Arielle Cardinal works in NREL's Water Power Program
Sarah Harman, U.S. Department of Energy

June is Ocean Month, and to celebrate STEM Rising is sharing profiles of Energy Department staff in ocean-related careers. Meet Arielle Cardinal.

I am the Program Integrator for the NREL Water Power Program. I’m responsible for overseeing and coordinating the planning, management, execution, and reporting of all work associated with the Water Power Program at NREL.  I also manage the Marine Energy Collegiate Competition and serve as the administrator to the U.S. Technical Advisory Group of the International Electrotechnical Commission's (IEC's) Technical Committee 114: Marine energy—Wave, tidal and other water converters. Prior to joining NREL, I worked in the hospitality sector and received a BA in Hotel Admininstration from Cornell University.

Arielle Cardinal works at NREL's Water Power Program.

What’s your favorite fact about the ocean?

We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the bottom of the ocean.

What do you do to celebrate Ocean Month?

This will be my first year celebrating Ocean Month and I’m going to make a donation to 4Ocean, which is working to clean plastic from the ocean and coastline and reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean.

What inspired you to work in water power?

I stumbled upon water power through various opportunities presented to me at NREL. As a kid, I always understood the importance of protecting our environment and knew I wanted to somehow incorporate that into my career. I was really excited to get involved in such a new research area like water power.  There’s so much opportunity for innovation and development in water power and it will take people from all different educational backgrounds to make it successful.   

What do you do in your job?

I wear a few different hats at NREL. My main focus is to manage a portfolio of approximately 60 projects totaling $45M annually by overseeing and coordinating the planning, execution, and reporting of all work associated with the NREL Water Power Program. I analyze budget data, prepare project plans, track project deliverables, plan project budgets, compile quarterly reports, and resolve resource conflicts in that role. In addition to that I serve as PI for the Marine Energy Collegiate Competition and manage all efforts under this project. I also serve as Secretary for the U.S. Technical Advisory Group of the International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee 114 – responsible for writing technical standards for marine energy devices. 

What books or movies about the ocean do you recommend?

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zizzou

The Cove

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Do you have any advice for people who want to work in ocean-related careers?

There are so many different career opportunities out there and all different skills are needed. If you’re passionate about the ocean, there is a job for you. You’ll find that those who work in an ocean-related career are most likely passionate about it and willing to share their experiences and advice. 

Read more Ocean Month profiles and get information about STEM Rising at www.energy.gov/STEM