Abigail Mechtenberg

International Sustainable Development Researcher of ND Energy and Assistant Teaching Professor of Physics, University of Notre Dame

“Energy E3: Education, Engineering-design, and Entrepreneurship”


Energy E3 enables energy education, engineering design and entrepreneurship by collaborating with resident technical experts to locally educate, prototype, design, build, install, maintain and create business ventures, as well as ways to propagate this renewable energy R&D project. Asset-based "so-called" international development theories frame this research within the constraints of locally-sourced materials and resident brilliance.  After ten years in Uganda, the Energy E3 program has begun in Rwanda, Nigeria, and Haiti. Mechtenberg will present the three levels of electricity generating devices and the technician expertise needed to locally build microgrids, as well as present one patentable design (weaved wind turbine blades). This is the basis of the Empowering Nations to Power their Nation R&D program and includes changing U.S. energy curriculum as well. Demonstrations of energy prototypes are presented throughout the presentation (from gravity light to concentrating solar power generator). In conclusion, Mechtenberg's propagation network model will be briefly presented in terms of experimental design energy education pedagogies, electricity and health care research results, renewable energy minigrid simulations, wealth inequality econophysics modeling, as well as future energy accelerator business competitions.


Abigail Mechtenberg is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Physics and International Sustainable Development Researcher for ND Energy. She publishes in research that focuses on understanding that national security and environmental stability rely on multiple criteria optimization of energy production, storage and consumption within a complex system of global networks: social, natural and engineered. Specifically working with counterparts in low-to-middle-income countries (LMICs), Mechtenberg leads ND Energy’s international efforts to support the University’s mission and Catholic identity through her Energy E3 program: energy education, engineering design and entrepreneurship. However, she also works with medical professionals from Harvard Medical School to Mulago Hospital on hidden energy costs associated with electricity failures in LMICs health care facilities among other research projects at the intersection of energy, security, and stability. She earned her M.Ed in Physics Education from University of California, Santa Barbara, a M.S. in "pure" Physics and Ph.D. in "Applied" Physics from the University of Michigan and a Post Doc in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering on Design and Control Optimization as it relates to hybrid vehicles and mini-grids.