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Advancing Utah's Energy Future

Opinion: Energy leadership scholars program provides unique research opportunities

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Taylor Sparks, KSL Contributor –

As a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Utah, I have observed firsthand the benefits of Gov. Gary Herbert’s initiative known as the Utah Energy Research Triangle through one of its key components, the Governor’s Energy Leadership Scholars. The Utah Energy Research Triangle supports inter-university collaborative energy research focused on Utah-specific issues at both student and faculty levels.

Two of my students, one pursuing her Ph.D. and one pursuing his bachelor’s degree, are currently participating in the Governor’s Energy Leadership Scholars program that has brought tremendous benefit to both my students and to Utah’s energy research and development community by supporting student research on Utah-specific energy challenges.

Undergraduate research is undeniably one of the most important career training exercises that a student can experience during their education. Performing research is truly “where the rubber meets the road” and where students can apply the principles they have learned in their coursework. Students in my lab have commented that the concepts we discussed in my materials science and engineering or ceramic engineering courses have made much more sense once they actually worked through the research. (…)

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