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Previous Winners: Meet the Team

Previous Winners


Katie DeSpain

2021 Undergraduate Scholarship Winner

Daimler Scholarship Winner

Katie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rice University in May 2021 with a bachelor's in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Certificate in Engineering Leadership. She is currently a Senior Analyst in the Renewable Development department at Invenergy, where she works to develop large-scale solar and battery storage projects. Katie grew up in Portland, OR and has always had a love of the outdoors and a respect for nature. Her goal when she decided to pursue engineering was to have a positive impact on the planet and the people who live here, which is something she finds purpose and meaning in through her career in the renewable energy industry. She is proud that her scholarship from RESF allowed her to pursue her passions and help create a clean energy future.


Mia Hocking

2021 Undergraduate Scholarship Winner

Mia Hocking is a student at Lane Community College (LCC) pursuing an A.A. degree in Energy Management. Mia has accumulated an eclectic portfolio of knowledge and experiences along her career path including a B.S. in Business Management and accreditation in the visual arts. In retrospect, each of these endeavors led to her current position as Resource Conservation Manager (RCM) with the Hillsboro School District. In a non-traditional model, she enrolled in the LCC Energy Management after accepting the RCM with the school district knowing her new education would prove invaluable to the district and the community it serves.

Mia plans to continue her RCM work with the Hillsboro School District with a focus on improving the district’s energy profile, affecting long-lasting improvements to our energy policy. As a government organization, the school district seeks to be a leader in environmental stewardship. School Districts need energy champions! Opportunities such as investing in renewable energy is key towards reducing the impact on our climate and the sustainability of a healthy Earth.


Nathan Stovall

2021 Undergraduate Scholarship Winner

Nathan is a third-year undergraduate at the University of Oregon, pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Legal Studies. During his time at UO he has worked in Prof. Shannon Boettcher’s lab, studying renewable energy technologies. Specifically, he has worked to optimize water electrolysis, a process in which renewable energy can be used to evolve hydrogen gas, which can subsequently be pressurized and stored for later use as a clean energy source. The development of this technology will be critical in the widescale implementation of wind and solar power devices, which are currently limited due to their intermittent energy production and lack of energy storage mechanism. His research has primarily worked to decrease the costs of the catalyst material in proton-exchange-membrane water electrolyzers. Additionally, he is now working to understand the failure mechanisms in anion-exchange-membrane water electrolyzers, a competing electrolyzer technology. Upon completing his undergraduate degree, Nathan plans to pursue a doctoral degree in inorganic/materials chemistry where he can continue studying renewable energy technologies. Additionally, he hopes to become an advocate for environmentally friendly, and science-based public policy.


Courtney Beringer

2021 Graduate Scholarship Winner

Courtney is a PhD student in Coastal and Ocean Engineering at Oregon State University. She is passionate about developing marine renewable energy to mitigate climate change through environmentally and socially just means. Her current work is developing a laboratory scaled wave energy converter (WEC) to lower cost barriers to experimental testing and increase access to well-characterized models and data. She recently led the OSU Marine Energy Collegiate Competition team which designed a WEC to provide a long-term, cost-effective, sustainable solution to ocean observation. Courtney believes K-12 outreach is important for engaging the next generation of students in renewable energy. She has helped develop a WEC DIY kit made out of simple materials and a marine energy curriculum for teachers to incorporate into their classes. Courtney hopes to continue work in marine renewable energy after her PhD through a tenure track faculty position where she can do research, teach, and mentor students.

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David Evitt

2021 Graduate Scholarship Winner

AEE Scholarship Winner

David is a first-year graduate student in Mechanical Engineering in Dr. Nordica MacCarty’s Humanitarian Engineering Lab at Oregon State University. His research focus is optimizing fan-driven jets of air in the combustion chambers of wood cooking and heating stoves to reduce particulate (smoke) emissions and fuel use for families around the world. This builds on his work for the Aprovecho Research Center supporting the development of the Jet-Flame forced-air cookstove accessory that can reduce particulate emissions by as much as 94% in lab tests. David’s interest in biomass stoves began when he lived in Guatemala and co-founded the Estufa Doña Dora clean-cookstove business. He thinks of biomass as the original solar-energy-storage solution. For billions of people around the world it is the only local, renewable, climate-friendly energy source available. In advanced economies household-scale clean-burning biomass can complement solar and wind with sustainable heating or combined heat and power in the winter. His professional goal is to continue inventing and innovating to realize the potential of a sustainable biomass economy and build a future without smoke in the home.


