Diving into Renewable Energy: An interview with Shreenithi Lakshmi Narasimhan: Energy Engineer at UIC and Energy Efficiency Intern at Energy Resource Center Chicago
By: Lucia Gandolfi
Shreenithi is a young and vibrant graduate student from UIC; She arrived to the US with the dream of making a change and the belief that the growth in the global renewable energy sector represents the future for forward-thinking students like her.
If you have to describe it in few words: What do you see in the future of the renewable energy sector?
“I see a huge potential in it, despite still being in the evolving process, particularly in the US where the market is big and the competition is higher than anywhere else. On the other hand, in the Us companies are fundraising millions of dollars every year to keep researching and innovating in this sector”.
Why did you choose to focus on energy efficiency and water waste?
I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that I could actually contribute to the planet by my actions. I wanted to be involved in making a positive change, and that is the reason why I decided to be an engineer with a focus on renewable energy and water waste.
Is renewable energy in the US still a niche market in your experience?
No, to me a niche market is, and always will be, small. I feel the potential here in the States is so high that we can’t define it as a “niche” market.
As a matter of fact, renewable energy will certainly not be a limited market in the future as it is constantly growing in innovation, and companies are investing to become green along with the rest of the world.
From your experience as a foreign student coming to the United States, did you go through a culture shock? How did your career opportunities evolve after moving here?
I would not define it a real culture shock, but more a life-changing experience which gave me the opportunity to work in an environment where I can best express my qualities. I consider the US, without doubt, way ahead many other countries in this field.
Despite not going through a culture shock, I have been struggling academic-wise being the school system extremely different compared to India, where I was born and where I started my academic path.
I have to admit I’ve never felt as challenged as I am right now balancing study, work and facing a completely new environment all at once; but I’ve always liked challenges and believed that my genuine passion for what I do will drive me to my goals even if far from where I belong.