University of Nevada, Reno awards its first renewable energy certificate

Online program teaches professionals, government officials variety of renewable energy topics

RENO, Nev. – Amber Mann is the first graduate specialist to complete and receive the certificate from the University of Nevada, Reno's Graduate Renewable Energy Certificate Program. She personally accepted her certificate on March 6, straight from the hands of Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering.

"It feels amazing," Mann said. "I was surprised to hear I was the first recipient. It has been an exciting experience in all aspects. The University has been great and I was honored to receive my certificate from the dean of the engineering college. It was a proud moment when I heard I was the first recipient. I am really excited to watch this program grow."

The online Extended Studies 12-credit certificate program is designed for professionals, including business staff and managers, practicing engineers, government regulators and others interested in developing knowledge in the diverse fields of renewable energy or who may be impacted by policies and practices relating to renewable energy. The multi-disciplinary curriculum began in spring 2012 and includes elements of several engineering disciplines as well as science, business and policy/political science.

Mann is currently a full-time accountant in the Fuel and Purchase Power department at NV Energy in Reno. She started the program when it was introduced and completed it in December 2012.

"The classes and instructors were amazing; the whole program was great," Mann said. "To point out a single aspect would not do the program justice. It was a well thought out and prepared program and will not hesitate advocating for this program."

The graduate certificate in renewable energy is a collaborative program among the Colleges of Engineering, Business, Science and Liberal Arts at the University of Nevada, Reno, the Desert Research Institute and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Funding comes through a Department of Energy Nevada Renewable Energy Consortium grant administered by the Nevada System of Higher Education and NV Energy.

"The program is unique in the multi-disciplinary approach to the topics surrounding renewable energy," Jill Wallace, coordinator of the certificate program, said. "It is not just a sole focus in engineering, but there are political science and business classes that are part of the certificate curriculum and we are working on expanding the collaboration with other University departments."

There are 20 certificate students in the program now, with six of the graduate specialists students on track to complete the certificate program at the end of the spring 2013 semester.

"This graduate certificate is a logical extension to our renewable energy minor degree," Maragakis said. "Coupled with our collaborative renewable energy center at the University, our work with other institutions and comprehensive research in alternative energy, it's exciting to be able to grow curriculum that contributes to economic development."

Upcoming program deadlines are May 3 for summer acceptance and July 15 for fall acceptance. For more information about the renewable energy certificate program, go online or contact Jill Wallace at 775-682-7774.

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