STORIES

$1.3 M Gift Funds Scholar Program for Photovoltaic Research

Tim Healey
Tim Healy, Electrical Engineering
Professor and Latimer Engineering
Scholars Program Director. Photo by
Chuck Barry.

Thanks to an anonymous gift of $1.3 million from an engineering alumnus and his wife from the San Francisco Bay Area, the School of Engineering is developing some of the country’s top students in the field of renewable energy.

The donation helps the school launch the Latimer Engineering Scholars Program to support teaching and research in sustainable energy. Electrical Engineering Professor and Latimer Engineering Scholars Program Director Tim Healy will begin working with incoming freshman engineering students. He will select five students and assign them laboratory projects, provide education on renewable energy, focusing initially on photovoltaics and then expanding to other areas as the program grows. Each student will also receive stipends for working in the lab and on the projects. With each successive quarter, Healy says the students will receive new education, projects, and materials as long as they are successful. The projects will also become increasingly sophisticated after each year, and as the students move up in rank, they will be able to mentor the younger students.

“The objective is to develop highly-educated undergraduate students in photovoltaics and renewable energy,” says Healy. “We hope to have among the best educated students in the country in this area.”

Healy also envisions that the program will develop strong personal contacts with companies and create internship opportunities for the scholars during the summer.

“After students spend a year or two in the program, they will be able to pursue internships in places such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, solar technology companies like SunPower Corporation in San Jose, Calif., and perhaps one of the light-emitting-diode companies in the Silicon Valley,” says Healy.

Healy and his colleague Professor Samiha Mourad co-founded the Latimer Engineering Lab at Santa Clara University in 2008 to teach undergraduate and graduate students about renewable energy. Faculty also use the lab for SCU’s annual Summer Engineering Seminars to give high school students a chance to explore engineering.