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Explore Energy is an effort of the Precourt Institute for Energy, which is part of the Doerr School of Sustainability.

Current Cohort

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Sweekar Bengaluru

Sweekar Bengaluru is a first year masters student in Mechanical Engineering (ME) at Stanford School of Engineering. He is focused on developing advanced energy systems, which not only helps decarbonize energy landscape but also performs better than many of the existing energy systems. He was associated with Caterpillar Inc., before joining Stanford as graduate student. At Caterpillar, he was a thermal simulation engineer who was responsible for developing natural gas engines with reduced emissions and improved performance. At Stanford, Sweekar is one of the founding student leaders of Stanford Hydrogen Club. He is also the winner of Enroads Climate Challenge and has also donned the role of project lead for Stanford Energy Club.

Sweekar is excited to spend summer with Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) where he will be working with Kotzebue Electric Association to explore technological horizons in utilizing clean energy resources and evaluating potential of hydrogen for long duration storage solution by running techno-economic feasibility modelling and comparing with other long term storage options. In his free time, he loves to hike, camp or play badminton.

Justin Bracci

Justin Bracci is a PhD student in Energy Resources Engineering (ERE) at the Stanford School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences. Justin’s PhD research is focused on decarbonization of energy systems using clean hydrogen technologies. He is especially interested in transportation sector decarbonization pathways and how clean hydrogen can be utilized in a low-cost manner. Justin holds his MS in Energy Resources Engineering from Stanford University, and a BS in Environmental Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Justin is excited to work at the California Air Resources Board as a Shultz Fellow in the Summer of 2022. He will be analyzing the role fuel prices play in consumer choice of a zero-emission vehicle.

Paula Charles

Paula Charles is a first-year MS student in the Atmosphere/Energy program within the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. Prior to joining Stanford, she earned a Master’s Level degree in Clean Energies and Technological Innovation at Ecole Polytechnique (France). Her work experience in sustainability consulting companies - Altanova in New York City and Enea Consulting in Paris - has granted her an overview of the challenges behind the energy transition. She particularly focused on integrating microgrids into the NY electric grid. She is now excited to focus on climate and energy policy, economics, and law, both at Stanford and during her Shultz fellowship: this summer, Paula will be interning at the Hawai'i Public Utilities Commission. She will contribute to the development of electricity policies in the State of Hawaii through work related to distributed energy resources. During her free time, Paula loves hiking and backpacking, and she plays handball in a club. 

Allison Chow

Allison Chow (she/her) is a first year Master’s student in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at Stanford University. She is in the Atmosphere/Energy program, where she studies energy systems at the intersection of climate and equity. At Stanford, Allison interns for the CEE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee and volunteers with student groups such as Students for Affordability and Engineering Students for DEI. She also collaborates with Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition alongside a Stanford research team evaluating labor practices in the solar photovoltaics sector. This summer, Allison will intern with Commissioner Darcie L. Houck at the California Public Utilities Commission, where she will assist on the Tribal Land Transfer Policy and other policies addressing tribal consultation and utility rate affordability.

Kapil Dheeriya headshot

Kapil Dheeriya is a first-year undergraduate studying Physics and Public Policy with a concentration in Resources, Environment, and Energy Policy. He is passionate about combining his background in science, engineering, and policy to create more effective science-based policy solutions to obstacles facing the clean energy transition. He first discovered his interest in climate and energy policies when he served in policy research and advisory roles to legislative offices at the state and federal levels. Raised in the Los Angeles Area, he is interested in shaping policies surrounding grid reliability, electrification of the transportation sector, and critical mineral supply chains amidst California’s rapidly evolving energy mix. And as a physics student, he is also interested in the future of nuclear power from both scientific and policy standpoints. Kapil is excited to spend his summer in Sacramento working with the California Energy Commission, Office of Chair David Hochschild, where he will be evaluating the potential for lithium extraction from geothermal brines in California’s Salton Sea.

