What a year its been! 3 months ago I got the email that would change my life completely….
“Congratulations Adit Patel you have been selected as a Mickey Leland Energy Fellow” This statement would resonate with me for the rest of the semester, and not until I finished my first week did the gravity of the situation set in. I was going from talking about climate change to actively fighting it!
During my 10 week stint, I will be working for the National Energy Technology Labortory (NETL) where I will be looking at abandoned oil and gas wells which provide a potential pathway for methane emissions to the atmosphere. Just in the United States alone, there are estimated 3 million wells! Methane emissions from these wells are the second largest potential contribution to total US methane emissions above US Environmental Protection Agency estimates and are not included in any emissions inventories. Since there are no studies to estimate the potential of these emissions, the work I will be doing not only has national signifince but also a global one. Abandon wells such as these have significant climate change implications.
My first week was full of training, everything from cybersecurity to lab safety. The tradeoff for working for the Government. There are 13 fellows at the Pittsburg site, all from various schools and states around the country. It is such a good feeling to be around motivated and hardworking individuals, we all are working on different projects that play to our strengths and experiences. Its only been a week but I know the relationships we are building will last long after our internship is over.
To cap off the first week, we took a roadtrip to Washington D.C. for a Mickey Leland Kick off/Orientation event at the Department of Energy headquarters, where I got to meet the other fellows who are serving appointments in all the different DOE sites around the nation. Being in the presence of some of the best and brightest students around the country was so empowering. During the event we had the privilege of meeting various DOE leaders too. Two in particular were Christopher Smith, and Dr. Bochenek who are the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy and the Director of the National Energy Technology Laboratories respectively. It was such a good feeling to hear from the leadership how meaningful and important our research will be. After the meeting, we took a tour of the U.S. Capital building. I also was able to catch up with my good friend and classmate Jared Huffman who is doing his program internship with the World Health Organization.
I am so honored to represent Patel College of Global Sustainability during my 10 week stint. I will be going out in the field this week to start my research and Im looking forward to sharing my experiences in my next blog post
Until next time everyone!