favorite aspects of the EAP program is working with students from a wide range of backgrounds. “Energy is such a broad, interdisciplinary topic that it really takes all those people working together to create a successful, efficient grid and make turning on the lights as simple as turning on the lights,” he says. David adds that he’s really looking forward to taking the EAP capstone course next spring, which he views as "one of the most beneficial parts of the program, to get to actually apply the things we're learning to a real-world situation.”
David enjoys many outdoor activities, including canoeing and fishing.
David is already working on several energy research projects in Professor Tracey Holloway’s lab at the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment. "My research is outside the norm of engineering,” he says. “I love to look at big-picture [energy] issues…. I like to do work that’s relevant to policy.”
David is wrapping up work on a paper that explores how air quality would improve “if we instantly changed our energy grid to be more solar-based,” and 20% of our electricity came from solar power. He is now expanding on those results to look at how investment in renewable energy and improved building efficiency will result in reduced carbon dioxide emissions and improve public health. He hopes his findings will be used by state agencies as they develop plans to meet the requirements outlined in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
In addition to research, David has also taken on a leadership role within the EAP program. Along with EAP students José Ignacio-Medina and Alex Karambelas (profiled in the July edition of the EAP dispatch), David serves as an official “student rep” for EAP. In this role, David helps connect EAP students with staff and faculty and “facilitate a sense of community” amongst his peers. David, José, and Alex recently founded “GEAPS” (Graduate EAP Students), an informal student organization, to create new engagement opportunities for EAPers. David says he’s really enjoyed the international events that GEAPS has helped put together this semester, including a meet & greet with Mr. Roy Norton, an expert in energy trade between the U.S. and Canada, and a Q&A with Mr. Carel Carlowitz-Mohn, a highly regarded climate and energy expert from Germany.
David is still keeping his post-graduation career options open. “There's a lot of different ways I can see myself going and enjoying what I'm doing,” he says. Ultimately, he hopes to help improve policy to build more efficient and sustainable energy infrastructure in the United States. Given David’s demonstrated passion for EAP, we don’t think he’ll have any trouble achieving his goals.
Feel free to contact David to learn more about his research, and stay tuned to hear more about what GEAPS has planned for EAPers next spring!
EAP student reps Alex and David chat at the EAP breakfast this October.
Got a good story?
We're looking for news stories to share in our January dispatch! If you have any press releases, articles, or photos you'd like to see in our next mailing, please send them to our EAP Outreach Assistant, Olivia Sanderfoot.