Dr. Peter Alstone, Faculty Scientist
Peter Alstone is a Faculty Scientist at the Schatz Center and an assistant professor of Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University. At SERC, Peter’s work focus is on distributed energy systems, including demand response, global access to reliable energy, microgrids, off-grid solar, California energy policy, and distributed resource modeling. His approach combines data science, field research, technology modeling, and economic analysis. Peter earned his BS in Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University, MS in Environmental Systems at Humboldt State, and a PhD in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley; this was followed by an ITRI-Rosenfeld postdoctoral fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he now holds a guest appointment as a Faculty Affiliate researcher.
Dr. Deepti Chatti, Faculty Research Associate
Deepti Chatti is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and affiliate faculty at the Schatz Energy Research Center. Deepti is an interdisciplinary scholar of the environment whose research centers the social justice aspects of sustainable development in the global South. Her scholarship contributes to political ecology, environmental justice, feminist science and technology studies, energy geographies, and South Asian studies. Deepti comes to HSU from Yale University where she was completing her doctoral research on development efforts to expand energy access to low income families in rural India. This project focused on critically analyzing “clean cooking” household energy transitions which attempt to abolish the ubiquitous mud stove (mitti ka chulha) from the kitchens of rural India for a variety of health, environmental, and social reasons. This research is based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork with rural families in the Indian Himalayas, and with cookstove designers, NGOs, international aid workers, and academics studying household air pollution and technology adoption.
Deepti’s work centers the politics of knowledge production in transnational environmental and development research. For several years she has been ethnographically studying a randomized control trial unfolding in two states in India, that is attempting to generate knowledge about energy poverty and climate change through field-based experiments. Before her doctoral research, Deepti worked for several years as an environmental engineer in California, and as an environmental public policy researcher in India at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). In addition to her PhD and MPhil from Yale University from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies with a graduate certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, she has a graduate degree in environmental science and engineering from Stanford University, and an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Osmania University.
At HSU, Deepti teaches undergraduate and graduate students in Environmental Studies, the Environment and Community graduate program, and the Energy Technology and Policy graduate program.
Dr. Kevin Fingerman, Faculty Research Associate
Kevin Fingerman is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science & Management at Humboldt State University. His research employs life cycle assessment and simulation modeling tools to evaluate the broad-based impacts of bioenergy and transportation energy systems. He has also worked extensively on the water/energy nexus and on bioenergy policy. Kevin serves on the board of directors of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, and prior to joining HSU he worked in Rome for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He holds MS and PhD degrees from UC Berkeley’s Energy & Resources Group.
Dr. Nicholas Lam, Research Scientist
Nicholas Lam is a Research Scientist at the Schatz Center where his work focuses on increasing access to energy services in low- and middle-income countries. Nick has over ten years of experience working in the household energy and energy access sectors, where his interdisciplinary research has addressed the relationships among household energy use, environment, and human health. He often combines physical measurements with sociological and qualitative techniques to develop mechanistic understandings of energy transitions, service needs, and the technology adoption/displacement process. His work has included the development of survey- and sensor-based instruments for measuring energy consumption, pollutant emissions, air quality, and exposure to air pollutants. Nick has been involved in field studies in over a dozen countries across Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia. Prior to joining the Schatz Center, he was a researcher in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a researcher at Berkeley Air Monitoring Group. Nick earned an MS in Global Health and Environment and PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Sintana Vergara, Faculty Research Associate
Sintana Vergara is an Assistant Professor in Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University. In her research, she measures and models carbon emissions and carbon sequestration from the use of residual resources (solid waste, biomass, agricultural waste). Her research methods include Lifecycle Assessment (LCA), greenhouse gas flux measurement using micrometeorological and static chamber methods, and laboratory analyses of soil properties and emissions. Prior to coming to Humboldt State, she was a Fulbright Fellow in Colombia, an Environmental Specialist at the World Bank, and a Postdoctoral Scientist at UC Berkeley. At UC Berkeley, she designed and led experiments, measuring greenhouse gas emissions from composting windrow piles, and enhanced soil carbon sequestration from compost application. She holds degrees in Environmental Engineering (BS, Cornell University; MS, UC Berkeley), and in Energy and Resources (MS, PhD, UC Berkeley).
