Dr. Tim Kowalczyk

Energy Ambassadors

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.

2017 Energy Ambassadors

Olivia Dingus Behavioral economics of electric bicycle adoption
Aden Nevler Energy and power scales - visualizations
Whit Jamieson Energy and power scales - visualizations
Nolan Uhrich Predictive modeling of faults in the electrical grid
Rebecca Szabo Solar energy conversion and storage via molecular strain

Information about our 2018 Energy Ambassadors and their research is on the way!