Sarah Truitt joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 2010 and spent her first four years in program management, working closely with the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office and NREL researchers. Since 2014, she has been leading innovative programs across many areas of the lab including piloting new methods of doing business with small and large businesses and international organizations. Sarah joined the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) Operations Center in 2017 and is the user program manager there. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado Boulder and received an MBA degree from the George Washington University.
What inspired you to work in STEM?
I moved to San Francisco in 2001, just in time for the dot-com bust, rolling electricity brownouts, and the bankruptcy of one of the state’s major utilities. This confluence of events led me to the solar industry, where I set out to learn everything I could about photovoltaic technologies and how they could help mitigate the electricity crisis of the time.
What excites you about your work at the Energy Department?
The Energy Department provides the opportunity to learn about all sorts of technologies. I am especially interested in how new technologies intersect with economics and policy. Working to advance the adoption of new technologies and speed up the commercialization timeline is incredibly rewarding. I love working for DOE, because the agency has the means to make meaningful impact.
How can our country engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM?
Exposing girls to STEM early, in a fun and engaging way, is critical. Seeing women who work in these fields is valuable as well. Young girls need strong female role models, so they begin to see themselves as future engineers, mathematicians, and scientists.
Do you have tips you'd recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?
Don’t be afraid to take risks, learn about a new technology, or try a new discipline. More and more, this area of work requires an understanding of multiple disciplines.