blueEnergy works to create a more equitable, sustainable world


From Berkeley to Bluefields and Back: Cal Energy Corps Student Symposium

By Kate Graham --blueEnergy is known for going to the edge, working where others won’t to provide energy access, clean water and sanitation solutions to those living along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. But, who are these individuals choosing to cross borders and spend their time working on the periphery, navigating an area lacking roads, modern equipment, tools, and power? Many are participants in blueEnergy’s Global Leadership Program, a program geared to provide the next generation with the opportunity to witness and respond to the needs of the most isolated poor.
bE co-founder Mathias Craig speaking at the symposium

This past summer three Cal Energy Corp students, Casey Finnerty, Mauricio Castillo and Jonathan Lee traveled to Nicaragua to participate in blueEnergy’s Global Leadership Program. The Cal Energy Corps is an undergraduate internship program created to engage the best and brightest students from UC Berkeley in the design, development, and delivery of sustainable energy and climate solutions across the world. Through Cal Energy Corps student research efforts, blueEnergy is able to test and pilot new solutions that have the potential to become services providing great value to blueEnergy’s beneficiaries.

Superstars! Casey, Mauricio, Jonathan

Casey, Mauricio, and Jonathan spent 9 weeks with blueEnergy (details from their time in the field is documented here and here) and arriving back at Berkeley were given the opportunity to present projects and blueEnergy experiences at the Cal Energy Corps Symposium. As they stood beside posters highlighting their work, each student spoke about the challenges associated with project implementation in rural coastal communities and the best practices that emerged after weeks of researching and testing.
Well rounded audience

The Symposium continued with a welcome by Dr. Graham Fleming, Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Research. Dr. Fleming mentioned blueEnergy as a key Cal Energy Corps partner committed to providing meaningful experiences for students. Dr. Arun Majumdar, former professor of materials science and engineering at Berkeley and expert in transformational energy research and development, spoke to the audience in a key-note address about sustainable energy access as a human rights issue and encouraged Cal Energy Corps students to continue a path focused on global solutions.
Jonathan Lee: “Improving Longevity of Small Off- Grid Solar Photovoltaic Installations"

The symposium ended with a panel discussion, which included Mathias Craig, blueEnergy Founder and Executive Director. Mathias mentioned his summer visit to Nicaragua, where he witnessed Casey, Mauricio, and Jonathan working on the beginning stages of their projects – identifying beneficiaries, creating schematics, strategizing with blueEnergy technicians. Mathias also noted how well the students integrated into the culture and community of Bluefields. He praised Cal Energy Corps and called on Dr. Fleming to “send more students to Bluefields.”
"Send more students to Bluefields!"

blueEnergy is thankful for the ongoing relationship with Cal Energy Corps and appreciates following and supporting the progression and growth in projects and students from Berkeley to Bluefields and back. blueEnergy believes that through facilitating opportunities at the edge, in places far off the radar, stronger, more capable leaders, like Casey, Mauricio, and Jonathan will emerge, with the capacity and drive to create a more equitable, sustainable world.
(L to R) Tiff Dressen (New Initiatives Manger: Vice Chancellor for Research),
Casey Finnerty, Mauricio Castillo, Jonathan Lee, Mathias Craig, Kate Graham

For more information about blueEnergy’s Global Leadership Program and opportunities to work with blueEnergy in Bluefields, Nicaragua, please e-mail US Development Officer, Kate Graham at:

Check out our Picasa album for more photos!

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