Standards of living across the globe are intimately linked to the availability and quality of energy services. Born into a society that treats energy resources and conversions as commodities, we can easily go about our daily lives - making new products, getting around town, or simply staying warm indoors - without giving a second thought to the energy systems that support these activities.
Nevertheless, the choices we make individually and collectively around energy have impacts on our economy, our health, and our planet. While public awareness of these impacts continues to grow, it is challenging for the public to engage in critical discussions about solutions without additional investment in public knowledge of our legacy energy system and the transitions it is undergoing today.
A healthy public discourse about the energy choices we make as a society depends on an energy-literate and energy-numerate public.
In summer 2017, Western Washington University's Institute for Energy Studies, with the support of a gift from the Snohomish Public Utility District, spearheaded an Energy Ambassadors initiative with two principal goals:
- To support outstanding energy scholars as they develop tools to communicate their research, its value, and its implications for their communities.
- To enhance energy literacy and numeracy of high-school students in northwestern Washington State through direct engagement with IES Energy Ambassadors.
IES Energy Ambassadors carry out a research project mentored by IES faculty and work together with Energy Ambassadors coordinator Tim Kowalczyk to develop interactive materials to communicate their research and the fundamental energy concepts underlying their work to a high-school audience.
Between 2018-2021, the Energy Ambassadors initiative was supported in part by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement through a Cottrell Scholar Award to Tim Kowalczyk.
2017 Energy Ambassadors
Olivia Dingus - Energy Policy
Aden Nevler - Energy Science
Whit Jamieson - Energy Science
Nolan Uhrich - Electrical Engineering
Rebecca Szabo - Chemistry
2018 Energy Ambassadors
Wyatt Catron (Energy Policy)
Sullivan Cohen-Pope (Chemistry)
Austin Bolstad (Geology)
Kelly Yokuda (Chemistry)
Marciana Hill (Economics and Energy Policy)
Patrick Shive (Energy Policy)
2019 Energy Ambassadors
Eli Doebler (Chemistry)
Leo Coulter (Energy Policy)
Sam Baldwin (Chemistry)
Jose Ortuzar (Energy Policy)
Ryan Hagmann (Chemistry)
2020 Energy Ambassadors
Alexander Bean (Energy Policy)
Ryan Yee (Energy Policy)
Talia Dreicer (Energy Science)
Kip Creech (Environmental Science)
Nathan Critchfield (Energy Science)