3rd annual UT Energy Week sheds light on the future of the field

UT Tower at night (KXAN Photo)
UT Tower at night (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s a big week for students and professionals in the energy field. The third annual UT Energy Week is underway and aims to explore various topics and issues affecting the energy sector today. This event draws more than 600 attendees daily for networking, not only to discuss various forms of energy, but to also explore where energy is headed and issues the industry faces.

“It gives us the time we need to really dig into some issues that are of concern to the students and to the faculty and the general public,” says Michael Webber, the Deputy Director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas. “It also gives us a chance to touch a lot of different subjects. We can talk about oil and gas, coal, nuclear, renewables, emissions, carbon dioxide, things like that.”

Graduate student Felipe Cardoso, who is studying to get his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas, says attending UT Energy Week for the second year has shown him just how important it is to discuss current energy topics with others in the same field.

“I think it gives you a wider perspective,” Cardoso explains. “Even though, in my case, I’m in one particular area of energy and air quality, I’m able to learn about what other people are doing.”

Grad student Hector Arreola is the president of the Longhorn Energy Club, which is a student-run organization co-hosting the event. Arreola says the goal is to encourage students from all the various schools at the university to think about how energy impacts their own studies or research. “They have the opportunity to actually hear it from the experts that are shaping what is happening in the energy sector,” says Arreola.

Both Webber and Arreola say the week is a big deal for the school, given how energy is a major focus in many disciplines. Webber tells us, “We consider UT to be the world’s leader on energy research education and we’re trying to share some of our findings and lessons with the world.” On a similar note, Arreola also says, “It’s the biggest energy-related event at the university. Taking into consideration that UT Austin is one of the leading organizations in this topic.”

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