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

September 7, 2021 • Recent Press Releases, Stories About WRISE

The eight Rising Solar Fellows selected are aspiring solar professionals looking to pursue a career in renewable energy

WRISE and GRID Alternatives today announced the 2021 Rising Solar Fellowship recipients. The fellowship is an opportunity for individuals from diverse backgrounds who are interested in solar careers to network, receive mentorship and professional development. Part of GRID and WRISE’s workforce diversity initiatives, the program is aimed at professionals training for careers in installation and design as well as college and graduate students studying renewable energy and related fields.

Meet the 2021 Rising Solar Fellows

  • Tillila Beetus, University of Alaska Fairbanks Community and Technical College, AAS, Information Technology
  • Elena Dulger,  Northwestern University, MSc, Energy and Sustainability
  • Taylor Gosk, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,  BA, Environmental Studies and Public Policy
  • Nia Harmon, Yale University, PhD Candidate, Chemistry
  • Lesley Ortega, Albion College, BA, Environmental Studies – Law, Justice and Society Concentration
  • Syeda Nur E Saba, Case Western Reserve University, MS, Physics Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Hanna Fanni Varga, Duke University, PhD Candidate, Environmental Engineering
  • Katarina Yazzie, Navajo Technical University, BS, Electrical Engineering

“To say that we are in an intense and pivotal moment in time is really only a snapshot. Between the global pandemic, hurricanes, raging fires, and the acceleration of social movements, we are witnessing massive changes in the way industries and companies build and retain their workforce,” said WRISE Executive Director, Kristen Graf. “This year’s fellows are already tackling these challenges and demonstrating their resilience and ability to adapt throughout the last year and a half. I continue to be thankful for our partnership with GRID Alternatives and for all of our sponsors that make it possible for us to connect and build a community with them as a long-term part of our growing network.”

“GRID is excited to be partnering with WRISE for the 5th year of this impactful fellowship program. This year, the fellowship feels particularly crucial as we saw the number of women in the workforce nationally decline over the last year and a half. We look forward to supporting these 8 fellows as they embark on their solar careers and watching how they impact the industry for many years to come,” said Erika Symmonds, Vice President of Workforce Development and Service-Learning at GRID Alternatives.

The fellowship normally covers the cost to attend the annual North American Smart Energy Week, this year’s fellowship will take place virtually.

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 15,000 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.