The Graduate Student Symposium will be held on Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, with additional side events throughout the conference to highlight the graduate student experience. The symposium is an opportunity for graduate students to connect with one another and with industry, learn soft skills to complement the technical focus of the conference, and extend their time horizon beyond graduate school. 

In particular, the 2023 edition of the symposium will focus on exploring the different aspects of professional development of graduate students in wind energy. The attendees will have the opportunity to expand and practice their interview skills by giving mock-up technical presentations and elevator pitches. Furthermore, wind energy experts from industry, national labs, and academia will share their experience and the lessons learned throughout their career. Finally, building upon the positive feedback from last year’s symposium, there will be space for discussion on wellness and life-work balance for wind energy professionals. 

All graduate students are welcome! The Graduate Student Symposium is open to any graduate student, including those who are not attending the NAWEA/WindTech 2023 conference. (You can register for the conference separately.) These meetings are included in the registration fee, so you can register to attend the symposium and side meetings and workshops at no extra cost. 

Register for the Symposium

Symposium Schedule

A summary of the planned events and initial descriptions are below. 

Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023

  • 5:30 p.m.: Industry Mixer
    • ​Graduate students will have the opportunity to spend a fun evening at the beautiful National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesa Lab (pictured and located at 1850 Table Mesa Dr, Boulder, Colorado, 80305) while meeting and networking with other students and industry professionals in a low stress environment. Dinner will be provided.

National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesa Lab

Friday, Nov. 3, 2023 

  • 8:30–9 a.m.: Welcome Coffee
  • 9–10:15 a.m.: PhD-to-X: Career Pathways Panel
    • This speaker panel will explore the experiences of wind energy researchers in academia, national laboratories, and industry. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions based on their experiences and expectations for their own careers.
    • See below for the list of speakers and their bios.
  • 10:15–12:15 a.m.:  Wind It Up
    • ​Attendees will have the opportunity to give mock interview presentations about their technical experience in front of the audience, building upon the lessons learned during the morning session. Students will present a few technical slides about their research and skills relevant to a job they would like to apply for after graduation (presentation submission guidelines to follow). The top three presentations will be awarded a NAWEA certificate!
  • 12:15–1:30 p.m.: Lunch (Provided by the Organizers)
  • 1:30–3:15 p.m.: Tech Talks: Interview Skills
    • This interactive workshop will give students the opportunity to develop technical interview skills, with an emphasis on what hiring managers and employers are looking for. This will be a unique learning experience for students looking to perfect their pitching skills and prepare for the competitive wind energy job market.
  • 3:15–4 p.m.: Weathering the Turbulence
    • Attendees will learn from mental health experts about the multi-faceted aspects of wellness and other holistic work-life balance topics. A wholesome and positive way to wrap up the conference by reflecting on the role of physical and mental health in supporting the ambitious mission of wind energy enthusiasts.
  • 4–4:15 p.m.: Announcement of the Wind It Up Contest Winners and Final Remarks

The locations of the events are still to be determined. See the full conference schedule.

Symposium Speakers

The workshop lead for the Wind It Up and Tech Talks: Interview Skills sessions will be:

Jacquilyn Weeks in a hat with flowers behind her Jacquilyn Weeks, Founder, Word Tree Consulting: Word Tree Consulting was founded in 2018 by Dr. Jacquilyn Weeks, who earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Notre Dame and spent 10 years teaching award-winning classes at the university level. At present, Word Tree has long-term contracts to support Ph.D.-level science writing at three national laboratories and for individual scientists and scientific teams around the globe. Her company is premised around the idea that brilliant science has the greatest impact when it is clearly communicated to the right audience.

Speakers at the symposium’s PhD-to-X: Career Pathways Panel include:

Alexander Bret, Sales Manager, Vaisala Renewable Energy, North America.

Caitlyn Clark Caitlyn Clark, PhD, Senior Researcher, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): Caitlyn is a senior researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Denver, Colorado, where she leads research teams, develops programmatic strategy, and is a key technical contributor to hybrid energy system, offshore wind, and power-to-x, and industrial decarbonization topics. Her specialty is in reliable and resilient energy systems design, and her work integrates technical, market, and policy factors to understand what key advances need to be made to achieve a modern, equitable, sustainable future energy system. Prior to NREL, she received her doctorate in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University with a focus on reliability-based systems design in offshore renewable energy systems.

Mithu Debnath Mithu Debnath, PhD, Manager, Wind Performance, AES Clean Energy, Louisville, Colorado: Mithu is currently Manager of the Wind Performance Engineering team at AES Clean Energy in Louisville, Colorado, where he works with wind project contracts, executions, and performance evaluations. Before joining AES, Mithu completed his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2018. Mithu joined NREL in 2018 where he led the team that conceived and designed the American WAKE experimeNt. His efforts at NREL also include numerical simulation of wind turbine wakes, atmospheric research, and experimental planning for several field campaigns in wind and solar energy. Mithu has authored and coauthored more than 20 peer-reviewed articles.

Julie Lundquist Julie K. Lundquist, Associate Professor, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences; Courtesy Appointment, Department of Applied Mathematics; Fellow, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder); Joint Appointee Scientist, NREL: Professor Lundquist leads an interdisciplinary research group in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, CU Boulder with a joint appointment at NREL. Her research group uses observational and computational approaches to understand the atmospheric boundary layer, with emphasis on atmospheric influences on turbine productivity, turbine wake dynamics, and downwind impacts of wind energy. Beyond wind energy, her current research projects include assessing dissipation rate in the atmospheric boundary layer (National Science Foundation-CAREER), studying flow in complex terrain (National Science Foundation: Perdigão), and improving simulation capabilities for wildfires (U.S. Department of the Interior) and urban fires (OPP). Before joining CU Boulder, Professor Lundquist designed and led wind energy projects at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Her Ph.D. is in astrophysical, planetary, and atmospheric science from CU Boulder, as is her MS degree. She is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and has authored or coauthored over 120 refereed publications and over 200 conference presentations.

Symposium Sponsors

Sponsors of the Graduate Student Symposium include:

  • European Academy of Wind Energy, an international non-profit organization that promotes and supports the development of wind energy science.
  • LR Tech, a Canadian company producing spectroradiometers for thermodynamic profiling of the atmospheric boundary layer.

European Academy of Wind Energy logo LR Tech logo

Symposium Organizing Committee

The Graduate Student Symposium 2023 organizing committee includes: 


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