STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND STAFF
Faculty and Staff
Core Faculty StaffBiography
PhD, Mechanical Engineering, Colorado
State University, December 1995
MS, Mechanical Engineering, Colorado
State University, May 1990
BS, Engineering Science, Colorado State
University, May 1987
Ph.D. Acker is the director of the
Institute for Sustainable Energy Solutions. He spent the last 16
years teaching Mechanical Engineering at Northern Arizona University.
His recent research focus has been on renewable energy systems and
grid integrations. Through his many years of experience, Ph.D Acker
provides the leadership and guidance to students and staff on their
own research for the Institute.
Ph.D. Electrical Engineering,
University of Maryland, College Park
MS, Electrical Engineering, University
of Maryland, College Park
BS, Computer Engineering, Iowa State
Ph.D. Flikkema primary research
interests are in networked embedded systems, wireless sensor
networks, and genomic information networks, with applications to
environmental and ecosystem monitoring under energy constrained
Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007
MS, Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology, 2004
BS, Mechanical Engineering
(High Honors), University of California – Berkeley, 2002
Ph.D. Nelson has been an
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering since 2008. His current
research focuses include the application of atomic force microscopy,
characterization of biomaterials, renewable energy, energy
conservation, and biomimetic designs. His free time hobbies include
trying to be a blessing to the world around him, assorted outdoor
activities, musical instruments, and shenanigans.
Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
M.S. Energy Engineering (Solar Option), University of Massachusetts, Lowell
B.S. Mathematics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Eric is a post-doctoral researcher at ISES, focusing on innovation in renewable energy. His projects at ISES have ranged from studying solar variability, to applications of graphene oxide thin films, to a thermodynamic analysis of a methanol reactor. Future projects will include developing novel sensors for marine life, energy storage using salt water, and bio-inspired designs. When at home, Eric spends time with his family and teaches his kids engineering.
Santa Rosa, CA
M.S. Applied Physics, Northern Arizona University, 2012
M.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 1991
B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 1989
Steve Atkins, P.E. is a Research Engineer at the Institute for Sustainable Energy Solutions at Northern Arizona University, where he seeks to turn wind generated electricity into renewable, carbon-neutral liquid transportation fuels such as methanol and synthetic gasoline. Steve received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 1989 and 1991 and an MS degree in Applied Physics from Northern Arizona University in 2012. Steve is a licensed Professional Engineer and a Licensed Contractor in the State of Arizona.
Karin Wadsack directs the Arizona Wind for Schools project and manages a number of ISES research projects and administration. Her interests include utility-scale renewable energy grid integration, energy education, and state and federal energy policy. She is also project director for NAU’s Tribal Clean Energy Resource Center. Outside the University, Karin serves as a senior scientist and project manager at EN3 Professionals, an engineering firm in Flagstaff. She also chairs the energy project team for the regional Sustainable Economic Development Initiative and is a Water Commissioner for the City of Flagstaff. In her free time she enjoys mountain biking, rock climbing, snowboarding, and camping with her dogs.
St. Jerome, Quebec, Canada
B.S. Photography with Minor in Religious Studies, 2015
Margaret is the Administrative Associate for NAU’s Institute for Sustainable Energy Solutions. She is looking forward to future travel opportunities when she can utilize her newly honed photography skills developed through her B.S. in Photography.
Affiliate Faculty Staff
Students and Alumni
B.S.E. Mechanical Engineering, 2013
Adam has been working with ISES for about a year. His primary research interest lies in fluid mechanics, particularly as applied to offshore wind and wave energy technology. Adam's current research is a project for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory involving the numerical modeling of wave energy devices with computer software. When not in the lab, he competes with NAU's club ultimate frisbee team and enjoys playing guitar and rock climbing.
B.S. Environmental Engineering, May 2014B.A. Sociology, 2007, Arcadia University
Cheryl is working on the design of a solar-powered irrigation system as part of three pilot projects on the Navajo Reservation. This project is a partnership between Engineers Without Borders-NAU, the USDA-NRCS, local renewable energy companies, and members of the Navajo Reservation. Her future goals include incorporating renewable energy into sustainable water and wastewater treatment technology for the developing world. In her free time, she enjoys international travel and hiking in National Parks.
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, May 2014B.S. Engineering Mechanics, University of Wisconsin - Madison; Licensed P.E.
Ana currently acts as Teaching Assistant for Renewable Energy ME451. Her interests include renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy policy. Prior to her graduate studies, Ana worked in demand side management at a private engineering consulting firm.
Ann Arbor, MI
M.S. Applied Physics Dec. 2012
B.S. Physics and Mathematics (double major), University of
Dan is currently finishing his Master’s Thesis,
as well as working in various roles with ISES. Dan’s interests in renewable energies lie in the material science
aspects of developing more efficient energy conversion and energy storage
systems. His research involves
experimental examination of the spectral response of various photovoltaic
materials. This response is used to
determine proper placement of the materials under dispersed sunlight in order
to produce high efficiency solar modules.
St. Louis, MO
M.S. Environmental Science and Policy, 2013B.S. Biomedical Engineering, 2007, Marquette University
Dominique is working on wind modeling and how that wind modeling
information is used by utilities and policy makers when implementing
wind energy projects. She is especially interested in what factors make
for a successful renewable energy project. She hopes to work in the renewable energy industry after graduating.
Las Cruces, NM
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, 2014
B.S. Civil Engineering, New Mexico State University
Sam is a first year graduate student in Mechanical Engineering researching wind and solar energy under Dr. Acker. He has studied and researched in Spain, where he first lived in Sevilla and then in an eco-village completely sustained by renewable energy. He has worked on low-head hydropower for irrigation districts, and, eventually, would like to be a Renewable Energy Systems Engineer.
B.S. Environmental Engineering, 2012
For the past two years, Marilla has been working with environmental education programs including Wind for Schools and the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals. With these programs, Marilla has worked with over 1000 K-12 students and over 100 teachers in Arizona, leading discussions and activities about wind energy. With Wind for Schools, Marilla has also helped to have 5 wind turbines installed in Arizona, and is now leading a project to design and build a bicycle-powered charging station for the NAU campus.
Recently, Marilla has also been working with ISES on two renewable energy-related studies. The first study aims to determine the solar variability at a site in Arizona, using various equipment and methods for data collection and analysis. The objective of the second study is to estimate the cost of integration of increasing wind and solar power generation for a local utility company.
Since graduating, Marilla has continued to work with Wind for Schools and ISES, and in the future hopes to work within the wind energy industry.
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, 2013
This year Matt is supporting the USDA-NRCS funded solar powered
irrigation system on the Navajo Reservation, and he also helps with a
Wind for Schools program that works with middle and high school students
to construct bicycle powered generators and bicycle
powered blenders. He is currently pursuing the Fulbright scholarship,
among others, in order to continue work with a prosthetics clinic in
Bolivia for the year after graduating from NAU.
M.S.E. Mechanical Engineering, 2014
Josh's current research is in cold temperature geothermal energy production. His future goals are to complete my research and start his own energy company. Josh has also spent time at NAU on service abroad projects in Roatan, Honduras and Mainpat, India.