First Students to Graduate with New Energy Certificate

CELS students John Patrick Govan, Jonathan Ducharme, Kelly Fournier, Brianna Seltzer, and Devina Thakur will be the first recipients of the Certificate in Energy Economics and Policy.
CELS students John Patrick Govan, Jonathan Ducharme, Kelly Fournier, Brianna Seltzer, and Devina Thakur will be the first recipients of the Certificate in Energy Economics and Policy.

Five students in theCollege of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS) are about to become the first recipients of the University of Rhode Island’s newest certificate degree. The undergraduate Certificate in Energy Economics and Policy program, launched earlier thisyear, provides students with the skills to compete in the rapidly growing green energy sector by providing intense training in energy economics, management, and policy.

John Patrick Govan, a CELS senior, enrolled in the energy certificate program in hopes of gaining a competitive edge in the job market. “My goal isto work in renewable energy,” assertsGovan, who will be among the first to receive the URI Certificate in Energy Economic and Policyin May 2017.

“With the energy certificate, I can prove to an employer that I know what I’m talking about,” notesGovan,who will also receive in a bachelor’s degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. While pursuing the energy certificate, Govan gained exposure to a wide range of modern energy issues,from local green energy demand to energy challenges in developing countries, further increasing his employment prospects.

According to Simona Trandafir, CELS professor and energy certificate program director, renewable energy jobsare among the fastest growing employment opportunities. The certificate program addresses the demand for qualified energy managers by providing hands-on education and skill-based instruction.

“The advantage of URI’s energy certificate over most other energy programs is that it teaches practical skills for managing energy, in addition to academic training,” explains Trandafir.

The program fosters experiential learning and civic engagement through an internship and courses in subjects such as Sustainable Energy Economics and Policy. Students learn how to assess on-site energy efficiency; conduct energy benchmarking, an industry-standard process for comparing energy performance across buildings; and focus on real world energy projects through service learning.

The energy certificate program was developed through a partnership between CELS’sEnvironmental and Natural Resource Economicsdepartment and the URI Extension Outreach Center to address the criticalenergy challenges of the 21st-century. The program is open to full and part-time undergraduates and can be pursued as a stand-alone degree, or combined with most academic majors to create an interdisciplinary learning experience.

Govan dreams of launching his own solar or wind energy company one day, but says he is starting small by seeking a career with an existing renewable energy facility. As he begins his job search, he concludes that the Certificate in Energy Economics and Policy has been “a valuable experience.”