Global Futures Laboratory at ASU joins DOE initiative to empower women in clean energy


Collage of an image of windmills and a graphic of a power grid.

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU is the third university to work with DOE to increase the participation, leadership and success of women in clean energy. Image courtesy of Pixabay

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The U.S. Department of Energy-led Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Initiative has announced that Arizona State University now joins the initiative as a partnering university.

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU joins the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative and the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy as the third university to work with DOE to increase the participation, leadership and success of women in clean energy.

A DOE-led initiative since 2011, Clean Energy Education and Empowerment, or C3E, works to highlight, recognize and empower women in clean energy. More than 100 mid-career professionals have been recognized by C3E for their outstanding leadership and achievements across eight categories: business, education, entrepreneurship and commercialization, finance and investment, fundamental and applied research, government, international, and policy and advocacy. 

The C3E community connects those working in clean energy with an opportunity to engage with peers and mentors via social media platforms, webinars and other events.

“DOE is excited to bring ASU on board as we continue our commitment to enrich the talent pool and help shape a robust and sustainable clean energy future,” said Maria T. Vargas, lead C3E ambassador and senior program advisor. “Our collaboration with ASU will further broaden the reach and representation of the C3E initiative and help further promote women’s leadership in the energy sector.”

Kelly Barr, associate vice president and chief alliance officer at the Global Futures Laboratory, also serves as a C3E ambassador. This role is given to distinguished senior executives, academics, government officials and thought leaders who serve as role models and advocates for women in clean energy.

“Women are underrepresented in the clean energy sector, especially in leadership positions,” Barr said. “A future built on clean energy has the potential to reach everyone — it only makes sense that the leaders in clean energy would reflect the communities they serve. This partnership with the DOE is an important step in the right direction.”  

As a partnering university, ASU will work with DOE to manage the C3E Initiative, including holding annual meetings and opportunities to promote women’s leadership. The Global Futures Laboratory at ASU provides key engagement spaces for scientists, scholars, innovators and leaders to address pressing societal challenges and will bring this to C3E. 

“We are thrilled that the Global Futures Laboratory at ASU is partnering with the Department of Energy’s C3E Initiative,” said Sally C. Morton, executive vice president at ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise. “Recognizing the outstanding leadership of women in the clean energy sector is vital for fostering innovation and advancing the industry.”

ASU will collaborate with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative, Stanford and the DOE on the planning and implementation of C3E’s annual awards and symposium. The 13th annual symposium will be held at Stanford University in November, and the 14th symposium will be held at ASU in 2025.

"We are honored to join the prestigious C3E initiative,” said Ellen B. Stechel, co-director of LightWorks at the Global Futures Laboratory and executive director for the Center for an Arizona Carbon-Neutral Economy. “At ASU, fostering inclusion is not only an essential mandate of our charter but also a strategic necessity.” 

Stechel, who is also a senior global futures scientist with the Global Futures Laboratory and a professor of practice in the School of Molecular Sciences, serves as the ASU lead in this partnership. By promoting women in the energy sector, Stechel said, our society can harness a wider range of perspectives and talents, driving innovation and impactful change. 

“This partnership reflects our commitment to creating equitable opportunities and advancing clean energy solutions,” Stechel said. “Together, we can accelerate the transition to a sustainable future while ensuring that the energy sector is inclusive and representative of all voices."

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