The Operations team supports each of the teams within the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) with strategic, programmatic, and operational planning. The team also oversees the office’s internal and external communications and outreach efforts, including the SETO website, social media, webinars, conferences, and stakeholder newsletters.

Susanna Murley

Susanna Murley Headshot

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 a team of six professionals who manage the office’s outreach, website, graphic design, presentations, and other internal and external communications.

She joined the office 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.

Julia Durmer

Photo of Julia Durmer.

Company: The Building People

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 6-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

Christie Ellis Portrait Headshot DOE March 2020

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.

Jamal Ferguson

Jamal Ferguson Headshot

Company: Redhorse Corporation

Jamal Ferguson is the executive assistant to the director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in the office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). He provides logistical and administrative support to SETO senior leadership staff and also serves as a liaison to the EERE front office. Before joining SETO, his tenure at DOE in the Office of Policy and International started in 2015. Jamal’s public service career began in Prince George’s County, Maryland at the Department of Social Services in 2012.

Jamal holds dual bachelor's degrees in business administration and international marketing from Delaware State University.

 

YULIYA KORZH

Yuliya Korzh SETO portrait

Company: Redhorse Corporation

Yuliya Korzh joined the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO)  operations team in May 2022, where she supports both the Workforce and Equitable Access team and the Strategic Analysis and Institutional Support team. Prior to that, Yuliya worked in the Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Innovation since March 2021, as an executive assistant/task leader project manager to the Under Secretary for Science and Innovation and her chief of staff. Yuliya was detailed from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), where she supported the Assistant Secretary and his chief of staff as a scheduler and program specialist.

Earlier, Yuliya worked at the World Bank as a program assistant to the Director of Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice. Yuliya joined the Energy Department in 2015 as a contractor in the Office of Electricity, where she supported the Deputy Assistant Secretary for R&D and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Corporate Business Operations as an executive assistant. Yuliya also worked in the accounting department at ICF International, while working on her M.A. program at George Mason University.

Yuliya holds a B.A. in global affairs and an M.A. in international commerce and policy from George Mason University. In addition, Yuliya received a Certificate in “Britain, the EU, and the Challenge of Globalization” from Oxford University, where she attended a study-abroad summer program in 2013.

GABBY LAVERGHETTA

Gabby LaVerghetta SETO Portrait

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 non-profit 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.

Greg O'Brien

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 servicemembers. 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 16th shootings at Virginia Tech.

Greg holds a B.A. from Virginia Tech and an M.A. from American University.

Selina Spottswood

Selina Spottswood SETO Portrait

Company: Redhorse Corporation

Selina Spottswood joined the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in April 2022 as a senior operations specialist, providing administrative and operational support to the photovoltaics and systems integration teams. Before joining SETO, she performed in a dual program and project manager role where she spent most of her time as a project manager at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office and the rest of her time as a lead program manager in the contracts corporate office managing several Federal projects. 

Selina spent more than 21 years as a contractual employee in various roles in the COPS office. Her latest role was on-site project manager, where she oversaw vital processes and managed day-to-day activities supporting various divisions within their office. She aspires to continue her professional growth as she performs her job with respect, pride, and enthusiasm. As a leader, she supports and respects growth. Selina always aims to fulfill her responsibilities at a level that exceeds expectations. Ms. Spottswood has led her contractual teams to receive awards usually only given to Federal employees, and she has received various positive acknowledgements, kudos, and letters of appreciation from DOJ, alongside the contractual company, for her work ethic and dedication.

Selina was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, where she also raised her daughter, Skylar, who is currently serving in the U S. Navy.

Dawn Washelesky

Dawn Washelesky Portrait

Company: The Building People

Dawn Washelesky supports the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) as the senior graphics specialist and web manager on the communications team. She joined the office in November 2015 and in her current role she manages all graphic design for the office, from data visualization and collateral to social media and presentations for office staff and senior leadership. In addition to graphic design, Dawn also manages the SETO website and email functions. She also serves as the team lead for the contract. Prior to this position, Dawn served as the creative manager for two Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, specializing in brand management, marketing, and business development support. Both organizations served the nonprofit community locally in Washington, D.C., as well as globally. 

Dawn has her B.A. in graphic design from the University of WI – Milwaukee and was born and raised in Wisconsin. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and four children (including a set of twins) exploring the D.C. metro area.