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UD Wind Power Program | Students

Current Students


See also the AWEA Student Chapter Website.

Current Students

William (Bill) Bessmer (matriculated in Masters of Marine Policy in 2013) has a B.S. in Biology from Stockton College of New Jersey and earned a Graduate Certificate in Coastal Zone Management from Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Institute. Bill also is pursuing a J.D. at Widener Law School though our joint-school/joint-degree program. He has worked with Professor Firestone on a wind-siting project and is presently undertaking research on marine geothermal resources in the Gulf.

Richard Bowers (matriculated into PhD, Marine Policy in 2014) obtained both a Bachelor in Economics and a Masters in the Economics of Policy Analysis from University of Maryland Baltimore County. Richard has twice worked as an intern at Princeton Energy Resources International (PERI). His master’s work focused on taking account of spillovers from learning by doing in wind energy technology and the effect of subsidies on those spillovers.

M. Brianik, 2017: Conceptualizing wind variability in Delaware, master's thesis.

Maryam Golbazi (Ph.D., Ocean Engineering, Fall 2017 – present)

Ryan Green (matriculated in 2016) Thesis Title: Modeling Subsea Soil-Structure Interaction of Offshore Wind Turbine Foundations in the Maryland Wind Energy Area. Ryan has a B.S. in Physics from University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Ryan's research is focused on the geotechnical and geologic aspects of offshore wind turbine foundation design, specifically using finite element modeling programs (Abaqus 6.14)  to simulate and predict the soil-structure mechanics of submerged foundations. In addition, a portion of Ryan's studies is directed towards interpreting geophysical data and sediment laboratory analyses for purposes of offshore wind turbine site selection. Ryan is currently in his second year as a M.S. student in Geology Department.

Kathleen (Kathy) Harris (matriculated in Masters of Marine Policy in 2013) received her Bachelor of Science from UD in May 2013. While an undergraduate, Kathy engaged in a research project on public acceptance of offshore wind with Professor Firestone. She now works with Professor Kempton on the DOE-sponsored Mid-Atlantic offshore wind integration project (MAOIT).

Christine Hirt (matriculated Fall 2017) Christine received her B.A. from the Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York, Hunter College where she studied Environmental Studies (concentration in Earth Science), Public Policy, and Religion. She is currently researching public perceptions of process at the first offshore wind project in the United States off Block Island, Rhode Island. Christine received the UD-DEMEC Graduate Fellowship for Wind Energy Research in 2017.

Lauren Knapp (matriculated Spring 2014); now at Knauss Fellow at US Army Corps of Engineers. PhD expected December 2017. Lauren's interests focus on estimating the societal value of coastal energy, transportation, and nature-based infrastructure systems to inform policy tradeoffs. Her main passion involves using indirect, economic mechanisms to value environmental changes. She employs non-market and revealed preference approaches, having experience and interest in econometrics, experimental economics, choice experiments, and hedonic valuation. Her dissertation focuses on monetizing the nuanced aspects of social costs & benefits resulting from offshore wind energy development near Maryland. Previously, she has used these methods to value battery EV fleets and oyster aquaculture. Lauren is currently a Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellow with the Army Corps of Engineers and a PhD candidate in SMSP and expects to defend later this year. When she is not writing her dissertation, you'll find her riding a bicycle or at the dog park.​ CV

Gwendolyn M. Larson (Ph.D., Physical Ocean Science and Engineering, Fall 2017 – present) Gwen Larson has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University and a Web Development Certification from The New York Code and Design Academy. Gwen previously worked as an Electrical Engineering as well as a Front End Developer. She’s interested in marine renewables and duel purpose marine renewable energy technologies. Gwen received the UD-DEMEC Graduate Fellow in Wind Energy Research for 2017-2018.

Mojtaba Moghani (Matriculated into PhD, Climatology in 2016) Mojtaba Moghani has a B.S. in civil engineering from Tehran Polytechnic and M.S. in environmental engineering with focus on air pollution from University of Tehran. His current research, which is sponsored by DNREC, is focused on using air quality models to simulate ozone transport over eastern United States. Additionally, Mojtaba is interested in further understanding the interaction between air quality and renewable energy use.

Yang Pan (matriculated into PhD, Physical Ocean Science and Engineering in 2014) has a BS in Civil Engineering and Ocean Engineering and an MS in Ocean Engineering, all from Tianjin University (China). Yang comes to UD having been an ocean engineer in the China Classification Society, where his duties included surveying of offshore platforms and structural calculations. At UD he is working on developing a hybrid wind farm parameterization for mesoscale and climate model.

Heather Thompson (matriculated in 2010) has an M.S. in Oceanography and an MPSA in Public Service and Administration from Texas A&M University. Heather is Ph.D. candidate and is studying the comparative economic and environmental impacts and amenity/disamenity values associated with the UD wind turbine and with a coal-fired power plant.

