Energy Faculty Fellow (EFF) Program at The Strategic Energy Institute

SEI 2023 Summer Energy Faculty Fellows
2023 Summer Energy Faculty Fellows

Energy Faculty Fellow Program

Few sectors affect the prosperity of every sphere of economic and social life or exert as much direct influence on general technological progress than the energy sector. Concerns surrounding climate change, affordability, equity, and security have brought the development of a clean and diverse energy portfolio to the forefront of the national conversation. Concurrently, these conversations center on ensuring that all people and all communities have access to clean energy options. Building strong partnerships within the energy community is essential to meet the multifaceted demands of the changing energy landscape.

The Strategic Energy Institute (SEI) at Georgia Tech is approaching this challenge by introducing a new Energy Faculty Fellows Program focused on building partnerships with other academic institutions. In addition to identifying and pursuing innovative research concepts, a key programmatic aim is to develop long standing research relationships with potential partner institutions in preparation for collaborative responses to energy-focused funding, education, and curriculum development opportunities.

The Energy Faculty Fellows Program seeks to build partnerships between energy researchers at Georgia Tech and other academic institutions specifically R2s, Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), or smaller Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) with limited research resources. This program is intended to enhance existing partnerships and initiate new collaborative relationships to amplify the impacts of ongoing efforts. Program participants will spend 10 weeks working closely with research groups at Georgia Tech on collaborative projects that advance regional, national, and global energy priorities. 

Summer 2024 Applications Accepted Now!

SEI is now accepting applications for the SEI Energy External Fellows Program for Summer 2024. External applicants interested in participating in the 2024 Summer program should send their application packets to the Energy Comments Mailbox by February 2, 2024, and include 

  • current CV 
  • a one-page summary of ongoing research efforts, specifically highlighting energy engagement 
  • 3 topic areas of interest addressing or relevant to the following statement, “Concerns surrounding climate change, affordability, equity, and security have brought the development of a clean and diverse energy portfolio to the forefront of the national conversation.” 
  • Please identify and contact faculty at Georgia Tech that you may be interested in collaborating with. If you are in conversations with a potential host, please note in your application. Details can be finalized as the application review process is underway.  

Program Details

The program will be a 10-week collaborative effort hosted at Georgia Tech. A stipend and housing support will be provided to all selected fellows. Faculty applicants are encouraged to identify students within their home institutions who would also like to engage in summer research on related projects. The goal of this program is to establish long term collaborations on grand challenges in energy.

Summer 2024 Energy Faculty Fellows Program Flyer 


2023 Summer External Energy Faculty Program

In Summer 2023, the first ever Energy Faculty Fellow program (EFF) brought three faculty and two undergraduate students to the Georgia Tech campus. The 10-week program is designed for Georgia Tech faculty to host a faculty member from a primarily undergraduate or minority serving Institution to engage with energy leaders, build networks, and pursue research collaborations in the energy space. Ongoing goals are to continue research collaborations well beyond this summer with faculty and students carrying research efforts to their home institutions and into the new academic year. The Strategic Energy Institute anticipates a pipeline between the institutions, where EFF participants encourage their colleagues to engage with Georgia Tech in future cohorts, call on each other for collaborations on federal grant proposals, and the faculty send students to Georgia Tech's summer undergraduate or graduate programs. 

The 2023 Summer program included,

  • Xingpeng Li (U Houston, HSI), hosted by Pascal Van Henternryck
  • Guanyu Huang (Spelman, HBCU), hosted by Marilyn Brown (student Nia McKenzie)
  • Mario Bencomo (Cal State Fresno, HSI), hosted by Comas Haynes (student Mikayla Leggett)

Please scroll down to read about each of their experiences at Georgia Tech and their key takeaways from the program.

Mario and Mikayla presenting their research at the Closeout Reception of the 2023 EFF Program

Mario Bencomo, Fresno State

Host: Comas Haynes, Principal Research Engineer at Georgia Tech Research Institute, Hydrogen Initiative Lead at SEI

Mario Bencomo is an assistant professor in Mathematics at Fresno State and was hosted by Comas Haynes, Principal Research Engineer and Research Faculty in the Intelligent Sustainable Technologies Division at GTRI and the lead for Hydrogen initiative at the Strategic Energy Institute.

Mario's Energy Faculty Fellow experience in his own words:

"Overall this summer experience has been very productive. Personally, this program has given me the space and resources to engage in research, which is a challenge coming from a teaching intensive institution. Though I am familiar with the fundamental mathematics of the problem, the application is new to me and an opportunity to grow my research portfolio. To that end, collaborating with Comas and his team has been instrumental in the earlier stages of problem formulation.

