On Thursday, May 30, the 24th Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) program held its 2019 MLEF kick-off event at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters in the Forrestal Building. This year’s program participants include 50 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students representing 40 universities from 20 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
Energy Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette represented DOE leadership at the event by welcoming the MLEF program fellows and congratulating them on their selections, “Out of more than 300 qualified applications this year, only 50 – you who are here today – made the final cut. So, congratulations. You should be extremely proud of that accomplishment. I am pleased to note, too, that 72 percent of this year’s class is made up of women and minorities, and 24 percent are from Minority Servicing Institutions.”
The Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) was created in 1995 with the goal of promoting opportunities for underrepresented students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The program aims to help students to gain insight into America’s energy challenges and solutions through hands-on research in a Department research and development (R&D) Office, where program fellows work under the mentorship of world-class scientists, researchers and program managers on focused research projects.
The Deputy Secretary also spoke of the Department’s long history in supporting students dedicated to disciplines related to DOE’s mission and highlighted the history of MLEF, “In 2000, three minority education initiatives were combined into the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship program, which is overseen by the Office of Fossil Energy, or as we often call it – FE. Former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson dedicated the program to former Texas Congressman George ‘Mickey’ Leland, and it was a fitting tribute.”
The students also heard from keynote speaker Alison Leland, JD, Director of the Honors Pre-Law and Public Service, University of Houston Honors College. During the afternoon session, students had the opportunity to engage and network with a leadership panel which included: Kimberly Rasar, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Operations at the Office of Fossil Energy; Alison Leland, JD; Ashley Miles, MLEF Class 2017 & 2018 Alumna; Melody Bell, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Resource Management at the Office of Environmental Management; and Captain (Ret) Ernest R. Hunter, Sr., MLEF Co-Founder. During the event, Fellows received a leadership training, administered by Jeffrey Vargas from Generationology, LLC, on understanding and working with different generations.
This year’s fellows will be working on their research project at: DOE Headquarters, Washington, DC and Germantown, MD; National Energy Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA, Morgantown, WV and Albany, OR; Strategic Petroleum Reserve, New Orleans, LA; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA; Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM; and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA.