Energy Internship Program fuels Duke students’ summer learning

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Thursday, Jul 08, 2021 - 10:23 am

Dozens of undergraduate and graduate students from across Duke University are taking deep dives into the energy industry this summer. Many connected with their internship opportunities thanks to the interdisciplinary Energy Internship Program, and 21 received supplementary funding through the program.

Created by the Duke University Energy Initiative in 2019, the program identified more internship listings than ever for summer 2021, including opportunities at start-ups, utilities, renewable energy developers, large firms, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies.

As in the past, students could apply to the Energy Internship Program for financial assistance if offered unpaid or low-paying positions. Thanks to a partnership with the Energy Access Project, some funding was reserved for internships related to energy access or energy transitions in low- and middle-income countries.

Will Slap with his dog Rooney.
Will Slap (MEM/MBA’22) is completing his finance internship with BlocPower remotely, aided by capable office assistant Rooney.

One of the students funded by this year’s program is Will Slap, who is pursuing dual master’s degrees in business administration and environmental management at the Fuqua School of Business and Nicholas School of the Environment. Will is a finance intern at BlocPower, a climate technology startup that retrofits buildings in disadvantaged communities with clean energy projects, helping lower utility bills and create jobs. Founded by Duke University alumnus Donnel Baird (’03), BlocPower has garnered national attention with its creative approach to advancing sustainable energy, energy efficiency, and economic development in American cities.

“I'm able to take the modeling and strategy tools I've learned at Duke and put them to work in service of decarbonizing buildings and expanding access to those who traditionally have been marginalized and left out of the green economy,” Slap reflected. “I'm so grateful to the Energy Initiative, the Fuqua School of Business’s Summer Internship Fund, and the BlocPower team for this opportunity.”

Tina Machado working remotely next to two kittens.
Tina Machado (E’23) appreciates her remote project management internship with Sustaining Way even though some of her coworkers are kind of "catty."

Tina Machado, a rising junior at the Pratt School of Engineering, received funding for her project management internship with Sustaining Way, a nonprofit that uses education, collaboration and advocacy to create sustainable, caring and equitable communities. “I am getting real-life experience working with sustainability and energy efficiency that I would not otherwise have,” reported Machado. “I am making great connections with my coworkers and enjoying every minute of the internship.”

“We want to be able to connect as many Duke students as possible to real-world experiences with the energy industry,” explained Dr. Brian Murray, interim director of the recently merged Energy Initiative and Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. “Thanks to a network of Duke alumni and friends, we’ve been able to match more students to new opportunities. I’m deeply grateful for their generosity and look forward to continuing to grow the Energy Internship Program.”

The Energy Internship Program provided supplementary funding to 21 undergraduate and graduate students in the summer of 2021:

  • Scott Burstein, a rising senior majoring in earth and climate sciences at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, is a summer intern at Standard Normal.
     
  • Jeff Fromuth, who is pursuing a master's degree in environmental management at the Nicholas School of the Environment, is a summer intern at The North Carolina Clean Energy Fund.
     
  • Abhinav Jain, a rising junior majoring in economics at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, is a summer intern at Terrafuse, Inc.
     
  • Rajat Khandelwal, who is pursuing a master’s degree in environmental management at the Nicholas School of the Environment, is a summer intern at the Indo-German Energy Forum. **
     
  • Pierce King, who is pursuing an MBA degree at the Fuqua School of Business, is interning at Clean Energy Ventures.
     
  • Colin Lee, a rising senior studying energy mechanics and geopolitics in the Middle East at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, is a summer intern at Aspire Power Solutions. **
     
  • Harry Lord, who is pursuing a master’s degree in management studies at the Fuqua School of Business, is interning at EQ Research.
     
  • Christina Machado, a rising junior majoring in electrical and computer engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering, is a summer intern at Sustaining Way.
     
  • Kate Neal, a rising junior majoring in environmental sciences at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, is a summer intern at SmartBlock Communities.
     
  • Jonathan Peralta, who is pursuing a master’s degree in environmental management at the Nicholas School of the Environment and an MBA from UNC's Kenan-Flagler School of Business, is a summer intern at Aspire Power Solutions. **
     
  • Hope Pratt, a rising sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering, is a summer intern at Aspire Power Solutions. **
     
  • Jose Pumarejo, who is pursuing an MBA at the Fuqua School of Business and a master’s degree in public policy from the Sanford School of Public Policy, is interning with the Doing Business Project at The World Bank. **
     
  • Casey Schoff, a rising sophomore student majoring in economics and public policy at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, is a summer intern at Ecolytics.
     
  • Swetha Sekhar, a rising sophomore majoring  in mechanical engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering and computer science at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, is a summer intern at Ecolytics.
     
  • Sagar Shah, a rising senior studying public policy at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, is a summer intern with the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program.
     
  • Will Slap, who is pursuing a master’s degree in environmental management from the Nicholas School of the Environment and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business, is a summer intern at BlocPower.
     
  • Ava Weinreb, a rising senior majoring in environmental sciences and policy at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, is a summer intern at Advanced Energy Economy.
     
  • Michael Wood, a rising junior majoring in mechanical engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering, is a summer intern at Varea Energy.
     
  • Katherine Wu, who is pursuing a master’s degree in engineering management at the Pratt School of Engineering, is a summer intern at Lyft.
     
  • Winston Yau, a rising senior majoring in public policy and physics at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, is a summer intern at Prime Impact Fund.
     
  • Erin Yu, a rising sophomore majoring in environmental sciences and policy at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, is a summer intern at SmartBlock Communities.
     

** denotes the student received funding from the Energy Access Project at Duke

Questions about the Energy Internship Program?
Contact Stacy Peterson: stacy.peterson@duke.edu

Want to make a gift to support the Energy Initiative’s educational programming?
You can give online or contact Mary Catherine Hall, Duke Development.



Aug
06
Location: Virtual
Time: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • Assistant Director for Student & Alumni Engagement

    Stacy plans and manages energy education activities across the university.