This month’s spotlight is on Anthony! We shouted out Anthony earlier in this article from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), where he works! Anthony contacted us last year and orchestrated a mentorship program to connect Dream Team students interested in STEM with experts in their fields at NREL. This is the second year of this mentorship program. We are ecstatic that Anthony is providing his insight to support Dream Team students, and we couldn’t be more proud of everything he’s done so far and continues to work on!

High School Attended: Greeley West High School Class of 2001
Institutions Attended: University of Northern Colorado & Denver University
Field of Study: Bachelors in Geography with an Emphasis in Geographic Information Science. Master of Science in Geographic Information Science

What are you up to now that you’ve earned your degree?

I work at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. NREL is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE). I am the Principle Investigator of the Spatial Analysis portfolio for the DOE’s Wind Energy Technology Office. In that portfolio, I work on spatial models to evaluate the techno-economic potential of renewable energy technologies and how their land-use requirements and siting restrictions may affect the evolution of the US electric power system.

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since being out of school/Dream Team?

Of course, my wife and kids. Professionally, I have been fortunate to be able to travel the world (France, Mexico, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines) to collaborate and lecture about modeling renewable energy.

What aspect of being in the Dream Team has stuck with you?

What stuck with me most was the field trip we took to the Cesar Chavez Center at the University of Northern Colorado. That trip was part of the spark that inspired and motivated me to apply for college.

What are your goals for the future, and what goals have you achieved?

Professionally, advancing our nation’s understanding of the challenges and opportunities of deploying wind energy to meet decarbonization objectives. Achieving this requires advancements in models to capture technical, social, and environmental constraints and conveying the results and implications in scientific journals that can be used by policymakers and the wind energy developer community. This requires building teams across diverse domains – something I thoroughly enjoy. We’ve made significant progress on this front by publishing several papers exploring the social wind siting challenges for an evolving power system. However, we still need to better understand the implications of ubiquitous wind energy deployment on wildlife and ecosystems and how we might avoid unintended consequences.

What is one piece of advice you would give a Dream Team student who has just graduated high school?

Internships are a great way to experience a prospective career choice. As you explore career options, an internship might solidify your love for a type of work, or it might make you realize that it’s not for you. I had an internship that really opened my eyes to the day-to-day requirements of a specific job, and I knew then that it wasn’t for me. Knowing this early on allowed me to focus my studies on an alternative path. Combined with the experience of a new and different internship, I was led to where I am now.