Campus Outreach by ND Energy

Distinguished Lecture Series ’16-‘17: The Solar Series

This year’s distinguished lecture series evolved out of a survey showing that the number one energy topic of interest to students was solar energy. Beginning during Energy Week in October and finishing up just after spring break, four events examined solar from a variety of angles: policy, technology, history, business, even psychology. 

Solar Panel Energy Week 2016

A Solar Panel: Making Solar Power a Reality brought together three panelists for a discussion about the technological, business, and policy sides of the future of solar power. Dr. Randall Ellingson, professor from The University of Toledo, Nicholas Strevel, senior manager from First Solar, and Joseph Karrasch, manager of asset investments/renewables from American Electric Power (AEP) offered their views of the current and future state of solar energy in the United States.

George Howard 1

Got Married, Bought Solar: Which Was the Bad Decision? featured George S. Howard, PhD, professor emeritus in Notre Dame’s Department of Psychology. The author of many books and articles that investigate ecological psychology, Howard also has hands-on business experience through his interaction with Inovateus Solar. His presentation explored the complexities of convincing ourselves to invest in solar as individuals and as a society.

Subash Shinde 1

Concentrating Solar Power, presented by ND Energy’s own Dr. Subhash L. Shinde. He was able to share knowledge he gained working at Sandia National Laboratories and addressing the different Concentrating Solar Power technologies and plants currently operating in the US, as well as the research and development activities to increase efficiency and reduce cost and risk.

Prashant Kamat 1

Making Cents Out of Solar was presented by Dr. Prashant Kamat, Rev. John A. Zahm Professor of Science in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Radiation Laboratory, and Concurrent Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He shared some of the history from his nearly thirty years of research in developing nanomaterials for cleaner and more efficient light energy conversion as well as his vision for future research in photovoltaics.

What’s It Really Like?: Careers in Energy

This year, ND Energy collaborated with Notre Dame’s Career Center to help undergraduates sort through choices in the growing energy sector. During the month of February, students met in small groups with energy professionals to ask about the details of their work lives. Those who are reluctant to ask questions at a large lecture were grateful for the opportunity to ask more personalized questions. This is the second year for this initiative, organized with the help of the Student Energy Board.

Participants included:

  • Lisa Zyonse, Pennie Waggener, and Jordan Ridenour: Consumers Energy
  • Magaret Merkel and Sean McCloskey, Naval Nuclear Lab
  • John Kinney- Director, Advanced Technology Business Development, General Electric Aviation
  • Therese Dorau, Director of Sustainability, City of South Bend
  • Vince Barletto, Sr. Project Engineer, Cypress Creek Renewables
  • Subhash Shinde, Associate Director of ND Energy; formerly Research and Development Manager at Sandia National Labs and Senior Scientist/Engineer at IBM
  • Thomas Degnan, Tony and Sarah Earley Professor of Energy and the Environment, Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; formerly of ExxonMobil and 3M
  • Katie Otterbeck- Campaign Organizer at Impact/Environment Colorado

Student Energy Board: Filling a Niche

There are many students at Notre Dame who are very interested in energy but unable to fit the Energy Studies minor into their schedules. Engineers in particular have a heavy course load with little room for courses outside of their requirements. In order to serve this group, ND Energy’s Student Energy Board (SEB) has expanded beyond the traditional advisory capacity to include more opportunities in education and outreach for students. This year’s board is comprised of 16 “core” leaders plus 33 additional members who participate as they are able. Every college and class is represented.

In addition to its traditional role in planning and implementing Energy Week, this year the SEB provided judges for the Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair, developed energy-related lesson plans for use with K-12 students, taught energy transformation in a local fourth grade classroom, and volunteered at Science Alive! in downtown South Bend and at the Undergraduate Research Expo on campus. A committee helped with the organization and implementation of What’s It Really Like in February, ensuring that participants knew where and when to attend nine different discussions on careers in energy. The newest initiative has been a discussion group that meets to discuss various current energy topics, including a recent “documentary watch.” As the year winds down, they will brainstorm and begin to outline next fall’s Energy Week.

Meet the members of the 2017 Core Leadership Board:

Alex Baumann, '19, Business
Emily Black, '20, Engineering
Justin Blake, '19, Engineering
Matthew Chamberlain, '19, Engineering
Marion Delaney, '19, Engineering
Allie Hidalgo, '19, Business
John Higham, 18, Engineering
Christopher Hume, '18, Engineering
Patricia    Kay, '17, Engineering
MacKenna Kelleher, '18, Business
Erika Kim, '20, Engineering
Ellen Londergan, '18, Engineering
Stephen Muldoon, ’18, Business
Natalie Rivas, '20, Engineering
Tansy Wang, '19, Engineering
Kevin Weaver, 18, Engineering
Yilong Yang, '18, Arts and Letters, Science

ND Energy is a University Research Center whose mission is to build a better world by creating new energy technologies and systems and educating individuals to help solve the most critical energy challenges facing our world today. For more information, visit the ND Energy website at or contact Barbara Villarosa, Business and Communications Program Director, at or 574-631-4776.