ATLANTA, Ga., Jun 02, 2022 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — After successfully completing a rigorous fellowship that exposes students to opportunities in clean energy and sustainability, Serena Echols was awarded an internship assisting a community in Florida that was exposed to contaminated groundwater. One of twelve students selected by the HBCU Green Fund to participate in their inaugural Atlanta University Center (AUC) Fellows Program, Echols will document the experiences of the residents and seek resources for long overdue environmental justice.
A partnership between the HBCU Green Fund and the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), the AUC Fellows Program connects students at Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College with entrepreneurs and professionals that provided training, mentoring and internships in energy and STEM industries. A grant to RICE from the U.S. Department of Energy provides resources for the program.
“The inaugural AUC fellowship was a huge success,” said Illai Kenney, national program director, HBCU Green Fund. “Whether you look at the increase in catastrophic climate events or the impacts of oil on the global economy, the critical need for a swift transition to clean energy is clear. This program will help expand the pipeline of skilled professionals required to achieve energy independence. We’re proud that AUC Fellows are primed to train their peers, educate their communities, and capitalize on emerging green infrastructure opportunities.”
The students were introduced to various energy careers and gained hands-on training in renewable energy technologies. They conducted energy audits of buildings in Atlanta, received instruction on electric vehicle charging stations, and learned to mount solar panels. The program emphasized information on starting an energy-related business and identifying business opportunities. The fellows also attended the annual BIPOC Climate Justice Dialogue, a discussion between climate justice scholars, organizers, academics, and government officials about opportunities in President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.
“It was very helpful to be able to question someone who works in sustainability daily and has created a profitable business in the area,” adds Echols, an environmental science major headed into her senior year at Spelman College. “I am excited about the internship the HBCU Green Fund helped me secure at the University of South Florida where I will explore the cultural construction of risk in a peri-urban African American community whose groundwater was contaminated by chlorinated solvents from the former American Beryllium Corporation site.”
The AUC Fellows were trained by successful Black entrepreneurs and executives who work in the energy sector; many of them are also HBCU graduates. Dr. Anthony Kinslow, CEO of Gemini Energy Solutions; Sheryl E. Ponds CEO of Dai Technologies; Gilbert Campbell, CEO of Volt Energy Utility LL; Kristal Hansley, CEO We Solar Energy; and the WDC Solar team provided instruction. AUC faculty mentors Dr. Armita Davarpanah and Dr. Fatemah Shafiei (Spelman College), Dr. Cynthia Hewitt (Morehouse College), Dr. Olu Olatidoye and Dr. Myron Williams (Clark Atlanta University), along with Spelman Facilities Director, Arthur E. Frazier.
The 2022 AUC fellows are:
Sophia Boyd (Spelman), Serena Echols (Spelman), Indrianna Bowleg (Spelman), Brionna Findley (Spelman), N’Dya Jeffries (Clark Atlanta), Conrad Mctavish (Morehouse), Jason Gill (Morehouse), Ihunanya Destiny Agomuoh, (Spelman), Noah Bacon-Angevine (Morehouse), and Andre Brown (Morehouse). Two additional fellows joined late in the semester: Jonathan Banks (Morehouse) and Kahlea Henry (Spelman).
About The HBCU Green Fund:
The HBCU Green Fund is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization working to advance campus-wide sustainability at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and promote student engagement in green initiatives. The organization produces the HBCU Green Report, a ranking of green initiatives on HBCU campuses.
For more information on the HBCU Green Fund and AUC Project check out video here: https://youtu.be/RVB2Iai1Bz0
Learn more: https://www.hbcugreenfund.org/ (*note: website maintenance 6/2/22; if unable to reach site, try back later).
News Source: HBCU Green Fund
Related link: https://hbcugreenfund.org/
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