Dr. Tesfayohanes Yacob, Faculty Research Associate
Cassidy Barrientos, Research Engineer
Jerome Carman, Senior Research Engineer
Jerome Carman is a graduate of the Environmental Systems master’s program at Humboldt State University (HSU), where he focused on energy systems engineering with an emphasis on thermodynamic analysis while obtaining his Engineer In Training certificate. Jerome has a diverse background: complimented by a bachelor’s degree in physics, he has published work in both high energy particle physics and atmospheric physics. During his graduate career at HSU he changed his professional focus toward local government planning and policy which resulted in an energy specialist position at the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA). While at RCEA, Jerome specialized in greenhouse gas emissions inventories, climate action planning, and low carbon transportation fuel planning and implementation. Jerome currently manages and assists with a variety of planning and implementation projects in the areas of low carbon transportation, carbon life cycle assessment, and distributed energy resources.
Dave Carter, P.E., Principal Engineer
Dave Carter is a licensed civil engineer with twelve years of experience completing successful projects under the following disciplines: civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, SCADA system specifications, energy efficiency and renewable planning, permitting, design, economic analysis, commissioning, alternative transportation planning, and Owner’s Engineer services. Dave was co-project manager and lead engineer for the Blue Lake Rancheria Microgrid Project. Prior to joining the Schatz Center in 2014, Dave was a Senior Project Engineer and Project Manager at GHD Inc., a global engineering, planning, and environmental science firm. While at GHD, Dave served as the Renewable Energy Service Line Coordinator for GHD’s Western USA Operating Center. Dave is a graduate of HSU’s Environmental Resources Engineering program, and interned for the Schatz Center in 2004 and 2005. Dave was a founding member of the Renewable Energy Students Union at HSU and led the student team that won the grand prize in the 2005 National Hydrogen Association H2U student design competition, a project which led to the installation of the hydrogen fueling station at HSU.
Alejandro Cervantes, Engineering Technician
Alejandro is a graduate of Humboldt State University Master’s program in Environmental Resources Engineering. Prior to coming to HSU, Alejandro received an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science from San Diego State University. At the Schatz Center, Alejandro works on zero-emission transit design and supports operations of the VeraSol Quality Assurance program.
Greg Chapman, P.E., Senior Research Engineer
Greg Chapman is a licensed mechanical engineer with over 30 years of experience working in the energy field, dating back to his early days when stationed on a nuclear powered submarine. Greg graduated from HSU’s Environmental Resources Engineering program and his work here at the Schatz Center has focused mainly in the areas of hydrogen, biomass and renewable energy technologies. His expertise includes design, installation, permitting and planning, system operations and commissioning activities for educational, demonstration and renewable energy projects. Prior to attending HSU, Greg served in the United States Navy, where he graduated from Naval Nuclear Power School and served on a fast attack nuclear-powered submarine. Qualifications aboard the boat included engine room supervisor, ship’s welder, scuba diver, secondary water chemist, and quality assurance inspector. Following his enlistment, Greg worked as a plant operator and shift supervisor at an independent oil refinery in Los Angeles.
Maia Cheli, Communications and Outreach Manager
Maia is responsible for oversight and coordination of the Center’s communications and outreach programs. Maia has over two decades of experience in nonprofit management, communications, event production, and website and graphic design.
Tanya Garcia, Research Engineer
Carisse Geronimo, Research Assistant
Carisse received her master’s in Environmental Systems: Energy Technology and Policy from Humboldt State University. Her undergraduate background was in biotechnology with a minor in chemistry. For her master’s thesis, she conducted research with Sintana Vergara and Kevin Fingerman on characterizing greenhouse gas emissions from decomposition of stored woody biomass.
Simone Groves, Research Assistant
Simone is a graduate from HSU’s Bachelor of Science program with a biological emphasis in botany and a passion for sustainable systems. She currently works in the Center’s Off-Grid Solar and Lighting Lab as a research assistant, supporting product testing through the VeraSol Quality Assurance Program. She also provides support to the VeraSol team in coordinating and reviewing products as they move through the verification process. Locally, she has worked with the installation and manufacture of solar systems, including solar hot water, as well as local food production. More broadly, she has hands-on experience with implementation and education of appropriate technologies in Nepal and the Dominican Republic.
