The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) held its Technical Forum for the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) Class of 2023 in August. This year’s program included 56 undergraduate and graduate students representing 43 academic institutions, with 37% of participants attending a minority serving institution. Participants also represented 20 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Over the course of the week, students gave presentations on the research projects they completed during the summer across DOE’s network of national labs and headquarters.

Group photo of MLEF technical forum participants

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm highlighted a few of the fellows and their research, including: 

  • Maya Sosa designed and assembled a microcontroller circuit to be used with a halogen lamp or LED light. This circuit produces a modulated light source with the goal of utilizing optical fibers to aid in pursuing energy-efficient technology solutions at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh, PA; 
  • Andrew Aikman assisted with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Algae-Based Bioproducts Utilizing Sorbent-Captured Carbon Dioxide (ALBUS) project by conducting process analysis of the spool-automated system, technoeconomic analysis, and life cycle assessment of the ALBUS material; and 
  • Vanessa Thomas, who was based at DOE Headquarters, assessed the research capacities of minority serving institutions to determine the degree to which they align with FECM’s mission-related research for possible future funding opportunities. 
Sec. Granholm speaking at MLEF Technical Forum

“My hope for you is that this summer, here, you gained a sense that this moment, in the Department of Energy, is a historic moment to solve the greatest problem of our time,” said Secretary Granholm.

The fellows also heard from Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary of FECM; Kimberly Rasar, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations of FECM; Reggie Spiller, MLEF Program Co-Founder; Alan Perry, Director of the Office of Workforce Management and Administration in FECM, and Dr. Sean Plasynski, Acting Director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory. 

MLEF participants at picnic

This year’s fellows also participated in the FECM department picnic where they were able to meet and network with staff. 

We are proud of the MLEF Class of 2023 and their contributions to advance the FECM mission, which is focused on minimizing the environmental and climate impacts of fossil fuels and industrial processes while working to achieve net-zero emissions across the U.S. economy. Applications are now being accepted for the MLEF Class of 2024 and students can apply on the MLEF website.