The leadership support staff helps the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) present its programs and related analysis accurately and effectively to internal and external stakeholders, including the general public.
DR. PAUL BASORE, CHIEF SCIENTIST
Dr. Paul Basore is the chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). In this role, he provides guidance for strategic planning, program evaluation, techno-economic analysis, and scientific methodology. His four decades in solar power technology span industrial, academic, and government positions on three continents, including positions within DOE’s national laboratory solar programs at Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and a previous role in SETO. Since assuming his current position in January 2021, he has been stationed in San Diego, California.
After receiving a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in energy storage technology to support solar power, Paul focused his attention on crystalline-silicon photovoltaics (PV). He led the development of PC1D, a program for personal computers to simulate the internal operation of silicon solar cells, which became the most widely cited PV cell simulation program for more than 25 years. He then developed a method for extracting the internal electrical and optical properties of solar cells from their response to monochromatic light of varying wavelength. He subsequently led the scale-up of a thin-film crystalline-silicon PV technology from laboratory to commercial production and led the advanced research and development labs in two tier-one silicon module manufacturing companies. Nine U.S.-issued patents list him as the inventor. Paul has published papers in forward-looking techno-economic analysis and the future evolution of PV manufacturing. He chaired the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference in 1997 and received the outstanding paper award for silicon PV in 2003.
SUSANNA MURLEY, COMMUNICATIONS TEAM LEAD
Susanna Murley is the communications team lead and a senior management analyst for the Solar Energy Technologies Office. She supports the office’s strategic development and communications activities. She leads the team that manages the office’s outreach, website, graphic design, presentations, and other internal and external communications.
She joined the office in 2015 and brings expertise in communications strategy, government plain language, and stakeholder engagement. While at SETO, her team has won several communications awards, including three NAGC Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards, a Gold Award in the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals Hermes Creative Awards, and an Honorable Mention in PR Daily’s Digital PR & Social Media Awards.
Previously, she was the digital media director for the Solar Energy Industries Association, where she won numerous awards, including a Gold Communicator Award from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. She has also managed websites at Planet Forward, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. She has an M.A., in environmental resource policy from The George Washington University, an M.A. in English literature from the University of Delaware, and a B.A. in English and philosophy from Saint Olaf College.
PATRICE C. CLAYTON
Company: The Building People
Patrice C. Clayton joined the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in November 2022 as a senior communications and stakeholder engagement specialist. As part of the communications team, Patrice focuses on outreach and awareness of SETO’s work to media and stakeholders.
Before joining SETO, Patrice was a public relations manager at Marriott International. Prior to her time with Marriott, Patrice worked as a media and communications advisor at the Southern California Gas Company, which is the largest national gas distribution utility in the United States. Her work at the gas company focused on crisis communications, community engagement, and media relations – specializing in new and emerging technologies.
Patrice earned her B.A. in journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her M.A. in strategic public relations from The George Washington University.
DR. KRYSTA DUMMIT
Company: Lindahl Reed
Dr. Krysta Dummit is a solar industry analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). She works with the Chief Scientist Paul Basore on supply chain, policy, and market analyses. She joined SETO in October 2021 as an ORISE Science and Technology Policy Fellow before becoming a contractor in January 2023. Prior to SETO, she worked as a graduate student researcher in the Radosevich lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she investigated a series of phosphorus molecules called phosphacycles. During her time at MIT, she was also involved in science advocacy through MIT’s Science Policy Initiative and science outreach through MIT’s Women in Chemistry group.
Prior to receiving her Ph.D. in chemistry from MIT, Dr. Dummit received her B.A. in chemistry from Princeton while working in the Chirik Lab researching cobalt catalysts. While there she also published in yeast genomics and data privacy research, and was the treasurer for the Institute for Chocolate Studies.
Julia Durmer joined the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in June 2022 as a communications and stakeholder engagement specialist. As a member of the communications team, she works to enhance awareness and understanding of SETO’s efforts and initiatives among members of the public, media, and scientific arena.
Before joining SETO, Julia was the strategic communications intern with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Data Modernization Initiative (DMI), a billion-plus dollar effort to modernize data and surveillance infrastructure across the federal and state public health landscape. In her time with DMI, she communicated highly technical material to a broad spectrum of scientists, public health professionals, and the public at large while managing news media and peer-reviewed research to support collaboration, knowledge management, and message dissemination.
