Alumni

An alumni database is an extremely valuable resource for Environmental Analysis students in search of jobs, advice, or inspiration. Maintaining alumni bios and updating contact information for hundreds of 5C grads, however, is a webmaster's nightmare. To keep this section hassle-free, we've chosen to organize this page in a blog format, periodically posting updates from EA alums.

If you are an EA alum and would like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you! Email the webmasters.

Spencer Honeyman, PO EA ’08, & Patrick Haesloop, PZ ’08: REviving Our Cities and Ourselves

In an entrepreneurial leap, two recent Claremont graduates, Spencer Honeyman- PO-EA ’08 and Patrick Haesloop- Pitzer ’08, have hatched a company, REvive: Restorative Design for the Urban Habitat that taps into the massive potential for revitilzation of the cityscape through ecologically and psychologically conscious design.
Honeyman and Haesloop argue that our cities do not exist independently of the natural systems in which they reside, nor does our own fulfillment as humans exist independently of our contact with other living beings. One way to reengage these connections is through the informed use of plants will to restore degraded ecosystem health and realign cities with natural processes. Furthermore, in their blurring the boundary between what is ‘city’ and what is ‘nature’, REvive aims to elevate human consciousness. Spaces that clearly inform us as to where we are located on the planet, and that reflect our own mystery, is a key to a inspired, fulfilled human life.
REvive is based out of San Francisco in the Bay Area of California and is creating a niche for itself as a company doing design and build of sustainable exterior and interior landscapes using low-water California Native and Mediterranean species, as well permaculture. Any comments, questions, or inquiries can be directed to Studio@sfurbanhabitat.com.

Jason Clark ’08; Conservation and Land Management Internship

Both Carl Norlen and I got great jobs with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) through the above internship program. They offer 5month internships, with opportunity to extend for an additional 5 months. I was in Wyoming working with sage grouse and Carl was in Alaska working with invasive plants.
If interested go to: http://www.clminternship.org/index.php

Kristen Boysen, EA’10: Antarctic Diary

This is the first of what we hope will a series of reports from Kristen who is spending the next six months doing field research in Antarctica.

Hope all is well in the Northern Hemisphere! Sorry for not getting in touch earlier, but Antarctica is keeping me very busy. After a week of traveling and shopping/packing/organizing for our 6 month stay, we arrived at King George Island almost 2 weeks ago! And now I am in the bunkhouse, watching cape petrels zoom over the blue waters of Admiralty Bay.

Firstly, the penguins. They’re everywhere. There’s a parade past the kitchen every morning as the gentoos come in from their daily krill hunt for krill. I can always hear them chirping, calling, growling, snorting. I would not be surprised if they start talking soon. I talk to them a lot, after all =) I can always smell them too, and am already starting to take on their odor. Better than smelling like fur seals, eh?

The penguins are just starting to lay eggs, so we go out every day to look at our sites to see if any of our penguins have laid. I have come to adopt the penguins’ techniques for standing still in the Antarctic weather. Fuzzy inner layer, waterproof outer layer, slightly hunched posture, Zen with my surroundings. Which isn’t hard, as it’s gorgeous all the time! I would be much more efficient with my penguin rounds if I wasn’t constantly distracted by the cliffs and glaciers and seals and the penguins themselves. “Wow! Look at that!” is my new mantra.

It’s been a warm spring here, actually, and I’m battling mud as much as I’m battling snow. Of course, the mud-over-ice combo is the worst and I have had several close falls, one of which ended with me spread-eagle (spread penguin?), very muddy, and several feet lower than I was moments earlier. The penguins were definitely laughing at me. =) I banded my first bird today! This consists of nabbing a penguin on a nest (but its mate has to be close- as soon as we have the 1st penguin, the mate sits on the nest like this happens all the time). We hold it between our legs, with their flippers right above our knees, and secure the band on the left wing. And penguins are fighters. They are not pleased about being caught like this. They’ll bite anything that comes close—pants, fingers, watches, noses…. I barely survived. But, if you happen across a penguin with band #68864, you’ll know that she nested here, in the Ksiezyc Colony (it means “moon” in Polish). As soon as we let her go (the whole process takes about a minute), the penguin quickly returned to its nest, looking a little ruffled but mostly pleased with itself for escaping from a predator as tall as me. =)…

Chelsea Hodge, PO’ 09: “The Cheapest Source of Clean Power”

As you very well know, the U.S. is in desperate need of clean, cheap sources of energy. Let me pose a question that you probably think you know the answer to: What is the cheapest of those sources? You mull it over a bit in your head. Wind? That’s going down in cost, right? Nope. Then how about large hydro? Uh-uhh. Wave power or algae biofuels? Incorrect. It’s… energy efficiency!

