Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE) and GRID Alternatives announce winners of solar fellowship

September 23, 2020 • Recent Press Releases

The eight Rising Women Solar Fellows selected to participate this year’s virtual North American Smart Energy Week for networking and career development as part of both organizations’ workforce diversity efforts

Brooklyn, NY —WRISE and GRID Alternatives today announced their selection of eight women for the 2020 Rising Women Solar Fellowship. The fellowship is an opportunity for women from diverse backgrounds who are interested in solar careers to participate in North American Smart Energy Week for networking, mentorship and solar education. Part of GRID and WRISE’s workforce diversity initiatives, the program is aimed at women training for careers in installation and design as well as college and graduate students studying renewable energy and related fields.

Meet the 2020 Rising Women Solar Fellows

  • Narissa Jimenez-Petchumrus, Duke University, MPP-MEM Energy & Environment
  • Cheyenne Kabil, University of California, Berkeley, BS Environmental Policy
  • Daniarely Loma-Jasso, University of Colorado, Boulder, BS Mechanical Engineering
  • Brandy McElroy, Vocational Certificates in Solar, Energy and Construction
  • Samia Oishi, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, BS Mechatronics Engineering
  • Lianne Pinto, Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business, MBA
  • Benneth Salanga, University of Washington-Seattle, BS Materials Science and Engineering
  • Alyson Vargas, University of Texas at Austin, BS/BA, Sustainability Studies/Communications and Leadership

“Each day is an all too real reminder that we are living through the climate crisis and it is critical to have a diverse set of voices at the table as we work to navigate and mitigate current and future impacts,” said WRISE Executive Director, Kristen Graf. “This year’s class of fellows continue to inspire me with the work they are already doing to be a part of the solution. I continue to be thankful for our partnership with GRID Alternatives and for all of our sponsors that make it possible for us to support these amazing women and showcase their accomplishments and recognize the additional potential they hold.”

“We are honored to bring this amazing group of Fellows together in partnership with WRISE. These Fellows represent the type of talent that will be a real asset to grow and strengthen the solar industry,” said Erika Symmonds, Vice President of Workforce Development and Service-Learning at GRID Alternatives. “We look forward to the insight they will gain from the virtual SPI experience and the unique perspectives they will bring to the industry.”

The fellowship normally covers the cost to attend the annual North American Smart Energy Week, this year’s event is happening virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The virtual line up for this year’s event will provide our fellows with insights and the ability to make connections across the renewable industry and WRISE community,” added Graf.


About Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy:
WRISE was founded in 2005 and works to promote the education, professional development, and advancement of women to achieve a strong diversified workforce and support a robust renewable energy economy. Since that time, WRISE has grown to an organization with local chapters in the US and Canada; national programming that includes activities at renewable trade shows across the country, the Leadership Forum, Take Charge Workshops, mentoring, professional development and webinar series; and a growing grassroots network of nearly 10,000 women and men.

About GRID Alternatives:
GRID Alternatives is a national leader in making clean, renewable energy accessible to low income communities and communities of color. Using a unique, people-first model, GRID develops and implements renewable energy projects that serve qualifying households and affordable housing providers, while providing hands-on job training. GRID has installed solar for more than 11,000 families to-date, helped households and housing providers save $327 million in lifetime electricity costs, and trained nearly 38,000 people. GRID Alternatives has nine regional offices and affiliates serving California, Colorado, the mid-Atlantic region, and Tribal communities nationwide, and serves communities in Nicaragua, Nepal and Mexico. For more information, visit www.gridalternatives.org.