Julia is a six-time NCAA All-American swimmer. In her time outside the pool, she conducted and published research with CDC and had the opportunity to present that work at an international conference. As a graduate student, Julia found a passion for green energy, conducting her thesis on the topic of misinformation and renewable energy.
She has a B.A. in human health from Emory University and an M.P.H. in public health communications and marketing from the George Washington University.
CHRISTIE L.C. ELLIS
Company: The Building People
Dr. Christie L.C. Ellis joined the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in January 2020 as an ORISE Science and Technology Policy Fellow. As part of the operations and communications team, she works on increasing the diversity of applicants for SETO programs, teaching scientists how to communicate their research effectively, coordinating organization and improvement efforts within SETO, and increasing public knowledge and understanding of solar power.
Christie received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2019. Her dissertation research focused on improving the stability of hybrid organic-inorganic perovskite photovoltaics. She also developed environmentally friendly manufacturing methods for organic photovoltaics. She received her B.S. in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University in 2014, where she synthesized electron transporting polymers for organic photovoltaics.
She was awarded a 2018 AAAS Mass Media Fellowship and wrote science news for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She has also led initiatives to support women in scientific and technical fields, for which she won the 2018 UMass College of Natural Sciences Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award. She is a native of North Carolina and living in D.C. for the first time.
ORISE Science and Technology Policy Fellow
Shayna Grossman is an ORISE Science and Technology Policy Fellow for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). She joined SETO in January 2024 as part of the leadership support staff.
Prior to joining SETO, Shayna was an intern for the U.S. House of Representatives, where she assisted with policy research for a broad portfolio of issues, including transportation, infrastructure, labor, and healthcare. Shayna received her B.A. in Earth and planetary sciences and environmental engineering with a minor in theater from Harvard University in May 2023. While there, she conducted research on novel methods of tracking submarine glacier melt—in collaboration with a laboratory at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography—and modeling fugitive methane emissions. In her free time, she enjoys baking, running, and all things theater.
Company: The Building People
Gabby LaVerghetta joined the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in February 2022. As a senior communications and stakeholder engagement specialist, she focuses on expanding outreach and elevating awareness of SETO’s work to stakeholders, the public, and the media.
Before joining SETO, she was the senior director for environment, climate, and energy at Arc Initiatives, where she developed strategic communications campaigns for coalitions and nonprofit organizations. Gabby’s work at Arc ranged from writing topline messaging guidance for decision-makers to creating compelling content for partner social media channels.
She has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Maryland and an M.A. in international media from American University.
Company: The Building People
Greg O’Brien joined the Solar Energy Technologies Office for the second time in August 2019 as the digital media manager. He manages editorial content, video production, and website user experience improvements. He previously worked as a senior communications specialist from 2015 to 2018.
Greg comes to the solar industry from a nonprofit organization that assisted children of military service members. As the organization's sole communicator, he developed communications materials that increased donations, expanded the organization’s web and social media presence, and assisted in creating an annual event that drew consistent praise from donors and attention from news media. Greg started his career as a newscast producer for the NBC affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, where he was responsible for the weekday morning broadcast. He was part of the news team that won a Peabody Award and a Regional Emmy for its coverage of the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech.
Greg holds a B.A. from Virginia Tech and an M.A. from American University.
Company: The Building People
Sabrina Patel joined the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in July 2023 as a communications and stakeholder engagement specialist. As a member of the communications team, Sabrina works to enhance awareness of SETO’s initiatives among stakeholders, media outlets, and the public.
Before joining SETO, Sabrina served as a Health Equity and Access Team intern at the American Psychological Association. During her time there, she developed strategic communications campaigns aimed at raising awareness for several initiatives, including Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Her work ranged from creating effective communication strategies tailored to diverse populations to maintaining an extensive outreach database of stakeholders.
She has a B.S. in biological sciences from the University of California, Irvine and an M.P.H. in global environmental health from the George Washington University.
Dawn Washelesky joined the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in November 2015 and is a program communications specialist. She supports both the communications and operations teams, as well as senior leadership. Her role is focused on external and internal communication strategies in line with the advancement of clean energy technologies. This involves responsibilities in graphic design, stakeholder engagement, event and website management, and written communications across diverse mediums. Dawn also contributes to SETO's strategic planning and operational efforts.
Prior to joining DOE, Dawn was the creative manager for two Software as a Service (SaaS) companies that served the nonprofit community globally and locally in Washington, D.C.
Dawn holds a B.A. in graphic design from the University of WI – Milwaukee. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, four children (including a lucky set of twins), and border collie, exploring the D.C. metro area.