Khoa Le

2021 Graduate Scholarship Winner

Khoa N. Le is a PhD candidate in Dr. Christopher Hendon’s lab at the University of Oregon. Khoa’s research focuses on using Density Functional Theory (DFT) to study the electronic properties of conductive metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). These materials are known to have large surface area due to their porous structure. The high surface area could increase the storage capacity and efficiency of energy devices. His study focuses on understanding the fundamental principles that allow these materials to be conductive and invokes design principles to enhance these materials’ conductivity so that they can be used in energy storage applications. His findings will aid the development and design of MOF-based electronics.

Other than his research, he is an Executive Board Member of

LGBT+inSTEM and DuckREFs working to advocate for increasing diversity.


Liam Twight

2021 Graduate Scholarship Winner

Sir Fraser Stoddart Scholarship Winner

Liam is a PhD student in Prof. Shannon Boettcher’s research group at University of Oregon. He studies metal oxides used in the production of environmentally friendly hydrogen fuels using renewable electricity. These materials act as catalysts; they lower the energy requirement and therefore increase the efficiency of hydrogen production. While initially prepared as crystalline, highly ordered materials, they display a tendency to transform at their surface to disordered structures when electrified.  Liam’s research aims to fully characterize the microscopic details of this surface restructuring and correlate them to the catalytic ability of the metal oxides to guide intelligent design of hydrogen producing devices. After earning his PhD, Liam’s goal is to continue renewable energy research in the private sector. He is active in promoting science outreach as a classroom aid at the Eugene Science Center and a mentor for undergraduate researchers at UO as well as a multi-university collaboration aimed at increasing participation of underrepresented students in STEM graduate programs.


Reece Carpenter

2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Winner

Reece is an undergraduate at Western Washington University pursuing a double major in Energy Science and Technology and German with a minor in Energy Policy. She has always been passionate about the environment and is determined to help create a world in which we only use renewable energy, in order to reduce carbon emissions and promote a sustainable future. With experience in the policy side of environmentalism through an internship with the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, as well as a study abroad year in Austria with Rotary Youth Exchange, Reece is determined to someday work with the United Nations with the intent to make an impact on global energy consumption and fight against climate change. In her free time, she volunteers regularly with her local Rotaract club as the club's president and is a mentor for current and future Rotary Exchange students in her area. She is also a coordinator for her university's "Women+ In Energy Mentoring Network" club, which helps connect women and other underrepresented individuals with professionals and opportunities in the energy field. Through her involvement with Rotary, Rotaract, and Rotary International. Reece has been able to experience a variety of different cultures, as well as their interaction with their energy consumption first hand. She is motivated to find a career in which she can apply her knowledge of German, encourage the community to switch to sustainable habits, and innovate efficient energy technology to ensure a safe and green future.


Alexi Overland

2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Winner

Alexi attends the University of Oregon and is pursuing a B.S. in chemistry and environmental science. She has been involved in undergraduate research since her freshman year and currently works in the Brozek lab researching metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and their potential applications for renewable and sustainable energy. Specifically, she works with titanium-based MOFs, atomically precise alternatives to titanium dioxide, as catalysts for solar-driven sustainable transformations. They envision these MOFs playing a crucial part in decreasing the cost and environmental hazards of conventional catalysts. Additionally, understanding the photooxidative reactivity of their materials could pave a way for their use in degrading and recycling plastics that pollute our oceans and the environment. Alexi hopes to pursue a career that will allow her to continue to create and research materials that have the potential to mitigate our carbon footprint and create greener and more sustainable processes.


Ali Trueworthy

2020 Graduate Scholarship Winner

Sir Fraser Stoddart Scholar

Ali is a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters student in the Environmental Arts and Humanities program at Oregon State University. She does design engineering research and science communication within the Pacific Marine Energy Center. As a researcher in the Design Engineering Lab, Ali researches how designers can develop better systems, specifically, wave energy devices. In the coming years of her PhD, Ali hopes to do research that increases our understanding of how marine renewable energy can address climate change, and how designers of marine renewable energy systems can approach the technology such that it emerges as something nourishing to all. Inspired by the ways of thinking and creating that she learns from the arts and humanities and motivated by the possibilities of blending disciplines, Ali strives to understand the whole picture of how renewable energy could impact our climate, environment, and culture. 


