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I joined the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) as an intern in the Renewable Energy Division at the start of the summer. As a recent graduate, one of my main internship goals has been not only to learn about the energy industry and policy, but also to create industry contacts and grow my professional network. I shared this networking interest at the beginning of my internship. One of the opportunities that a female colleague identified was a panel for women in the public sector working in energy and the environment; DOER Commissioner Judith Judson was on the panel.

In late June, women from the energy and environmental industries came together at the MIT Sloan School of Management, for “Woman Shaping the Agenda in Energy and the Environment: The Public Sector,” a networking event and panel to discuss the industry, upcoming changes in policy and technology, and the effect women will have through these changing times.

samantha blog photoOrganized by New England Woman in Energy and the Environment, the panel was the first of a series of annual panels to be hosted around New England, focusing on women’s contributions to the energy and environmental sectors. This panel included Commissioner Judson, Meredith Hartfield, Director of the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, Melissa Hoffer, Chief of the Energy and Environment Bureau for the Office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts, and Jessie Stratton, Director of Policy of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. It was moderated by Martha Broad, Executive Director of the MIT Energy Initiative.

Each panelist summarized her career and the events that led to her current position, while also highlighting the challenges she faced. The panelists gave advice to women like me, just starting out in our careers, and to those looking to make a change. They also spoke to the importance of women working together to increase the number of female leaders and employees.

“This is an exciting time to be working at the intersection of energy and environment— and it’s an all-hands-on-deck moment. The challenges and opportunities we face will demand new and innovative problem solving approaches. I was thrilled to see such a great turnout for the NEWIEE event–we are fortunate to have so many experienced and talented women working on these issues in New England” said Melissa Hoffer.

DOER Staff at Event:  Maria-Andrea Hessenius, Susan Kaplan, Elizabeth Mahoney, Commissioner Judith Judson, Rachel Evans, Lisa Capone, Samantha Meserve

DOER Staff at Event: MariaAndrea Hessenius, Susan Kaplan, Elizabeth Mahony, Commissioner Judith Judson, Rachel Evans, Lisa Capone, Samantha Meserve

I have always been interested in the presence of woman across various technical industries. It was empowering to see these women working toward a more equal public sector, with more women in leadership roles working on energy and environmental issues. According to the 2014 Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Industry report, in 2014 26% of new hires in the clean energy industry were women, an increase from the 21% of women who made up the clean energy industry in 2013. Now that’s a trend in the right direction for both the private and public sectors.

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Samantha Meserve is a 2015 summer intern for the Department of Energy Resources' Renewable Energy team. She is a recent graduate of the State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry where she majored in Environmental Resources Engineering and minored in Renewable Energy Systems. Samantha was the Vice President of Engineers without Borders and has a passion for mixing humanitarian engineering and renewable energy systems in developing countries. Outside of the office, Samantha enjoys playing trivia and tennis in her hometown of Millbury, Mass.

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