According to a press release published in September 2009 by the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE), “Energy efficiency remains America’s cheapest, cleanest, and fastest energy source for five years running. That’s the conclusion of a new study that shows that the utility cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy efficiency has held steady or even slightly declined at about 2.5 cents over the last half decade, even as the costs for new coal, nuclear, and other supply-side energy alternatives have risen”[1].

Helping electric and gas utility companies and other organizations increase the energy efficiency of their customers is what E Source, the company I work for, specializes in. Though it may sound counter-intuitive for a utility company to encourage their customers to use less energy, decoupling and other creative policy mechanisms have created incentives for utilities to do just that. And sometimes, reducing load can simply be cheaper, or less risky, than building a new power plant.

Utility spending on efficiency programs is no small drop in the bucket. In 2009, the total U.S. utility budget for energy efficiency and load management2 programs was $5.30 billion, or double the $2.65 billion budget for 2006 [2]. I bet you’d be hard pressed to find many other industries that experienced 100% growth over that time period!

Rebates for purchasing energy efficient equipment are the most common and straight-forward mechanism that utilities use to incentivize their customers to use less energy. For example, Southern California Edison, which serves most of the Los Angeles area, including Pomona, offers hundreds of rebates that range from $50 for purchasing an ENERGY STAR room AC unit to $1,260 for premium efficiency 150 horse power motor that an industrial customer might use in a pumping, refrigeration, or heating and air conditioning application.

However, utilities have developed dozens of other programs to encourage customers to increase their energy efficiency. Examples include low-cost or no-cost energy audits, low interest rate loans, free design assistance to help architects and engineers design efficient buildings, incentives for developers to build ENERGY STAR homes, rebates to reduce the cost of tuning-up existing equipment, free weatherization for low-income customers, incentives for appliance recycling, and others. Energy-consumption feedback and behavior change programs are also on the rise. One company of note in this area is OPOWER. They’ve partnered with a number of utilities to send energy use “reports” to residential customers that tell customers not only how much energy they’re using, but how their energy usage compares to that of their neighbors. OPOWER reports that customers that receive such reports consistently reduce their energy use by 1.5% to 3.5% [3]. And it turns out that tactic, called social norming, as well as other forms of community-based social marketing can be extremely effective for tackling myriad environmental issues.

Last but not least, I want to offer a few job tips for all EA majors, not just ones interested in the energy industry. First, I would recommend seeking out small companies and organizations, i.e. those with fewer than 200 or so employees. Though it can be tempting to limit your search to the large, prominent companies, and this is certainly the path of least resistance since these organizations have greater resources to put into recruiting, I have found working at a smaller company to be incredibly rewarding.

Second, do not underestimate the power of networking. If you’re not on LinkedIn, create an account now and connect with everyone you trust. Do informational interviews and get yourself out there.

Third, professional conferences can be a great way to find out what the latest and greatest is in your field of interest. Attending in person is ideal, since this will give you the opportunity to meet with potential employers face-to-face. Though conferences are expensive, there are ways to bring down the cost. Attend for just a day, look for conferences that have special rates for students, or request a student discount even if one isn’t explicitly advertised. Many conferences also post presentations and/or conference papers on their websites for free. These typically include names and contact numbers, and might just be the first step towards getting your foot in the door. Organizations that organize conferences in the energy efficiency sector include American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), the Association of Energy Service Professionals (AESP), the International Energy Program Evaluation Conference (IEPEC), E Source, and many others.

Lastly, drop any grudge you have against working in the business sector. I went into my job search thinking that the only way I would be able to do meaningful, socially responsible work would be to stick to nonprofits and academia. This, however, is flat-out wrong.

Good luck with your job search and feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my job or the energy efficiency industry more generally:

  • 303-345-9138 (work).

[1] American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. September 2009. http://www.aceee.org/press/u092pr.htm

[2] The State of the Efficiency Program Industry: Budgets, Expenditures, and Impacts 2009. Consortium for Energy Efficiency. http://www.cee1.org/files/StateofEEIndustry2009.pdf

[3] http://www.opower.com/Results/Overview.aspx

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