Grace Lindquist

2020 Graduate Scholarship Winner

Grace Lindquist is a Chemistry PhD candidate Prof. Shannon Boettcher’s lab at the University of Oregon. Her research focuses on anion exchange membrane water electrolysis technology. She is working to identify and understand key degradation pathways during electrolyzer operation with pure and dirty water feed. In addition to her research, Grace leads the UO’s Mad Duck Science Day, a program that provides lab-based science education to local middle school students, and is a part of the UO Summer Academy to Inspire Learning (SAIL). Grace’s goal after earning her PhD is to work in science policy advising on renewable energy technology implementation at a state or national level.


Ishaan Bhimani

2019 Undergraduate Scholarship Winner

Ishaan is a combined BS/MS student at the University of Washington studying electrical engineering with a concentration in power electronics. He has been involved with the EcoCar Mobility Challenge competition, and has interned at Tesla, working to test and validate solar energy products. In addition to his engineering activities, Ishaan has engaged in activism for renewable energy. He was part of a campus-wide movement to encourage the UW to convert to 100% renewable energy, and he even helped organize and spoke at 2 press conferences supporting statewide renewable energy legislation. Ishaan hopes to use his engineering talents to help integrate renewables into the grid and combat climate change.


Kathryn Corp

2019 Scholarship Winner

Co-Sir Fraser Stoddart Scholar

Kathryn graduated with her PhD in chemistry from the University of Washington in the fall of 2019 and moved to Berkeley, CA to start her career as a Senior Engineer at Opus 12. Opus 12 is a spin-out from research done at Stanford University and was grown at Cyclotron Road (a business accelerator at Berkeley National Lab). Opus 12 converts CO2 into commodity chemicals – turning pollution and waste into a profit stream and cleaner air. Kathryn is thrilled to be putting her chemistry degree to use in a field that will have a huge impact on the climate for future generations.


Michael Enright

2019 Scholarship Winner

Co-Sir Fraser Stoddart Scholar

Michael Enright is an assistant professor of chemistry at Western Washington University. He leads a research team working to synthesize nanomaterials for sustainable solutions through energy solar energy conversion. Previously, Michael was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign working with Prof. Ralph Nuzzo on the development of luminescent solar concentrators. He earned his doctorate in chemistry with Prof. Brandi Cossairt at the University of Washington in June 2019 for his work on the Synthesis of Colloidal Semiconductor Heterostructures. Michael first developed his interests in renewable energy research and chemistry as an undergraduate at Ripon College in Wisconsin. 

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Michael Nellist

2018 Scholarship Winner 

Sir Fraser Stoddart Scholar

Michael earned his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Oregon in 2018. He is motivated by the need to generate cleaner energy from renewable sources, as well as finding new ways to store that energy. Photoelectrochemical water splitting provides one promising route to do this, by capturing the energy from the sun and converting it into energy dense hydrogen fuel. His research investigated these systems using novel microscopy approaches that provided insight into the mechanisms by which water splitting takes place. This knowledge can be applied to make more efficient photoelectrochemical water splitting devices. Michael earned his bachelor degree in Chemistry at the State University of New York, College at Geneseo.  He now works at Intel.


Teresa Wang

2018 Undergraduate Scholarship Winner

Teresa graduated from the University of Washington in 2018 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Resource Management, and minor in Architecture and a minor in Urban Ecological Design. At UW, she was heavily involved with UW Solar, a student group which promotes solar energy installations on UW campus and in the greater Seattle area. She was also involved with the International Forestry Students’ Association, which works to promote the practice and education of sustainable natural resource use in both the local and international community. Additionally, she was a part of the Hydro-biogeochemistry Research Group at UW. Teresa now works as a Sustainability Consultant at Rushing Company, a MEP engineering consulting firm in Seattle.