Ian Guerrero, Research Engineer
Meg Harper, Senior Research Engineer
Meg Harper is a senior research engineer at the Schatz Center where she manages projects focused on off-grid energy access. She works with the VeraSol program and has previously supported the World Bank/IFC’s Lighting Global, Lighting Asia-India and Lighting Africa initiatives focused on market development and quality assurance for off-grid solar products. Her work has included conducting surveys and focus groups in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, supporting market research in India, revising standards and IEC test methods, researching energy needs of off-grid health facilities, and engaging with public and private stakeholders in the off-grid sector. She has also conducted research into demand-side management strategies for renewable energy mini-grids, investigated metrics to assess energy efficiency policy, conducted field research in Africa, South Asia and Latin America, helped maintain the HSU campus hydrogen station, and co-taught several courses in renewable energy engineering. Meg is a graduate of the Energy, Technology and Policy program and the Environmental Resources Engineering programs at HSU and holds a BS in Environmental Studies from Warren Wilson College.
Andrew Harris, Research Engineer
Andrew graduated from Humboldt State University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Resources Engineering and International Studies. Since first helping the Schatz Energy Research Center build an electric vehicle infrastructure planning model as a student, Andrew has worked extensively in modeling, including photovoltaic installations, hazardous gas safety systems, and ocean wave power. He has applied numerical and economic analysis to biomass and transportation projects, and is always trying to expand his research talents with any new project he can get his hands on. Andrew has previously worked as an electrical engineer for ENN Solar, as a population modeling consultant for the American Bird Conservancy, and briefly as a lab instructor for Humboldt State University. Sadly, none of his jobs have ever resembled his childhood dream of being a rainforest-defending armor-clad dinosaur, and he asks that you forward him any related leads.
Marc Marshall, Principal Engineer
Marc received a BA degree in Physics from Humboldt State University in 2000. Marc’s primary responsibility at the Schatz Center is the software design, implementation, and testing of LabVIEW-based control systems. Projects Marc has worked on include embedded control of the Methanol-fired Fuel Cell system and version 4 of the Schatz Center’s internal Test Station Software. Marc also serves as the the Schatz Center’s IT person, maintaining the office computers, local network, and server. Marc has worked at the Schatz Lab since 1997, when he started as a student assistant.
Carolyn Ortenburger, Office Manager
As office manager, Carolyn supports the day-to-day operations of the Schatz Center. Her previous jobs include outreach coordinator at the Humboldt Community Breast Health Project and bilingual high school science teacher in the Bay Area. She received a B.S. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale College, an M.A. in Education from Stanford University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing/Poetry from St. Mary’s College of California. Carolyn joined the Schatz Center staff in 2011.
Kyle Palmer, P.E., Research Engineer
Kyle is licensed as a professional electrical engineer. He graduated from Humboldt State University in 2007 with a BS in Environmental Resources Engineering. His primary focus is the development of electrical and electronic systems. He has worked extensively with circuit board and hardware design. He also works to build, test, instrument, and analyze biomass conversion technologies.
Tom Quetchenbach, Research Engineer
Tom Quetchenbach is a research engineer at the Schatz Center and a graduate of the MS program in Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University. After receiving a BS in electrical engineering from Caltech in 2007, Tom worked for two years as a research engineer at Caltech’s Networking Laboratory, writing software to perform high-speed networking experiments and collect and analyze data. While a graduate student at HSU, he worked with a team of students, faculty, and Schatz Center staff to develop the GridShare, a device to reduce brownouts on village-scale mini-grids. In June 2011, he and three team members traveled to Bhutan to install GridShares in Rukubji, a village of approximately 90 households; in its first year of operation, the device substantially reduced severe brownouts and was well accepted by the community. Since graduating, Tom has done work to support quality assurance of off-grid lighting products for the Lighting Africa and Lighting Global projects, including designing and building apparatus, developing data analysis tools, and drafting test methods.
