Meet ARPA-E's 2023 Summer Scholars
Every year, ARPA-E’s Summer Scholars have the unique opportunity to interface with ARPA-E Program Directors, Technology-to-Market (T2M) advisors, and Fellows working on the nation’s foremost energy challenges. Summer Scholars participate in a whole host of activities and take on various responsibilities during their time at ARPA-E. The goal of their work is to assist the team in defining commercialization pathways for high-risk, high-impact technologies to help those technologies achieve maximum impact and return on investment.
Learn more below about our 2023 Summer Scholars below:
JD, Harvard Law School
This summer, I conducted research into procurement regulations and statutes to help the Chief Counsel’s office create a draft policy and written agreement for a new “other transactions” procurement vehicle designed to entice new companies to partner with ARPA-E for important research. The process enhanced my knowledge of government procurement and gave me insight into how new policies are made within government agencies. In addition, I researched policies related to electronic signatures, United States manufacturing obligation modifications, and intellectual property processes for small businesses. In my career, I hope to use this familiarity with government processes to reduce timelines for rapid deployment of critical clean energy technologies.
MBA, Stanford University, M.SC, Columbia University
My research focused on energy management software and scaling future artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) energy management applications. I mapped the software landscape, creating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis of incumbents and innovators, and then applied these findings to generating T2M plans for ARPA-E portfolio companies and future grid programs.
As I conducted this research, I realized that grid capacity is our greatest limiting factor in the energy transition. I became interested with how hardware and software innovation can help us unlock more grid capacity and pitched a new program idea at our grid hardware conference.
My post-Stanford goal is to continue accelerating our electric grid transition as an entrepreneur and investor focused on AI and upgrading essential grid components.
MBA, MIT Sloan School of Management, MPA, Harvard Kennedy School
During my summer, I worked on the Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA) program, which supports the development of technologies that turn buildings into carbon stores. I had two discrete projects: I conducted market and supply chain analysis on the cement and concrete industry, and helped design a potential program to drive market adoption for biogenic insulation products. I appreciated getting to go deep in cement and insulation while learning about go-to-market hurdles (and opportunities!) ARPA-E performers face in the early phases of commercialization. I’m committed to driving impact in the building-decarbonization space, so the insights and exposure gained this summer have been invaluable. I know that the experience at ARPA-E has given me a fantastic toolkit to identify promising white spaces, size up technical risk and opportunity, and find ways to support companies through early valleys of death.
Energy Economics, University of Strathclyde
This summer at ARPA-E, I worked to understand the market landscape and value chain for microgrids and identify technical whitespaces where Agency-sponsored investment can help unlock value and drive microgrid deployment. As part of this work, I was able to talk to people across the Agency and the Department of Energy (DOE) as well as deepen my project management skills and learn how to evaluate the economic consequences of energy technologies. I’m certain that what I've learned at ARPA-E as a Summer Scholar and the relationships I've made here will serve me well in my career, through which I hope to contribute to the clean energy economy’s growth and serve the public.
MBA/MPA, New York University
This summer, I conducted an analysis of the pathways to market for grid hardening technologies in support of the ARPA-E Grid Overhaul with Proactive, High-Speed Undergrounding for Reliability, Resilience, and Security (GOPHURRS) program, as well as an analysis of the economic benefits of improved grid reliability. I spoke with economists and experts before building a benefit-cost analysis framework to understand the economic benefit of these investments. This framework incorporates societal and climate risk factors into lost load, going beyond what is typically incorporated into this calculation. I also spoke with representatives from public utility commissions in ten states to understand how this analysis can fit into the rate-making process and enable investor-owned utilities to make large-scale investments to improve reliability and resilience. I’m excited to use the skills and knowledge I’ve gained at ARPA-E to build a career in climate tech, bringing new technologies to market and facilitating the clean energy transition.
MBA, Harvard Business School
This summer, I led an investigation into the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) market and developed a financial model that assesses the value of critical minerals and ecosystem services for several different deep-sea environments. My market analysis and outreach culminated with site visits to two deep-sea AUV manufacturers that provided crucial information for potential marine technology development programs. I also had the opportunity to present the findings of my deep-sea resource valuation model to an interagency critical mineral working group at the Department of Interior. Working at ARPA-E has exposed me to various exciting new technologies that are being developed and commercialized for the climate transition – I’m thankful for the opportunity to get to know and work with so many smart people and expect the connections I’ve made here to play a key role as I make the next step in my career.
MBA, UCLA Anderson School of Management
My summer project is to develop a market assessment regarding ammonia’s potential role in the decarbonization of heavy-duty transportation industries (aviation, marine shipping, long haul trucking, etc.). I’ve compared ammonia to different fuel types on a levelized cost basis to determine the outlook of ammonia adoption vis-à-vis other alternative fuels.
At ARPA-E, I’ve gained skills related to Techno-Economic Analysis (TEA) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Some of these skills include conducting market research with industry stakeholders, identifying roadmaps for future market adoption, performing levelized cost calculations, and developing financial models.
After my time at ARPA-E, I’m excited to start my consulting career at PwC Advisory. I’ll be working in the Ops Transformation group where I’ll be supporting companies in the bio-pharmaceutical, energy, and public utilities sectors. In the future, I’d like to work in the climate technology space building products and services that help companies meet sustainability commitments and improve societal equity.
MBA and MEM, Duke University
At ARPA-E I developed a (TEA) for electrification of heavy-duty transportation, specifically for maritime and aviation applications. Additionally, I established a Levelized Cost of Storage (LCOS) framework to evaluate potential energy storage approaches in these spaces. Through industry engagement, I learned about the operational considerations in each of the respective transportation sectors and I learned how to balance technical possibility with market feasibility. Understanding how a theoretical technology will fit into an existing market is critical, even during the development stage. The TEA and LCOS I worked on helped to inform decisions on a new ARPA-E program, and set metrics for performers developing new energy storage solutions. I look forward to a career in climate and energy innovation, and to facilitating effective commercialization of transformative technologies.
MS Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Santa Cruz
While at ARPA-E, I have worked to develop a TEA and LCA for a circular electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain that resulted in a successful program pitch. My understanding of global supply chains and the EV industry has grown immensely. I look forward to pursuing entrepreneurial ventures focused on supplying natural resources while minimizing environmental impacts.
MBA, Cornell University
This summer, I did an investigation into the bioplastics markets. I started my summer at the ‘Transitioning to a Sustainable, Circular Economy for Plastics’ workshop hosted by DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office and Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office in Seattle where I learned about key issues from a diverse array of stakeholders and experts. I provided exploratory research and analysis into technological opportunities through significant outreach efforts and an LCA meta-analysis. I created a DOE census of current research and work related to plastics and bioplastics. I also highlighted major findings of impact areas and sensitivities of plastics compared to bioplastics from a greenhouse gas life cycle perspective. I presented my findings at the Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization Workshop, highlighting the opportunities I discovered in my research. I look forward to continuing my career at the intersection of sustainability and business and working to help mitigate climate change!