Work done over this summer has provided the groundwork for a research program I plan on carrying out at Fresno State. In particular, we have developed baseline code that will serve as the foundation for developing more sophisticated models as well as a framework for a monitoring system. It is my plan to continue collaborating with Comas and his team as I continue this work, while engaging students from my institution in research." 

Student: Mikayla Leggett

Mikayla is an undergraduate student at Fresno State and worked with Mario in the program. Read below to know about Mikayla's experience at Georgia Tech:

"The SURE program has been an amazing opportunity to see how research is conducted and to experience a new place. During my time here I’ve learned about mathematical methods I was unfamiliar with and how to implement them. Additionally it’s been fascinating to see how research is done, and the collaborative process between experts in different disciplines, like Dr. Haynes. I am excited to continue working on this project with Dr. Bencomo even after this program ends. I’ve also greatly appreciated the chance to see Georgia Tech and Atlanta and everything they have to offer. I was fortunate enough to be assigned fantastic roommates who I’ve really enjoyed getting to know. They’re definitely friends, and I hope we can keep in touch after the program ends. Experiencing the city and the culture has also been a highlight of my experience."

Guanyu Huang and Nia McKenzie presenting at the Closeout Reception of the 2023 EFF Program

Guanyu Huang

Host: Marilyn Brown, a Regents' and Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems in the School of Public Policy, Georgia Tech

Guanyu Huang is an assistant professor in Environmental and Health Science at Spelman College. Read below to know what Guanyu Huang had to say about his experience at Georgia Tech.

"I had an excellent experience at Georgia Tech and I really enjoyed working with Dr. Brown and the Strategic Energy Institute colleagues. We are working on a paper and will continue our collaboration after my fellowship. My key takeaway from this fellowship is the great opportunity to work closely with Georgia Tech Principal Investigators and form new collaborations between Spelman and Georgia Tech that we plan to continue in the future."  

Student: Nia Devonne McKenzie

Nia is a sophomore at Spelman College majoring in Environmental Science, with a passion for sustainable policies, research, and service. 

“The program was an enlightening experience that significantly contributed to my research and analysis skills. I have had the fantastic opportunity of working with graduate students to find innovative solutions to climate problems. The Climate Energy Policy Lab has been a joy to work with. I truly am grateful for my time at Georgia Tech with the Strategic Energy Institute.”

Xinpeng Li presenting at the Closeout Reception of the 2023 EFF Program

Xingpeng Li

Host: Pascal Van Henternryck, A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Tech

Xingpeng Li is an assistant professor in the College of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Houston. He was hosted by Pascal Van Henternryck, a A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech. Xingpeng Li shares his experience and takeaways from the Faculty Fellow program below:

My overall experience at Georgia Tech:

"It’s really an amazing experience to visit Georgia Tech for this summer. I not only got to know the city and the university here and had a lot of fun, but also gained unique experience interacting with talented students, post-docs and senior researchers, and faculties at Georgia Tech."

Collaborations with Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck and his team during the past 10 weeks:

"In addition to several individual meetings with Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck, I attended roughly two of their meetings each week: one research group meeting and one machine learning (ML) methodology reading meeting. I got to know the cutting-edge research Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck’s team does through the research group meetings and got the opportunity to learn emerging ML technologies through the ML methodology reading meetings. I also shared my University of Houston team’s research and experience such as power system dynamics and stability-constrained energy scheduling that well complement to the current research of Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck’s team, which makes it suitable for establishing collaborations. I also shared my personal experience as a junior faculty with some Ph.D. students and post-docs here, which may help encourage them to look for academia jobs after graduation."

Key takeaways from this program and work products:

"I got to know how a large research team is managed efficiently and effectively (by learning from my host at AI4OPT). Get to learn innovative ML approaches that may be very useful to support my own team’s research work. Complementary expertise with my host’s team makes it possible to establish and maintain long-term collaborations. Got to know many exciting energy-related initiatives by Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute. Got to know and interact with a number of energy-related professors, researchers and engineers. Created a concept paper that could be potentially extended to a full proposal for future grant applications with my host."

Final comments:

"There is a weekly informal social event at Pascal Van Hentenryck’s team, which provides good interactive opportunities for people in his team (a very large and strong research team). During such informal ‘meetings’, I really enjoyed the interactions with other team members. Having a short enjoyable break can relieve pressure while working hard on daily research work."