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Boise State University Wind for Schools Graduate Embarks on Renewable Energy Career: A Wind Powering America Success Story

Boise State University Wind for Schools Graduate Embarks on Renewable Energy Career: A Wind Powering America Success Story

Date: 7/12/2010

Location: ID

Stephanie Lively, a mechanical engineering major at Boise State University, became involved with Wind Powering America's Wind for Schools project as a wind research assistant. She is now employed by REpower as a site assessment engineer in Denver, Colorado.

An Idaho native, Stephanie Lively grew up enjoying the outdoors and appreciating the natural world around her. She was also interested in math and science. The combination of the outdoors and the academic led her to the world of wind energy.

During high school, Lively attended a Women in Engineering workshop on biodiesel at the University of Idaho.

"This event further sparked my interest in renewables, and after choosing to study mechanical engineering in college, I began to take more classes on renewable energy, and my focus slowly morphed into wind energy," Lively said.

"Especially after high school, when I moved from Idaho, it become more and more apparent to me that not all facets of the world could enjoy the same qualities of life that I had, and in a way it became my goal to do something that could extend these qualities to everyone."

After attending the University of Portland in Oregon for 3 years, Lively returned to Boise State University to finish her major in mechanical engineering. While there, she accepted a student research position as a wind research assistant in the Boise State Office of Energy Research and worked with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Idaho National Laboratory performing basic wind analysis for the Idaho Anemometer Loan Program and the Wind for Schools project.

Her involvement with the Wind for Schools project also included securing building permits, contractors, and net metering arrangements and offering support to the school and community.

"While the tangible goal was to implement Skystream 3.7 wind turbines and therefore clean energy at rural schools throughout Idaho, our main goal was to inspire and educate people within the community on the benefits of wind energy and prime them (as well as us) for larger-scale development in their areas," Lively said.

Lively participated in the turbine installation at Jerome Middle School.

"This was our first successful project in Idaho in our first year as a Wind Application Center. We were in the process of working with other schools as well when I graduated," she said.

During her education, Lively had the opportunity to learn from individuals with experience in the field.

"My main mentors throughout this process were Todd Haynes and John Gardner at the Boise State Office of Energy Research, Campus Policy, and Sustainability. These men have a great passion for what they do and a wealth of knowledge on the subject that was not only helpful as a student, but inspiring as a developing young individual. Paul Dawson, a mechanical engineering professor and a friend of wind energy, was also a great mentor and offered many valuable connections and insight through his renewable energy course."

Upon graduation, Lively had many job prospects, but she wanted to focus on wind research and analysis or project development and management. She currently works for REpower as a site assessment engineer in Denver, Colorado. Her responsibilities include data acquisition, analysis, model optimization, and wind conditions report writing.

Read about other Boise State graduates embarking on wind energy careers.

This information was last updated on July 12, 2010