Kristen Radecsky, Senior Research Engineer
Kristen has worked in the energy sector since 2005. She received a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Lafayette College in 2004 and an MS in Environmental Systems from Humboldt State University in 2009. Her longest-standing project at the Schatz Center has been supporting the off-grid lighting product quality assurance program where her roles have included developing test methods (IEC TS 62257-9-5), managing the testing laboratory for seven years, and training/collaborating with international testing laboratories in China, Kenya, India, Germany, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. While at the Schatz Center, Kristen has also been involved in projects to increase electric vehicle charging infrastructure for Northern California; her role focused on site design, site host engagement, and construction oversight/observations. Most recently she has become involved with microgrid work through performing observations for the Blue Lake Rancheria microgrid construction in 2016 and designing a system for the Blue Lake Rancheria convenience store that utilizes demand-response techniques. Experiences prior to working at the Schatz Center include installing solar PV and hot water, small-scale wind turbine design, programming microcontrollers, and installing biodigesters. Kristen’s research interests involve grid integration and modernization, including demand-response, power quality, energy storage, and distributed generation.
Steven Richards, P.E., Research Engineer
Steve obtained his Electrical Engineering degree from Cal Poly Dan Luis Obispo in 2007 and has been active in engineering and solar system design ever since. He led engineering, permitting, and design efforts for over 500 residential and commercial photovoltaic projects and contributed engineering design expertise on over 500 MW of utility scale photovoltaic systems and associated equipment while working for solar contractors, manufacturers, and engineering firms in and around the Sacramento area. Steve was also involved in the permitting of the BrightSource Ivanpah SEGS facility and obtained his PE certification in 2019. In addition to renewable energy, Steve likes outdoor activities including golf, basketball, baseball, mountain biking, fishing, and hiking as well as other areas of study including construction, fine woodworking, particle physics and cosmology.
Sierra Stehman, Administrative Assistant
As administrative assistant, Sierra assists with bookkeeping, purchasing and other administrative duties. In her previous positions Sierra has worked locally as a construction project management assistant, a medical receptionist, and a collections clerk for a hospital. In her free time Sierra enjoys spending time with her family, mountain biking, hiking and baking. Sierra joined the Schatz Center staff in 2020.
Kim Thorpe, Energy Analyst
Kim’s work as an Energy Analyst for the Lighting Global Project includes communication and test coordination with manufacturers and labs, test report reviews and interpretation, and day-to-day support of the Lighting Global Project. Her previous jobs include construction project management, installing electrical systems for residential, commercial, and industrial applications, and experiential education. She received a BS in Social Work from Cornell University and completed a five year electrical apprenticeship. Kim joined the Schatz Center staff in 2015.
Kaileigh G. Vincent-Welling, Research Engineer
Kaileigh is a graduate of the Environmental Resources Engineering B.S. program at Humboldt State University. She currently works in the Schatz Center’s Off-Grid Solar and Lighting Lab performing quality assurance tests on solar lighting products as part of the Lighting Global Quality Assurance Program. Additionally, she is involved in test report preparation and review, developing testing standards and procedures, as well as designing and conducting analyses to support the global expansion of solar application and Lighting Global standards. She has experience with solar design and installation and holds great interest in the implementation and education of renewable technologies within developing communities worldwide.
Eli Wallach, Research Engineer
Eli is a research engineer in the Energy Access team at the Schatz Center. His work applies statistical and mathematical modeling techniques to understand the impacts of energy transitions in low- and middle-income countries. To date, he has examined issues related to climate emissions, air quality, human exposure, energy consumption, and technology adoption and usage. Eli earned a bachelors degree from the Environmental Resources Engineering program at HSU and an AAS degree in applied welding technology from Portland Community College.
Jim Zoellick, Principal Engineer
Jim began at the Schatz Center in 1995 as a research engineer working on the development of the first street-legal PEM fuel cell vehicle in the US. He is now a Managing Research Engineer and manages many of the Center’s high profile projects. His work involves planning, analysis, project development and implementation, with a special focus on tribal and public sector projects in rural northern California. He led the development of the RePower Humboldt Strategic Plan and has directed planning studies for the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout rural northern California. Most recently he has worked to develop, deploy and evaluate cutting edge microgrid technology. He co-managed both the Blue Lake Rancheria and the Redwood Coast Airport microgrid projects, and he managed the Solar+ storage project at the Blue Lake Rancheria’s gas station/convenience store. Jim’s work has also included resource assessment and feasibility studies for wind, small hydro, solar and biomass energy systems, as well as development and demonstration of hydrogen and fuel cell energy systems for vehicular, stationary, portable and remote power applications. Jim has a BS in Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State University. He has taught several college level energy courses and also serves on the City of Arcata Energy Committee.