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Gillings School graduate receives leadership award in clean energy field

Lindsay Dubbs was recognized by the U.S. Clean Energy and Empowerment Initiative through an Education award for her work with marine hydrokinetic energy. Photo courtesy of John McCord with the Coastal Studies Institute.

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health graduate Lindsay Dubbs was one of eight women recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy for their leadership in the field of clean energy. 

The U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Initiative awards women who demonstrate leadership in the clean energy field. The C3E Initiative is a collaboration of the U.S. Department of Energy, MIT Energy Initiative, Stanford Energy and the Texas A&M Energy Institute. 

Dubbs was recognized in December for her work at the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program at the Coastal Studies Institute. As the associate director, Dubbs leads environmental assessments of marine and hydrokinetic energy and organizes research symposiums. 

Dubbs is also a co-director of the Outer Banks Field Site, a semester-long program through the UNC Institute for the Environment that covers coastal ecology and management. She teaches classes on ecology and renewable energy in North Carolina. 

She said it was not only validating and surprising to receive the C3E Initiative award, but also empowering in many ways. She said the award has aided in making community connections. 

“It’s made connections for me with people from those communities, especially women," Dubbs said. "Women are underrepresented in the energy sector, like many sectors. So it’s nice to have a larger network to learn from and work with.”

Reide Corbett, the executive director of the Coastal Studies Institute, said Dubbs works hard and focuses on integrating both students and other scientists from multiple institutions in thinking about hydrokinetic energy.  

"And the fact is, she’s always trying to figure out new ways to integrate that into her courses," Corbett said. "She has an incredible passion for the education as well as the science, and I’m thrilled she was recognized for that." 

Michael Piehler, UNC's chief sustainability officer, also commended Dubbs for her accomplishment. 

“She has done, in my opinion, a really remarkable job of looking at the spectrum of possible applications of clean energy at the coast and, in particular, in coastal waters," Piehler said. "And look to see, how are these possible solutions to the energy challenges we are facing going to affect the way that natural systems function?"

Dubbs plans to continue networking with the C3E community, which will influence her work with the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program. Additionally, the C3E Initiative will allow Dubbs to attend workshops on energy developments and update course material for her students. 

“I am also better able to connect with my students who have energy interests with people in the sector,” Dubbs said.

While the award includes a cash prize, Dubbs said she is not sure how she will use it, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It will definitely involve some sort of networking students with, especially women, in the clean energy sector,” she said. “Stay tuned, but I don’t exactly know what yet.”

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