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  • Destenie Nock

Two Wind Energy Honors Theses Successfully Defended

Last Friday two of my undergraduate students successfully defended their honors theses on wind energy and the role of hydro power in supporting energy transition.

April 29, 2019 By Destenie Nock


UMass undergraduate senior, Olivia Pfeiffer, and junior, Ami Khalsa, defended their honor theses this past Friday. Olivia's work focused on the impact of increasing installed offshore wind capacity on hydro power variation. She found that increasing installed offshore wind capacity would impact hydro variation most in the winter months, but caution should be used in the summer because these are the months with the highest level of fish activity.  Ami's work analysed the sustainability impact of using Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) to transition to a high renewable energy future in the New England region.  Ami found that the real sustainability impact of PHES depends on the mix of power plants used to supply the electricity demand, leading to the conclusion that storage should be an integral part of the energy planning exercise, and not an after thought. 

From left to right: Erin Baker (Professor UMASS), Olivia Pfeiffer (Mechanical Engineering senior), Ami Khalsa (Enviornmental Science junior), Destenie Nock (Graduating IE PhD & Research Mentor)

I worked with Olivia and Ami for the last three and two years, respectively, and now they are off to bigger an better things. Olivia will start a Masters program at MIT in their Technology & Policy program in the Fall. This summer Ami will work as an intern at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. While at the national lab she will work on Strategic Plan Implementation for the earth and environmental grand challenges on water, climate, energy, and resilience. Currently, Ami is considering going to graduate school following her May 2020 graduation. This means I may have converted this environmental scientist into a future engineer.

I will miss both of these #WomenInSTEM, but I couldn't be happier for their future ahead! A special thanks goes to the Entering Mentoring training program at UMass which helped me learn how to be a better mentor. It was one of the reasons I wrote a template for reading and summarizing technical papers for the undergraduate students I worked with. If you like this post and want to follow research updates feel free to subscribe below (I promise not to spam you).

#Research #UndergraduateResearch #ProudResearchMom #WindEnergy #PHES #WomenInSTEMM #EnergyPolicy

Note about the author: Destenie Nock is a graduating PhD student in the Industrial Engineering Dept of UMass Amherst, and holds two BS degrees from North Carolina A&T State University. She has been a mentor for seven undergraduate researchers for the last 3.5 years. If you are interested in supporting undergraduates get acquainted with research she recommends the entering mentoring training, and having them read this post on reading and summarizing technical papers. In the Fall Destenie will be a post-doc in the Engineering and Public Policy Dept at Carnegie Mellon. She is looking forward to supporting more undergraduates in their research endeavors.

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