Green Engineers Focus Of California College

Developing the next generation of engineers focused on renewable energy is the goal of a new program under development at Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering, made possible by an anonymous gift of $1.3 million from a San Francisco Bay Area alumnus and his wife.

This donation will help the school launch the Latimer Engineering Scholars Program in the 2011-12 academic year to support teaching and research in sustainable energy. Incoming freshman engineering students will work with the school’s Electrical Engineering Professor and Latimer Engineering Scholars Program Director Tim Healy, who will select five students and assign them laboratory projects. These projects will provide education on renewable energy, focusing initially on photovoltaics and then expanding to other areas as the program expands.

Santa Clara Latimer Engineering Scholars

image via Santa Clara University School of Engineering

Over the years that follow, those students that succeed in the program will receive increasingly sophisticated projects to work on, as well as the opportunity to mentor younger students. They’ll also be eligible to pursue internships in places such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, solar technology companies like SunPower Corporation in San Jose, California, and “perhaps one of the light-emitting-diode companies in the Silicon Valley,” said Healy, in a statement.

The donation follows Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering successes in the 2007 and 2009 Solar Decathlon competitions, just in time to mark the institution’s 100 year anniversary.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.