Women in Energy Panel on Energy Career Paths – Event Summary

On October 29, 2019, Rutgers Center for Advanced Energy SystemsOffice for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and MathematicsEnergy InstituteDouglass Residence College, and Women for Energy Efficiency hosted a Women in Energy Event entitled “Panel on Energy Career Paths”. The event was held at The Cove on Rutgers University’s Busch Campus.

The evening began with an informal networking session for the attendees. Attendees included students from a diverse array of Rutgers graduate and undergraduate programs, professionals from the energy industry, and members of the Department of Energy’s Industrial Assessment Center program.

Next, Rachel Shwom from the Rutgers Energy Institute and Sally Nadler from Douglass College opened up the panel session by introducing our two panelists and moderator.

Moderator Sarah Pomeranz is a senior at Rutgers University, studying Global Business, Entrepreneurship, and Social Justice. She is to co-founder of Sulis, a social venture which develops solar-water cleaning technology for communities in India. Sarah led Sulis to the finals of the $1 million Hult Prize Accelerator, spearheaded a crowdfunding campaign to pilot the teams’ technology, and was selected as Entrepreneur Organizations’s Top 25 American Student Entrepreneurs. Sarah is also a Douglass student, believes firmly in business as a vehicle for social change, and aspires to work closely in partnership with communities to foster innovation.

Panelist Grace Power is currently the Chief of Staff at the NJ Board of Public Utilities. Grace is responsible for the development and implementation of policy along with the day-to-day management of the agency. She also serves as the chairperson of the 2019 State Energy Master Plan Committee. Ms. Power is a graduate of the Rutgers University School of Law – Newark. She has a Master’s degree the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers and an undergraduate degree from Rutgers College, and was affiliated with the Eagleton Institute of Politics as a graduate fellow and undergraduate associate.

And finally, panelist Karen Reif is the Vice President of Renewables and Energy Solutions at PSE&G. She oversees PSE&G’s clean energy strategy. She is responsible for the operations and strategic growth of both PSE&G and PSEG Long Island’s solar energy, energy efficiency, demand response, and alternative fuel vehicle programs. Ms. Reif holds a BA in Economics and International Studies from Emory University and an MBA (MSIA) from Carnegie Mellon University. She has the following certifications: Project Management Professional, Lean Six Sigma, and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundation.

Topics discussed by the panel included their personal career journeys, advice for students desiring to enter careers in the energy industry, the power of mentorship, tips for beating impostor syndrome and feeling confident when you’re the only woman in the room, the future of the energy industry, and upcoming internship and career opportunities.

CAES’s very own Associate Director Siddika Pasi closed out the panel by giving closing remarks and thanking the event sponsors. A second networking session resumed after the panel.

We would like to thank all of our co-sponsors, speakers, and attendees for an extremely successful night. The recording of the event can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B8TqJJzz94&feature=youtu.be.

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