This is an excerpt from the March 3, 2012: Rising to the Challenge, reimagining wafer creation, and solving for solar x edition of the SunShot newsletter.
SunShot Profile: Fellow Highlight
Katherine Crowley took an unconventional path to the solar energy research field. After earning a Ph.D. in mathematics from Rice University, Katherine spent almost a decade teaching math at Washington and Lee University, St. Olaf College, and Columbia University.
In 2009, she received an American Mathematical Society Congressional Fellowship award, which allowed her to experience firsthand the process involved in turning science into policy. She spent a year working with Senator Al Franken—who she describes as a "surprisingly serious" person—in Washington, D.C., under this award.
Katherine came to work with DOE’s SunShot Initiative as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellow in September 2011. She is now focusing her problem-solving skills on issues related to photovoltaic (PV) systems integration, such as solar resource forecasting and plug-and-play technologies.
“I am interested in identifying mathematical problems that come up in the solar community and helping find solutions to these challenges, whether through geometry or analysis,” said Katherine.
With an affinity for translating technical information for a general audience, Katherine hopes to spend some of her time working on technology validation. She would like to provide relevant standards for the scientific community that can also be meaningful to the finance community.
Katherine’s fellowship exemplifies the various opportunities available to students through internships, fellowships, and postdoctoral research awards. By recruiting the brightest minds in a variety of fields, the SunShot Initiative hopes to make solar energy from PV, concentrating solar power, and concentrating photovoltaic systems more accessible and affordable for Americans.