Largest cohort of energy studies minor students graduate in class of 2020

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Twenty-seven undergraduate students from the University of Notre Dame have completed the requirements of the Energy Studies Minor (ESM). Administered by ND Energy, the minor graduated its largest cohort in the history of the program.

The class of 2020 represents 17 different majors in four colleges: the College of Arts and Letters, College of Engineering, College of Science, and Mendoza College of Business. Students completed coursework ranging in topics from alternative energy technologies to the geopolitical and ethical consequences of energy choices made by societies. The graduates networked with others who were similarly passionate about climate change and the new policies and technologies that would be needed to transition to a sustainable energy economy.

In discussing the graduates, Peter C. Burns, Henry J. Massman Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences and Director of ND Energy, said, “The integrated approach of the minor is extremely important for pursuing successful careers in an increasingly complex world. Examining energy from multiple perspectives enables students to be more creative and effective in developing sustainable energy solutions.”

Students completed a capstone experience that was meaningful to their future goals and aspirations. Many students traveled to Puerto Rico, Cuba, New Zealand, Iceland, Uganda, Nepal, Nicaragua, Malaysia, or Appalachia to explore the complexities of energy challenges in cultural contexts. Other students conducted solar, nuclear, and wind research on campus. And some participated in internships with major companies.

The ESM allowed me to engage with issues that I was unable to access in other dimensions of my education. Instead of discussing policy issues and energy issues in an abstract sense, I was able to understand and evaluate the science behind energy sources, the business side of the energy sector, and think critically about how science can inform policy decisions. It has been truly indispensable,” said Kyersten Siebenaler, international economics major and Fulbright fellowship awardee.

The minor is open to undergraduate students in all majors at Notre Dame. It is intended to prepare students to become successful leaders who understand the complexities of the world’s energy challenges and, through a holistic approach, help move the world toward a more sustainable energy future for all. Since the minor began in 2012, there have been 132 graduates.


Anne Berges Pillai / Education and Outreach Associate Program Director
Center for Sustainable Energy (ND Energy) / University of Notre Dame / 574-631-9106

About ND Energy:

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.