February Newsletter

The Bren Energy Club strives to connect Bren students to an inclusive community that is working to develop and implement solutions to today’s energy challenges. Events such as happy hours and speaker panels bring together current MESM and PhD students, alumni, and industry experts to discuss pressing energy issues. Please sign up for the listserv to stay informed on club meetings, events, and receive the monthly newsletter, containing energy news, recommended media, alumni spotlights and job search tips. All future newsletters will only be sent to those on the listserv!

Recap of Last Event

On Thursday, January 21st, over 30 of us got together for a casual zoom happy hour to kick off the Bren Energy Club! There was an introduction of the club, speed networking, and energy discussions. Jordan Faires, Will Geiken, Eric Shaphran, and Colin Schimmelfing won bingo! If you were not able to attend, we hope to see you at one of our upcoming events listed below.

Future Events

  • Come join us at our first Working Meeting on February 19th at 12PM: Want to get more involved with the energy club? Have a great idea that you want to see happen? Upset you didn’t win a prize at bingo? Come to the working meeting and get involved! The theme is lunch so bring yours!
  • Decarbonizing the Transportation Sector Panel: February 25th, 6pm: Come chat with Kelsey Johnson (MESM 2016) of Rivian, Mike Casterline of Charge Point (MESM 2003) and Jason Chua of Universal Hydrogen to hear about transition towards a zero-emissions transportation sector!
  • Bren Energy Club Trivia: March 11th, 6pm: Upset you didn’t win bingo? Now is the chance for redemption! Hosted and curated by none other than Hannah B, Trivia Expert. Come with a team of 3–4 or fly solo and be paired up with other trivia buffs. There will be prizes (we mean it) and there is a rumor that several sections will be Bren-specific knowledge. Significant others, pets, and professors are welcome!

What We’re Reading and Listening to

  • The Daily (NY Times) — Assessing Biden’s Climate Plan (2/2/21): This podcast gives an overview of three parts of Biden’s climate plan: vehicle electrification, a renewable power sector, and reducing methane leakage. Biden’s plan includes reinstating and furthering Obama-era goals that Trump reversed. This time around he will have the American auto industry on his side but the big question remains: can any of these policies be enacted as law to prevent future administrations from reversing them?
  • Energy Transition Show — Methane Leakage (2/3/21): This podcast interviews authors of a recent life cycle analysis of methane leakages in different U.S. cities. Our neighbor Los Angeles ranked #2 in the leakiest gas supply networks in the country. Another surprising outcome is that the average amount of fugitive emissions leaking within U.S. city natural gas distribution systems (as opposed to at production) is estimated to be 72% higher than the EPA current estimate. Just one more reason to push for electrification!
  • Electric Cars Are Coming, and Fast. Is the Nation’s Grid Up to It? (New York Times): Excited by all the EV’s coming to market? While the increase in EV’s is a huge step forward, equally important is building and developing the grid infrastructure for EV’s.
  • Joe Biden wants 100% clean energy. Will California show that it’s possible? (LA Times): “…there’s “both an art and a science” to piecing together the puzzle of 100% clean energy.” says Ed Randolph, Energy Division Chief at the California Public Utilities Commission. This article examines the balance between clean energy development, necessary transmission infrastructure upgrades, grid reliability and energy politics in the state.

Local Spotlight

Electric bike-share arrives in Santa Barbara! If you live near Santa Barbara downtown you may have noticed the new electric bike share system pop up in the past month. There are now 100 docks in total, most of which are located around State Street. On February 2nd, the City Council approved expanding to the waterfront and we are hoping that they expand to other neighborhoods soon so it becomes useful for commuters.

For more details: SB Independent — Electric Bike Roll Out

What are your ideas for reducing emissions from SB transportation? Please share your thoughts with us! Federal public transportation funding may change with Democratic control of congress: Vox video

Alumni Spotlight

For this Month’s Alumni Spotlight, Bren Energy Club is highlighting Mike Casterline (MESM 2003), who currently serves as a Senior Account Executive at ChargePoint.

Mike Casterline studied water, energy, and conservation biology while at Bren, including internships and part-time employment during the two years (GIS analysis, EIS consulting, watershed management, wildlife corridor assessment). Bren was an extreme launching point for Mike, given his previous background included none of these subject areas and was not quantitative. With expanded skills from critical thinking to interdisciplinary coursework (e.g., economics, accounting, environmental law, organizational behavior) he left Bren exponentially more qualified to pursue a range of possible careers, in areas aligned with his strong beliefs about sustainability.

After Bren, Mike worked in watershed management and water quality consulting for about 4yrs, then shifted into solar power (joining SolarCity in 2007). During 9yrs at SolarCity, Mike rose from working residential accounts to commercial and then enterprise accounts, eventually closing over $240M of business with Walmart, HP, Walgreens and other public and private sector accounts. Beyond his time with SolarCity, and then via acquisition also Tesla, Mike has also worked with numerous startups focused on energy/sustainability. Currently he is at ChargePoint, an electric vehicle charging company, planning a February 2021 IPO (via SPAC, ticker SBE to become CHPT).

In his opinion, opportunities for Bren graduates are nearly unlimited, especially given the growing reputation of Bren and the ever-larger and more-connected network of Bren alumni. Within the energy industry, a Bren grad can go anywhere they wish, from working at a startup to the largest utilities or clean energy developers (solar, wind, etc). Internships, networking, positive energy, and making sure to seize every opportunity with 120% effort are the keys, in Mike’s opinion; also not being too concerned with the first job after Bren, do it well whatever it is, and think of it as a launchpad. When asked for advice, his response is “run with all your energy toward wherever you feel most interested and passionate, all else will follow.”

Meet the Team

The Bren Energy Club is advised by Dr. Eric Masanet, the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Chair in Sustainability Science for Emerging Technologies at UCSB. His research develops energy and materials systems models to identify technology and policy pathways for decarbonizing industrial systems. We are very grateful for Eric’s guidance and expertise in the energy industry!

Student Board Members:

Joaquin Meckler-Pacheco (MESM 2022) is a proud UC Davis Alum (Go Ags!) who is interested in increasing the efficiency of public transportation and building up EV infrastructure.

Hannah Brady (MESM 2022) looks forward to discussing new clean energy technology and policy and its impacts on corporate GHG reduction strategy with the club. Also she went to Northwestern — Go Cats!

Bobby Miyashiro (MESM 2021) is a proud UC Davis Alum (Go Ags! x2) who is interested in the transition to a decarbonized economy through corporate renewable energy procurement and energy market efficiency.

David Segan (MESM 2021) is an east coast transplant who is interested in electrification policy and programs. He has a background in building energy efficiency and loves to run and surf.

Get Involved

Shoot us an email (energyclub@bren.ucsb.edu) or reach out to any member of the to get involved! We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting!




The Bren Energy Club consists of 4 student Board Members, Joaquin Meckler, Hannah Brady, David Segan, and Bobby Miyashiro and are advised by Dr. Eric Masanet.

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Bren Energy Club

Bren Energy Club

The Bren Energy Club consists of 4 student Board Members, Joaquin Meckler, Hannah Brady, David Segan, and Bobby Miyashiro and are advised by Dr. Eric Masanet.

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