Jill Ferguson headshot

Jill Grey Ferguson, from Huddleston, Virginia, is pursuing a PhD in environment and resources at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program at Stanford School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences. Her mission is to realize a future in which building energy upgrades capitalized by utilities on equitable and inclusive terms can strengthen local workforce and tangibly improve the lives of everyone they serve. She is the co-founder of LibertyHomes which scales inclusive financing systems that make home energy upgrades accessible to all people without credit checks, upfront cost, or debt. Prior to LibertyHomes, she was a Truman Fellow at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy where she led the Rural Research Initiative. She has worked in the US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative as a solar technology fellow and as a photovoltaic cell researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned a bachelor of science in material science engineering from the University of Virginia. This summer, Jill will be working with the California Public Utilities Commission, Office of Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen evaluating various policy tools for reducing California's reliance on natural gas and accelerating electrification in the power, building and transportation sectors.

Akruti Gupta headshot

Akruti Gupta (she/her) is a Master's student in the Atmosphere/Energy program in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from UCLA. After working for several years as an engineer at an additive manufacturing company and volunteering for environmental non-profit groups, Akruti decided to pivot professionally into the energy industry. At Stanford, she is now focused on deepening her understanding of the link between social justice and environmental justice in the current energy landscape, honing her technical skills, and learning about the importance of policy in driving an equitable transition to a decarbonized energy system. Akruti is excited to spend this summer at the California Energy Commission, Office of Vice Chair Siva Gunda working at the energy-equity nexus.

Jake Hofgard headhot

Jake Hofgard is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in mathematics, with minors in computer science and history. Within those three disciplines, he aims to understand large-scale energy systems from a technical perspective without forgetting the immense impact that energy policy has on our everyday lives. Through his work with Stanford Data and Mapping for Society during the past two years, Jake has explored the crossroads of energy policy, data science, and mathematics. He is excited to take that experience with him to the Western Interstate Energy Board this summer. More broadly, he hopes to utilize his technical background in mathematics and computer science to better understand the impact that climate change has on large-scale energy systems in the Western United States.

In his free time, Jake enjoys hiking, trail-running, mountain biking, and rock climbing, both in his home state of Colorado and near Stanford. On top of that, he will never turn down an opportunity to learn about the history of the American West.

Keola Iskandar headshot

Keola Iskandar is a first-year MS student in the Environmental Engineering program within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, focusing on Hydrology and Water Resources. Before Stanford, he was a Peace Corps volunteer supporting community development efforts in East Timor through microfinance, agriculture, and water projects. Through his graduate studies, he is interested in understanding the water-energy nexus and sustainable resource management to achieve an equitable society. Keola will be working with the City of Palo Alto Utilities this summer as the Karl Knapp Energy Fellow in City Government and is excited about the opportunity to work with the city in achieving its sustainability goals.

Jack Kessler headshot

Jack Kessler is a first year M.S. student in the Sustainable Design and Construction program, which resides within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Jack’s coursework mainly focuses on the planning, design, construction, and operation of an energy efficient and renewably powered built environment. Prior to Stanford, Jack worked at Jones Lang LaSalle in New York for three years, where he provided energy and sustainability consulting services to a diverse institutional client base. Projects included LEED certification services, New York City Local Law 97 forecasting and compliance, tenant energy audits, and many others. Jack received his B.S. in Mathematics from Boston College in 2018. He is excited to work as a Shultz Fellow at the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) this summer. He will operate within the Program Analysis and Administration team, where he will develop methods to identify and track patterns in common root causes, operational issues, and defective internal controls contributing to reliability and security risks in the Western Interconnection.

