"The most valuable skill I developed, among many others, was the ability to translate technical and scientific information into a compelling and actionable narrative."
At the time, it didn’t seem like it would amount to anything. It was 2009, and the Energy Institute was not yet formed. Many of us in the Environmental Economics track were craving more curriculum on the confluence of energy and the environment. I expressed my concern to former Energy Institute Director, Andy Bunn, who suggested I consider an independent study to outline additional coursework on energy topics. I heeded Andy’s advice and, together, we created an energy seminar and accompanying field course, kicking-off what would later snowball into the foundation for today’s Institute for Energy Studies.
In the absence of a formal Energy Institute while a student at Western, I found success in exploring the energy, policy and business nexus through the Economics department and the College of the Environment. The most valuable skill I developed, among many others, was the ability to translate technical and scientific information into a compelling and actionable narrative. This is exactly the kind of real world applied learning I believe the Institute imparts on its students.
These skills have helped me to make a positive impact as a Coordinator of Alternative Fuels and Technologies with Western Washington Clean Cities Coalition. Our program, an affiliate of the U.S Department of Energy works directly with fleet managers, technologists and regional policy makers to address our dependence on fossil fuel in transportation. I am so grateful for the experience I gained at WWU and I am quite proud to see the Institute form and prepare others for this exciting and important work.