Forrest Laskowski

2017 Scholarship Winner

Forrest received the award during his PhD at the University of Oregon, working in Shannon Boettcher's lab. His research focused on understanding the junction dynamics of photoelectrochemical cells for hydrogen evolution. He examined the semiconductor-catalyst junction of various photoanodes (i.e. n-Si, BiVO , Fe O ), both through experiment and computation, to identify key junction properties which produce efficient solar cells. Forrest's research ultimately revealed novel design principles for producing highly efficient photoelectrochemical energy storage cells ( After completing his PhD, Forrest accepted a postdoctoral research position at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) where he currently works on next generation batteries in Kimberly See's research lab.


Dustin Welch García

2017 Scholarship Winner

Dustin finished his PhD at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. His research asked when and why NGO-led electrification programs catalyzed innovation in large-scale, public/private solar energy projects. Dustin now leads a consultancy, Ghost Grid | Consulting. This new venture builds upon his 10+ years of experience in the clean energy and development space. The services provided by his interdisciplinary consulting team include: research and programmatic evaluations, ethnographic fieldwork, data management, visualization, and analysis, as well as special projects that fall outside these areas.


Carolyn Virca

2016 Scholarship Winner

Carolyn received her bachelor of science from the University of Portland in 2013. She went on to graduate school at Portland State University where she joined the lab of Dr. Theresa McCormick studying artificial photosynthesis. During her time at PSU she founded the Portland State Women in STEM group and served as its President for three years. Carolyn earned her PhD in 2018 and moved to the University of British Columbia, where she worked in Dr. Curtis Burlinguette’s lab as a Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute Fellow studying machine learning. Her research interests include transition metal chemistry, catalysis, computational chemistry and photochemistry. She is currently employed at Intel.

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John Todd

2009 Scholarship Winner

John received his Master of Science in Forestry from the University of Montana in 2010.  During his time at UM's College of Forestry and Conservation, John studied the social acceptance of biomass energy in Montana at a time when its utility in Big Sky Country was under close, public scrutiny. Today, John is the Deputy Director for the Montana Wilderness Association where he puts his background in policy and public opinion to use in campaigns and programs that protect Montana's wild lands and outdoor traditions. When he's not working to protect the backcountry, you can find John, his wife, their two daughters and faithful bird dog in some of Montana's last, best places.


Oisik Das

2008 Scholarship Winner

Oisik earned his PhD from the Centre for Advanced Composite Materials (CACM) at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. His research was focused on the utilization of biochar (obtained from pyrolysis/thermo-chemical conversion of lignocellulosic wastes) in areas of biocomposite development. Oisik did his postdoc at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, where he researched bio-based polymers and means to enhance their performance properties. Oisik received a master degree from Washington State University. He served MMU University, Ambala, India as Assistant Professor.  


Oisik is an Assistant Professor at Luleå University of Technology in Sweden and his research interests pertain to the development of high-value carbon materials for biocomposite applications.

 Honorable Mentions

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2021 Honorable Mentions

All 2021 Honorable Mentions received a check for $200, plus autographed copies of All-Electric America, donated by co-author and Board Member Leah Parks, and Losing Earth: A Recent History, donated by author Nathaniel Rich.

<------   Eddie Kelinsky, Lewis and Clark Law School

Paris Myers, Undergraduate Student, Oregon State University   ----->

<-----  Duncan Reece, Graduate Student, University of Washington


2020 Honorable Mentions

<------   Raina Krivina, Graduate Student, University of Oregon

Heather Miller, Graduate Student, Oregon State University   ------>

<------  Walid Mouss, Undergraduate Student, University of Washington

Jordan Raymond, Graduate Student, Washington State University   ------>

<------   Irving Rettig, Graduate Student, Portland State University​


2019 Honorable Mentions

<-------  Ashley Berninghausen, Graduate Student, Oregon State University

Ryan Hagmann, Undergraduate Student, Western Washington University   ------>

Daniel Kelly, Undergraduate Student, Southern Oregon University

<--------   Erin Peiffer, Graduate Student, Oregon State University

Brian Pinkard, Graduate Student, University of Washington   ------->

<--------   Elizabeth Rasmussen, Graduate Student, University of Washington

Anton Resing, Undergraduate Student, University of Washington

Eden Rivers, Undergraduate Student, University of Washington   ------->

<--------   Zachary Taie, Graduate Student, Oregon State University

Ali Trueworthy, Graduate Student, Oregon State University   -------->

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