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Venturing Out For Summer

Speechley and Jhina in Bhutan;courtesy A Jhina.

Planting Trees 
Brendan Speechley and Ashish Jhina (both Joint MBA-MS 3rd) spent part of the summer in Bhutan working with Mountain Hazelnut Venture, a company that is planting millions of hazelnut trees in Bhutan in collaboration with tens of thousands of small farmers on marginal land. Ashish and Brendan developed technology enabled monitoring systems to allow improved trace-ability and quality control throughout the system.

Advancing Solar Energy 
Ivan La Frinere-Sandoval and Francisco Torrealba Fuenzalida (both Joint MBA-MS 2nd), with GSB colleague Jay Schoenberger, wrote about their summer internships in the solar industry in The Dawn of Solar Grid Parity, in the Stanford GSB Reporter. Ivan worked at SolarCity, the nation's leading provider of solar electricity to U.S. homeowners, to investigate energy storage solutions and to collaborate with PG&E to analyze the integration of renewable energy with the traditional grid. Francisco launched the Chilean-based project developer Valhalla Energy, with the aim to build utility-scale solar energy and pumped storage projects.To learn more about the quest for grid parity, visit the SolarFirst website.

Frolicking in Forests 
Lauren Oakes (PhD 3rd) returned to campus with a backpack full of tree cores and a ream of tattered Write-In-The-Rain paper from her remote field site on the outer coast of Southeast Alaska. Her research focuses on understanding succession in dying yellow-cedar forests associated with climate change and what the shifting dynamics in these forests mean for long-term management and conservation planning. With a team of dedicated and determined field assistants, a strong base of community support and regional partners, and a wardrobe of rubber rain gear and wool, Lauren established 40 plots in the West Chichagof Yakobi Wilderness and initiated preliminary study in Glacier Bay National Park this summer. Lauren and her team maintained a blog, Frolicking in Forests, throughout the field season.

Influencing Policy 
Nikit Abhyankar (PhD 5th) has been designing energy efficiency policies and analyzing their financial impact as part of the development of India’s 12th five year plan (2012-2017). Nikit presented his model to the Indian government for evaluating costs and emissions of a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy policies.

Austin Becker (PhD 4th) was an invited expert at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Ad hoc expert meeting on climate change impacts and adaptation: a challenge for global ports in Geneva. Austin joined colleagues from international transport policy, finance, coastal engineering, and climate science to identify solutions to the cross-cutting impacts of sea level rise and increased storminess. Austin presented the case-study and survey research he has been conducting with Profs. Pam Matson (Earth Sciences), Martin Fischer (CEE), Meg Caldwell (Law), and Mike Mastrandrea (IPCC). Read more in the New York Times at: Little Preparation Under Way for Climate Change at World's Seaports.

Investing in Cleantech 
Andrew Longenecker (Joint MBA-MS 2nd) worked for Khosla Ventures, a cleantech-focused venture capital firm, supporting all aspects of KV investing such as sourcing new deals, conducting due diligence, hearing pitches and meeting entrepreneurs, and portfolio company work. Andrew also evaluated academic-level energy and clean technology research for potential commercialization opportunities, covering a broad range of clean technologies ranging from aquaporin membranes to zeolite nanostructures. Andrew greatly enjoyed the experience of working with Vinod Khosla and other KV partners and is excited to pursue his entrepreneurial cleantech interests.