Alumni Highlight: Alicen Kandt – Nationwide Renewable Power Laboratory | Paul M. Rady Mechanical Engineering

alicen kandt
Alicen Kandt (MSMechEngr’04)

As a Senior Mechanical Engineer with the Nationwide Renewable Power Laboratory (NREL), alumna Alicen Kandt’s objective is to encourage folks to embrace extra resilient and sustainable power choices.

Kandt (MSMechEngr’04) has spent almost twenty years at NREL serving to state, native, federal and worldwide stakeholders assess power alternatives. She helps these companions establish methods to make their buildings extra power and water environment friendly, their communities extra resilient and their operations much less carbon intensive.

Kandt’s path to changing into a mechanical engineer was distinctive and interdisciplinary. Somewhat than beginning her training with engineering instantly, she first earned a bachelor’s diploma in math with a minor in English from the College of Puget Sound.

“After a brief stint as a technical author for a commerce journal, I made a decision I needed to work in one thing extra utilized and impactful,” Kandt mentioned.

This alternative led her to attend the College of Colorado Boulder for graduate faculty. She earned her grasp’s diploma from the Division of Mechanical Engineering in 2004 and continues to be concerned within the engineering group as an alumnus.

Learn extra about Kandt’s experiences as a mechanical engineer and the way her work has a priceless impression on our world.

Inform us about your background. What impressed you to turn out to be a mechanical engineer? 

I attended a non-profit profession honest at CU Boulder, and NREL was there. I acquired an internship that started proper after I began graduate faculty within the Division of Mechanical Engineering. It was completely timed as a result of I might straight apply what I used to be studying at school to my internship, and likewise, I might tailor my coursework to matters I used to be intrigued by at NREL.  

alicen kandt
Kandt on website in Puerto Rico.

How does your work with NREL assist society? 

The work I do helps society by figuring out and implementing pathways to assist decarbonization and power system transformation, finally supporting the struggle in opposition to local weather change and the constructing of resilient communities and organizations across the globe. 

What are a few of the tasks you’ve been part of that you’re most happy with? 

One in every of my favourite tasks was in assist of the restoration efforts at El Yunque Nationwide Forest in Puerto Rico, after the forest was closely impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. I acquired to go to El Yunque, tour the broken amenities, and even acquired to go to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Iguaca Parrot Aviary – an aviary for the endemic and critically-endangered Puerto Rican Parrot. The aviary has a hen protected room the place the birds are housed throughout hurricanes. I helped establish the vital power a great deal of the aviary and analyze the optimum photo voltaic and battery power storage system to assist the aviary preserve vital providers within the occasion of {an electrical} grid outage. The system was only recently put in and commissioned! 

What was your favourite a part of being Buff? 

I stay in Boulder and luxuriate in being engaged in alumni applications, mentoring, and talking to college students about careers in clear power and the impression of serving to to remodel our power system. I additionally love attending CU Boulder sporting occasions with my household! 

What recommendation do you’ve gotten for present mechanical engineering college students? 

Get an internship, no less than one, ideally one throughout every summer time of college to start out homing in on a spotlight space and constructing a broad community. And be open to a non-linear profession pathway; generally it takes making an attempt one factor to find one thing else could also be a greater match. 

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