Experiences as a 2021 Intern at the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis

October 19, 2021—The Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) offers internship opportunities to full-time undergraduate and graduate students every year. This year, JISEA offered four internships remotely. 

“Our interns are the future clean energy workforce,” said Jill Engel-Cox, JISEA director. “They are a critical part of our work at JISEA and advancing our mission to help guide the global energy economy.”

Interns gain access to state-of-art systems and seasoned mentors at JISEA and its partner, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); strengthen technical skills through professional development; work with world-class energy experts; and join a community of fellow interns seeking to make a difference in the world.

The 2021 JISEA interns have a range of research backgrounds and support high-impact, highly interdisciplinary projects.

Christina Simeone

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Christina Simeone

I was intrigued by JISEA’s unique function and perspective within NREL. The institute connects the lab’s world-class researchers with industry and regulatory stakeholders as well as thought leaders from universities. I’m very interested in real-world application of clean energy technologies and policies, so there is no better place to be than JISEA.

The opportunity to be exposed to and work with NREL’s incredible staff of experts has been thrilling. I get to learn something new each day while also contributing to meaningful work that can improve the way humans use energy. I’ve had the chance to explore topics within my background, such as building a computer program to analyze utility rate design options for distributed energy technologies, and beyond my background, such as learning more about transportation electrification system modeling and design. These diverse and rich experiences are contributing to my professional growth. I hope to continue quantitative analysis after completing my PhD in advanced energy systems at Colorado School of Mines.

Brianna Hansen

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Brianna Hansen

I was drawn to JISEA' multidisciplinary research approach to address the future challenges of sustainability. The only way we will be able to create a healthy and fair future for everyone is if we work with everyone and use diverse perspectives and knowledge to study challenges from every angle.

The highlight of my time working with JISEA so far has been the people and the projects. I have many role models at JISEA who have supported me in so many ways throughout this internship. I have really enjoyed working on the circular economy of batteries, wind, and solar and learning a lot about the supply chain of renewable energy technologies and policy. These projects give me a lot of purpose and I know my younger self would be proud knowing that I am helping to create the better future I always dreamed of.

I am currently applying for graduate school with the goal of earning my master’s and doctorate degree. I hope to continue the research I have been doing on these topics far into my future career.

Liz Ross

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Liz Ross

I am being trained as a social psychologist at Colorado State University and interning with JISEA this year. I think it is vitally important for the energy transition to be focused on people. JISEA considers energy, finance, and society in the research they conduct, which is why I was drawn to JISEA and this internship specifically.

I have loved working with NREL researchers who are as excited about integrating society into their research as I am. So far in my internship, I have been able to work on an energy justice project that we hope to publish soon and will help inform renewable energy investment decisions. I hope to continue working on interdisciplinary research projects in which I can leverage my training as a social scientist in aiding and informing energy research. Interdisciplinary research is vitally important to the energy transition because so many fields are relevant to the transition, including engineering, environmental science, atmospheric science, and social science. In the future, I will continue to develop my skills in this area and hope to pursue a career that supports the energy transition.

Emily Lachenmayer

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Emily Lachenmayer

I love the interdisciplinary nature of JISEA and the out-of-the-box yet industry-applicable research. The people have been amazing. Even while being remote, I have met so many friendly people who are very willing to answer any questions I have. It has also been very helpful to hear about everyone’s past research and future projects for me to consider what I want to do. I am working on finishing up my master’s in atmospheric science at Colorado State University and will be continuing for a PhD in my group.

I will apply the systems approach that I learned at JISEA to future research. We need to include all disciplines and perspectives for a just clean energy transition. The world is too complex to be understood by a single mindset or studied by one discipline.

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