David Lee headshot

David Lee is a second-year undergraduate pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Systems Engineering, a minor in Computer Science, and a minor in Psychology. His interests are in sustainable design, proper climate change communication, and renewable energy efforts. Since being at Stanford, he has done AI research related to environmental policy regulation, which has furthered his appeal toward exploring climate/energy solutions that meet at the intersection of technology and public policy. Eventually, he anticipates to enter the environmental law field, in which he plans to progress how regulation affects underserved, overlooked communities like the border-town of McAllen, TX that he calls home. He is super excited to spend the summer working with the California Air Resources Board on their energy efficiency efforts, and to learn plenty about modeling energy demand.

Charlie Merriam headshot

Charlie Merriam is a first year MS student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department pursing a degree in Environmental Engineering focused on water resources and hydrology. He received his BS in Civil Engineering from The Ohio State University before working as a civilian Naval Architect for 6 years. In his graduate studies he is focused on water resources systems analysis, the water energy nexus, and water and energy policy. Charlie’s research focuses on technoeconomic and environmental aspects of selenium removal technologies from agricultural and industrial waste waters.

Charlie is excited to spend the summer working with the Power and Risk Office at the California Department of Water Resources working on integrating solar power into Lake Orville’s Pumped storage operation.

Cameron Morelli headshot

Cameron Morelli is a master’s student in the Atmosphere/Energy program within the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. She received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Davis. After graduating, she worked as an engineer designing sustainable buildings and gained experience with California building energy codes, building energy modeling, and LEED certifications. In her free time she enjoys surfing, hiking, dancing, and spending time with her cat Willie. Cameron is excited to spend the summer in Fairbanks with Alaska Center for Energy and Power studying decarbonization pathways for Alaska’s Railbelt electric grid.

Evan Savage headshot

Evan Savage is a first year MS student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Atmosphere & Energy program. Evan is passionate about decarbonizing the energy sector with a focus on equity and addressing climate uncertainty. Prior to Stanford, he received his BS in Civil Engineering with a minor in Environmental Science from Lafayette College and worked at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on decision making under deep uncertainty and the energy-water nexus.

Evan is excited to spend the summer with the Western Interstate Energy Board studying the impact of temperature and precipitation patterns on energy in the west and developing recommendations for policymakers.

Kamran Tehranchi headshot

Kamran Tehranchi (he/him) is a first year Master’s student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department, Atmosphere/Energy program. Prior to joining Stanford, he worked at Central Coast Community Energy, a Community Choice Aggregator, on program design and rate analysis. Kamran is passionate about driving forward a resilient and equitable carbon-free electricity system. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University.

This summer, Kamran will be working with the Renewable Integration Group at the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) on capacity expansion and reliability models for future high-renewable portfolios.

Merritt Vassallo headshot

Merritt Vassallo is a freshman at Stanford University majoring in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus on energy. Growing up in California with a love of the outdoors, Merritt is passionate about environmental advocacy in her community and beyond. Throughout high school, she explored her interest in energy through a number of projects—from conducting an independent study on California’s electricity markets to modeling and analyzing a mock cogeneration power plant. Merritt is passionate about bridging her interests in both the policy and technology behind energy, and is thrilled to be interning at the California Department of Water Resources (CDWR) this summer. At the DWR, she will help conduct energy audits and assist the State Water Project’s goal of achieving Zero Net Energy. In her free time at Stanford, she can be found biking on nearby trails or reading at Meyer Green.

Azure Zhou headshot

Azure Zhou is a first year undergraduate student studying Mathematical and Computational Science. Her interests are in sustainable energy solutions and the intersection of technology, data, and policy. She is the Vice President of Operations of Data and Mapping for Society, Stanford’s student data science group, where she is currently working with a team to assess the impact of global infrastructure investment on climate change pathways. She also volunteers in the environmental justice team with Students for a Sustainable Stanford to research and compose policy solutions for Sustinable San Mateo County’s Ideas Bank. In her free time, she dances with several hip hop teams on campus and is a DJ for KZSU, Stanford’s student radio.

Azure is excited to spend the summer at the California Independent System Operator where she will analyze existing and proposed regulations to help achieve decarbonization of the electric grid and broader economy.