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

2022 Undergraduates

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Steven Abrego

Steven Abrego is a rising junior majoring in Electrical Engineering. He will be working with Juan Rivas-Davila on characterizing the efficiency of high frequency semiconductor devices. His interest in energy originates from growing up in the Central Valley of California, where rolling blackouts are a far too often occurrence. Steven plans to use his time here at Stanford studying semiconductors in order to one day solve issues such as rolling blackouts, as well as work towards increasing the efficiency of semiconductors to create more efficient grids and reduce energy losses. This project will allow Steven to expand his knowledge of semiconductors while contributing valuable research to the world of energy.

Michael Bendok

Michael Bendok is a rising sophmore planning on majoring in Economics with a minor in Data Science. His energy experience includes working with utility-scale tracking technologies at FTC Solar, modeling battery storage finance at Idemitsu Renewables, and co-founding an agrivoltaics startup called Fundusol. Through SUPER, Michael is working with advisors Frank Wolak and Jacques de Chalendar and researchers Caitlin McMahon, Maomao Hu, and Ryan Triolo on the COOLER project. The goal of COOLER is to make large, modern buildings more energy-efficient, low carbon, and resilient using data, optimization, and control. Michael's role is focused on running and monitoring set point change experiments on Stanford buildings. From these experiments, Michael applies data analysis and visualization to extract meaningful conclusions from thousands of hourly data points. Ultimately, through his research, Michael hopes to contribute to HVAC control best practices by providing insights into how modern buildings can avoid significant outages like the one that occurred in the first week of this year's SUPER program.

Portrait of Chiara Biondi in front of a grassy hillside with ocean in the distance

Chiara Biondi is a rising senior studying Mathematical Computational Sciences. She is interested in sensor data and its applications, particularly in the energy sector. This summer, she is working with Pepe Bolorinos in Professor Mauter’s WE3 Lab to build a data-driven model to optimize the energy usage of wastewater treatment plants.

Portrait of Phillip Chacon in front of a tree trunk

Phillip Chacon is a rising junior studying Energy Resources Engineering. He is interested in carbon capture and energy storage as a means to reach net-zero carbon emission goals. This summer, he is working with Professor Hamdi Tchelepi and researchers Francois Hamon and Jacques Franc to model the flow of CO2 post injection in reservoirs using GEOSX.

Portrait of Kristy Chan in front of the Golden Gate Bridge

Kristy Chan is a rising sophomore planning on majoring in Chemical Engineering. She is interested in renewable energy, especially solar power and energy storage. As a SUPER participant, Kristy is working in the Tarpeh Lab. Her project involves using electrochemistry to selectively remove sodium ions from wastewaters, such that the treated water can be used as a fertilizer.

Portrait of Feliciano Cortes on a beach

Feliciano Cortes is a first-year coterm student studying Electrical Engineering - same as his undergrad. This Summer, Feliciano is working in Professor Reinhold Dauskardt's group which focuses on the innovation and design of high-performance thin-film devices. For his SUPER project, Feliciano is helping the perovskite solar cell team by testing out new materials and application processes of the rear electrode layer in the solar cell. Currently, silicon solar cells are the standard for durable solar panels, but perovskite solar cells are a promising lower-cost alternative. Feliciano's work will aid the effort for perovskites to achieve comparable efficiency and durability levels to silicon cells. In his free time, Feliciano enjoys going on long runs, honing his Super Smash Bros skills, and taking naps... lots of naps.

Andrew Franco is a coterminal graduate student majoring in Mechanical Engineering and recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in Biomechanical Engineering. Andrew is working with Professor Wendy Gu and Teng Cui to research cathode fracture mechanics in lithium solid-state batteries. Previous research has shown that adding a thin layer of metal would help reduce fracturing. For this project, the coating will be a thin layer of platinum where the mechanical properties of the cathodes are expected to improve. This summer research will include conducting nanoscale mechanical testing and SEM nanoindentation techniques.

Kara Herson is completing her bachelor’s degree in engineering physics major and a coterminal masters degree in mechanical engineering. She has previously worked in the solar industry, and is interested in studying emerging clean energy technologies. This summer she’s working with Professor Simona Onori on battery health estimation models for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles.

Portrait of Alyssa Krull in the Stanford Main Quad

Alyssa Krull is a rising junior majoring in Energy Sciences & Engineering and minoring in Creative Writing. She is interested in the intersection of science and communication, and is passionate about educating the public on environmental- and energy-related issues. She is specifically interested in the transition to clean and renewable energy. This summer, she is working with Professor Mark Jacobson and Atmosphere/Energy PhD student Anna-Katharina von Krauland on the Solutions Project. The Solutions Project has developed detailed roadmaps to 100% renewable energy by 2050 for 145 countries and all 50 states in the U.S.. As a part of the project, Alyssa will be writing articles on renewable energy topics and developing infographics for science communication and awareness through social media platforms.


Portrait of Ethne Laude

Ethne Laude is a rising sophomore studying Mathematical and Computational Science. She is interested in data-driven policy making, especially for sustainable development. This summer, she is working with Sarah Saltzer on the Pathways to Carbon Neutrality project, helping to develop and automate a Decarbonization Model for California using the Low Emissions Analysis Platform.

Christopher Noll standing in front of shelves of white rocks or plaster casts

Christopher Noll is a rising senior at Stanford University majoring in Geological Sciences and minoring in Mathematical and Computational Science. This summer, Chris is working with Dr. Nicole Ardoin’s Social Ecology Lab group to explore the motivations and support systems of youth climate activists. He is interested in the development and funding of renewable energy projects and how environmental movements are instrumental in meeting global climate goals. Chris enjoys playing with the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band, serving as a member of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability’s Student Advisory Council, and supporting Stanford’s international students as a SIB Mentor.

Portrait of Marco Peralto Montoya in the Stanford Main Quad

Marco Peralta Montoya is a rising junior majoring in Political Science. He is interested in public service, elections, and sociology. This summer, through SUPER, Marco is working with Professor Jon Krosnick’s Political Psychology Research Group (PPRG). Marco is working on a project to understand the disparity between U.S. public opinion polls on climate change based on question wording. The goal of this project is to help the public better understand people’s opinion on climate change and why surveys asking the same questions can produce different results.

Portrait of Emma Sun

Emma Sun is a rising junior studying either Energy Resources Engineering or Earth Systems. She is passionate about climate change solutions, conservation, and international relations! On campus, she is involved with the transportation team of Students for a Sustainable Stanford. Through SUPER, she is working with Dr. Oriana Mastro to better understand China through the lens of energy security. Emma is working to put together memos detailing China's energy relations with other states (including Russia and the U.S.), and the country's role in the global renewable energy transition. In her free time, she loves hiking and spending time outdoors.