Ahmad Vasel-Be-Hagh (September 2015 – present)

Sicheng (Winston) Wu (Ph.D., Ocean Engineering, Summer 2016 – present)

Chi Yan (matriculated into PhD, Physical Ocean Science and Engineering in 2014) Chi comes to UD with an M.S. in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan. Chi received the UD-DEMEC Graduate Fellowship for wind energy research during 2014-2015, and the Elisha Conover Fellowship for fluid dynamics research during 2015-2016. His research focuses on numerical modeling of wind turbine aerodynamics including the wake effects, compressibility effects, and big data analysis of wind farm field observations.


Alison finished her PhD at UD in marine studies (policy concentration) in 2016. Alison is currently at UMass Amherst, as a Lecturer in Renewable Energy & Sustainability and the Graduate Program Director for the M.S. Sustainability Science program. Alison wrote a three essay dissertation exploring, public perceptions of demonstration scale projects, de-conflicting offshore wind and commercial fishing, and a review of effects of offshore wind on marine mammals.  Key Challenges of Offshore Wind Power: Three Essays Addressing Public Acceptance, Stakeholder Conflict, and Wildlife Impacts, 2016

Publications: Bates, A. and Firestone, J.. (2015). A Comparative Assessment of Offshore Wind Power Demonstration Projects in the United States, Energy Research and Social Science, 10: 192-205. 

Contact info: Alison W. Bates, Ph.D. Department of Environmental Conservation University of Massachusetts Amherst Holdsworth 209 160 Holdsworth Way Amherst, MA 01003 awbates@eco.umass.edu 413-545-1768​



Joseph Brodie (Ph.D. 2016). Joseph received his Ph.D. in Physical Ocean Science and Engineering, where his dissertation focused on evaluating wake effects from different possible wind farm configurations for the Delaware Wind Energy Area. He also conducted research on grid operation impacts from large scale offshore wind, including the impacts of extreme wind variability events. Dr. Brodie now works as the Director of Atmospheric Research for the Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership, focusing on the ongoing development of offshore wind in NJ.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jfbrodie/

Employer: https://rucool.marine.rutgers.edu/

Michelle Burt graduated (MMP). Michelle finished her Masters of Marine Policy in 2016. She worked as an RA on the Delaware Land-based Wind research project and report. Michelle is currently working for the Student Conservation Association doing state park conservation in PA.


Coty Cribb (B.S. Geological Sciences 2016) Senior Thesis Title: Mapping and Classifying Surficial Sediment Types within the Maryland Wind Energy Area – current status – MS graduate student in the Department of Geological Sciences.

Alia Ponte (M.S. 2016) Thesis Title: Utilizing Geological and Geotechnical Parameters to Constrain Optimal Siting of Mid-Atlantic Bight Offshore Wind Projects – current employment status: unknown

Jenna Toussaint, PhD Economics, 2016

Lance Noel (Ph.D. 2015) Now a Post-doc at Aarhus University under direction of Ben Sovacool. The Economic, Legal, and Policy Implications of Renewable Energy and Climate Change Mitigation, 2015

Leah Robinson, BS, Economics, 2015

Francisco Santos-Alamillos (September 2015 – February 2016)

Niranjan Ghaisas (April 2014 – July 2015)

Shengbai Xie (Ph.D., Ocean Engineering, Fall 2012 – Fall 2015) Shengbai finished his PhD in Ocean Engineering in 2016. He is working at Convergent Science, Inc. as a Senior Research Engineer.

Regina McCormack (M.M.P. 2014). Regina’s master’s research focused on the value of water used and consumed and the fish impinged and entrained by thermal power plants on the Delaware River and considered the benefit that would arise if they were replaced with offshore wind power. The European Wind Energy Association acknowledged her work as a best student poster at the 2013 Offshore Wind Conference. In summer 2014, Regina accepted a position a Marketing Analyst for the energy developer, Invenergy in Chicago.

Dawn Kurtz Crompton (M.M.P. 2014). Her master’s analytic paper focused on offshore wind power, the dormant Commerce Clause, and the GATT. Dawn came to UD after having earned a law degree from Widener. While in the master’s program, Dawn also worked as a Law Clerk in the Governor Jack Markell’s office and is now an Attorney at Proctor Heyman in Wilmington. Delaware.

Kateryna Samoteskul (M.S. 2013). Katya’s master’s thesis evaluated the costs and benefits of shifting the commercial ships farther out to sea in the mid-Atlantic to open near-shore areas to offshore wind energy development. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) awarded Katya Best Student Paper at its 2013 offshore wind conference. An article based on her thesis was published in the Journal of Environmental Management. She now works as a Marketing Analyst for the energy developer, Invenergy in Chicago.

