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A program created to cultivate emerging leaders as a force against climate change has chosen ASU student Kayla Kutter, who is pursuing concurrent master’s degrees, as one of its scholars.
The Energy Scholar program was formed through a partnership between the nonprofit Net Impact, and the companies 3Degrees and OneEnergy Renewables, to foster graduate students and early career scholars focused on renewable energy. The scholars will be provided with networking opportunities, mentoring and industry access.
Kutter’s focus is on what has been dubbed as an “energy trilemma” comprising energy security, energy equity, and environmental stability. She aims to concentrate on the complex links between public and private actors, governments and regulators, economic and social factors, national resources, environmental concerns, and individual behaviors.
Kutter said she looks forward to gaining insights through industry access opportunities with One Energy and 3Degrees, which are both certified B Corps with goals of connecting people to renewable energy on a large scale.
In the School for the Future of Innovation in Society’s Master of Science and Technology Policy program Kutter learned there is more to fostering change than simply developing new technologies.
“It’s about the people you affect and how change is implemented,” she said. “Policy and understanding social impacts of the technology are equally important to the development of clean energy technologies.” She looks forward to expanding her knowledge on policy development, history of technological development, and social impacts while in the program. With backgrounds in math and physics, Kutter, is also enrolled in the Master of Sustainability Solutions program in the School of Sustainability and noted in her bio for the Energy Scholars program that “sustainability is more about people than anything else.”
An active member in her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kutter was awarded Greek Woman of the Year in 2014 before graduating from the University of New Mexico with her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. After graduation, she went on to serve as a secondary education teacher with the Peace Corps in Tanzania. She is currently working as a sustainable solutions campus coordinator on an ASU research project related to eliminating unnecessary hot water use on campus.
Regarding plans for the future, Kutter said, “I want to use my experiences to work on microgrid electrification systems, which rely on renewable energy. I would like to learn all that I can from the Energy Scholar program and hopefully begin my career next year in the field of clean energy production and implementation.”