Coon Valley, WI
Bachelor’s degree in art history and religion, Cornell College 2013; sustainable energy certificate, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Energy analysis and policy; sustainable energy; zero carbon economies
Expected graduation date
Why the La Follette School?
The Energy Analysis and Policy (EAP) track with the Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies is the reason why I applied. Having spent several years working on energy issues in Wisconsin and Alaska, it was clear that an ethical and expedient transition would require generalists and specialists in the sustainable energy field. The EAP certificate offers flexibility by opening up departments across campus. The La Follette School also provides a robust independent study structure that allows you to pair personal interests and experiences with real-world clients that make the classroom material that much more enriching.
To increase clean-energy generation adoption and build resilience in our economies by transitioning our systems to net-zero carbon. I expect that it will require collaborating across public, nonprofit, and private entities to make it happen. I hope that it will involve working with farmers, community members, utilities, and entrepreneurs.
How has the La Follette School set you on the path to meeting your career goals?
Energy Analysis and Policy (PA 809) taught by Professor Greg Nemet was an excellent survey of the energy and policy field broadly. The course included an essential set of tools and skills to support further study of our energy systems, the challenges each system faces, and how to evaluate predictions about energy trends going forward. I can see coming back to the collection of readings from the course as a refresher often.
During the 2020–21 academic year, I have assisted with introductory social policy courses in the Department of Social Work. Being a teaching assistant for classes that introduce students to the policymaking process has added an enormous amount of value to my own coursework. By stepping back each week and working with the students, you get a chance to look at the big picture—something that can be lost when you're focused on one's particular area of interest.
How has the La Follette School changed the way you think about public policy?
With no prior substantive professional or academic engagement with public policy, I have gained an enormous amount of clarity and depth to the subject. Being able to bring together my experience working with renewable energy technologies and the policy lessons from the EAP Program will be incredibly valuable as I move forward in my career.
Before the La Follette School
My past and current work supports the development of clean energy projects at public and nonprofit entities in Wisconsin. Much of the state's growth in distributed energy resources has come at the higher-income residential, large commercial, and utility levels. Rural, agricultural, and public facilities are lagging national and regional trends for deploying of clean energy technologies. I hope to build on this work during and after my time at the La Follette School.
Over the last eight months, two recent and current UW–Madison graduate students and I have helped the Dane County Office of Climate Change and Energy compile and analyze energy and water usage. The effort is the first step in helping the county meet its 2050 carbon-neutral goal by establishing a benchmark for emissions and consumption.