For ten weeks, University of New Mexico recent Law School graduate, Morgan Johnson, worked for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) researching energy efficiency initiatives intended to support low-to-moderate income New Mexicans. At the end of her externship, she provided this 'report-out' describing her NM EPSCoR Externship experience. Enjoy!
Event Category: SMART Grid
It’s time for me to say farewell to the New Mexico EPSCoR community and embark on new adventures. It has been a pleasure to work with you all and get to know many of you over the last five years. I hope you’ll provide a warm reception to Dr. Selena Connealy, who is the newly appointed Interim Associate Director for NM EPSCoR. Many of you already know Selena, and know not only her deep expertise in STEM education and managing team science and outreach projects, but also know how delightful she is to work with.
Our second NM SMART Grid Center 2020 extern, Mara Yarbrough, just completed her 10-week externship with the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) researching practical policies state governments can implement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She shared her thoughts with us on the experience in this brief reflection. Enjoy!
On September 30th, the University of New Mexico announced a joint agreement with Siemens Industry to begin collaborations at the UNM-owned microgrid at Mesa del Sol. Located in Albuquerque, the Mesa del Sol microgrid is one of three NM SMART Grid Center project testbeds, the others being Southwest Technology Development Institute at NMSU and the greenhouse complex at Santa Fe Community College, where project team members can test research out on actual equipment.
The NM SMART Grid Center warmly welcomes five new faculty members to the project team this Fall. Included in this esteemed cohort of STEM professionals are Dr. Yuting Yang and Dr. Claus Danielson at the University of New Mexico (UNM), Dr. Sihua Shao at New Mexico Institute for Mining and Technology (NMT), and Dr. Fengyu Wang and Dr. Hamed Nademi at New Mexico State University (NMSU).
Like most things, our annual summer undergraduate research program, STEM Advancement Program (STEMAP) shifted due to COVID-19 for summer 2020. Instead of placing students on campus to gain in-person research experience, STEMAP moved online and focused on professional development in addition to an online research experience. The 8-week program paired students with a SMART Grid mentor and another student.
“Sustainability” is complex and the term has many different definitions, particularly when it applies to a large National Science Foundation (NSF) project like the NM SMART Grid Center. One common definition relates to environmental sustainability and the perceived need to avoid depletion of the natural resources upon which we depend.
Every year the NM SMART Grid Center is required to submit three highlights from the previous project year to the National Science Foundation. For Project Year 2, the research themed highlights focused on work by Assistant Professor Ali Bidram and his PhD student Binod Poudel at UNM and advancements by Assistant Professor David Mitchell and his team at NMSU.
Here is what these outstanding team members are working on - summarized in 250 words or less.
Like many events and meetings across the world, the NM SMART Grid Center annual All Hands Meeting (AHM) shifted from face to face to virtual space seemingly overnight. As news of school closures and other mandates were announced in March, the unparalleled shift to home and online rippled across our lives, taking meetings and classes with it. While we were excited to gather all team members in one space to communicate progress and look towards the future, safety and health are the top priority.
All of our lives have changed in response to the latest pandemic. With respect to EPSCoR, most of us are working from home and are learning how to social-distance, video-conference with colleagues, and use Slack and other tools to maintain some semblance of normality in our workday. Upcoming EPSCoR meetings such as the All Hands Meeting, NSF Reverse Site Visit and, most likely, the New Mexico EPSCoR State Committee Meeting will become virtual—i.e., Zoom conference calls. In short, our way of life has changed, seemingly overnight and we do not yet see the light at the end of the tunnel.