Blaise Sheridan (M.M.P. 2013). Blaise’s thesis investigated the comparative private and social costs of alternative means of electricity generation. His first employment, which began while he was writing his thesis, was as a policy associate with the Energy & Climate Program at the Environmental & Energy Study Institute in Washington, DC. He is now a legislative assistant with Senator Chris Coons in the Washington, DC office.

Andrew Levitt (M.M.P. 2013). Andrew received his MMP in January 2013, with an analytical paper on pricing offshore wind power, published in the journal Energy Policy. That paper grew out of the UD-NREL Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). Mr. Levitt continued to provide project management for the DOE-funded integrated design of an offshore wind farm. Mr. Levitt is also project manager for the eV2g collaborative between NRG Energy and University of Delaware.

Bruce Williams (M.M.P. 2013). Bruce came to UD after a seventeen-year career with the LA District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Bruce’s master’s research focused on new applications of remote sensing technology for offshore wind power. He is now working as a faculty researcher in Atmospheric Physics at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), helping to support development of the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Area.

Sina Mirzaeisefat (March 2012 – March 2013)

DeAnna Sewell (M.S. 2012). Deanna, who studied in UD’s Physical Ocean Science and Engineering program, graduated with a Master’s of Science in Marine Studies. Deanna is now pursuing a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is also a research participant with the NREL National Wind Technology Center in the offshore wind and waterpower group.

Scott Baker (M.M.P. 2011). focused on estimating the offshore wind power potential in the Atlantic Ocean area adjacent to state areas with PJM Interconnection. In January 2011, Scott began working for PJM as a business solutions analyst in the Applied Solutions Department. Scott now works for PJM as a Senior Business Solutions Analyst & Lead for the PJM Advanced Technology Pilot Program.

Jonathan Lilley (PhD, 2010). Dr. Lilley graduated with a Ph.D. in Marine Studies where his dissertation focused on ocean values and perceptions of offshore wind power and offshore oil and gas drilling. Jon was a Knauss Fellow at NOAA while pursuing his PhD. Jon was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, investigating public attitudes regarding the use of deep, cold ocean water for air conditioning as an alternative to fossil fuels. At the end of 2013, Jon began a post-doc at the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research in Germany. He is currently employed at NOAA Sea Grant.

Meredith Blaydes Lilley (PhD, 2010). Dr. Blaydes Lilley’s PhD dissertation examined wind power and migratory birds, offshore wind power and coastal tourism, and climate change perceptions. Meredith was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Hawai‘i, examining Pacific region climate change impacts and adaptation responses. Meredith recently accepted a position as an analyst at the US Governmental Accountability Office (GAO). Meredith is now working at BOEM as a Renewable Energy Program Specialist. https://www.linkedin.com/in/meredith-lilley-9747bb6/ Thesis Title: Modeling Subsea Soil-Structure Interaction of Offshore Wind Turbine Foundations in the Maryland Wind Energy Area

Amardeep Dhanju (PhD, 2010). Dr. Dhanju’s dissertation was a series of four essays of on offshore wind power that touched on resource assessment, the role public power authorities could play in offshore wind power development, and a regulatory framework for offshore wind. Amardeep was awarded a Knauss Fellow where he served as the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) coastal marine spatial plan strategic coordinator. He has since worked with BOEM’s Environmental Studies Program as a Senior Ocean Policy Analyst where, among other tasks, he works on National Ocean Policy initiative.

Jacqueline Piero (M.M.P, 2010). Jackie studied the motivations for and effects of citizen participation on the state of Delaware's 2008 energy policy decision that resulted in the first offshore wind power purchase agreement in the United States. While serving as a research assistant, she also worked on policy aspects of V2G. She now consults for companies in the electric vehicle industry.

Andrew Krueger (PhD, 2008). Dr. Krueger’s dissertation focused the visual disamenties associated with offshore wind turbines. After receipt of his PhD. Andy was one of the first BOEM hires in its new Alternative Energy Leasing Program. Andy has been at BOEM since, other than a stint where he pursued a dream to be a police officer, proudly serving in Albany, Georgia. While at BOEM, Andy has served as the Cape Wind project manager. He recently completed a detail at the US Department of Energy, where he worked on oil and gas issues. Andy is currently employed at BOEM as a Chief, Sales Coordination Branch Leasing Division.

Christina Christensen (formerly Jarvis) (M.M.P. 2005). Christina was first student to earn a degree focused on offshore wind energy. She evaluated the wildlife impacts of offshore wind power development relative to those from fossil fuel power production. Christina works for the US EPA in its Standards and Health Protection Division, Office of Science and Technology.

Helga Huntley

Tracking ocean pollution

Uncovering new clues about how oil, other pollutants move in ocean
Asia Dowtin

Stemflow study

Investigating how rainwater travels in urban forests
horseshoe crab

Horseshoe Crabs and Artificial Bait

We are working to identify chemoattractants in horseshoe crabs and produce an artificial bait, reducing the reliance on horseshoe crabs in the eel and conch fisheries.

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