Economics graduate Carmen King is making a difference one light bulb at a time.
The Texas native is a renewable energy economist for a San Francisco engineering and management-consulting firm, where she provides financial guidance to large and small clients thinking of implementing renewable energy technology such as solar panels on roofs and in parking lots.
King works with the University of California, California State University and community college systems to determine the cost effectiveness of various energy saving tools through the Statewide Energy Efficiency Partnership Program, which offers financial incentives to schools that reduce their energy consumption. Humboldt installed an energy efficient pool cover through the program and has plans to retrofit the wildlife building with electricity meters.
King came to Humboldt as an environmental science major but switched gears after learning that she could create an individualized major in sustainable development through the Department of Economics.
"I always had a green brush I knew I wanted to work with, but (Economics Professor) Steve Hackett really provided me with a lot of direction," she says.
King's academic program included classes in natural resources planning and economic sustainability as well as a self-created energy management internship at Plant Operations. The internship gave her the opportunity to research and implement energy saving projects on campus-real-world experience she later applied on the job.
Recently, she returned to Humboldt to discuss her professional success and offer guidance to students interested in renewable energy. The speech was part of the Green Graduates Speaker Series organized by the Department of Economics.
"I gave my best assessment of the market and the jobs that are out there," King says, adding that students interested in renewable energy will have a lot of options entering the workforce.
"The environmental economics path is very practical. Learning how to make the financial case for a project is very important."