“I am quite honored to even be considered for this award,” said Stewart. “As an educator, one can hope that you are making an impact on future generations of engineers and professionals in the energy industry. This is a heartwarming validation that I am moving the needle in the right direction and also working to inspire future women to work in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.”
Stewart’s research area is energy system design optimization as a function of component design, economics and renewable energy resource conditions. In particular, she holds a detailed understanding of the technology, siting and economic development issues with renewable energy.
She currently directs Penn State’s graduate certificate in wind energy and teaches courses for the University’s online master’s degree in renewable energy and sustainability systems.
Throughout her career at Penn State, she has developed courses in wind and hydropower energy conversion, renewable and sustainable energy systems, wind turbine systems, engineering of wind project development, solar project development and finance, as well as distributed energy planning and management.
Stewart is the lead adviser for the Penn State Wind Energy Club and has recently led teams of undergraduate students in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Collegiate Wind Competition, which have come away with first-place finishes in 2014, 2016 and 2017, and placing in the top three in 2015 and 2018. She is currently preparing teams to compete again in May 2019 and 2020.
She is also director of the Pennsylvania Wind for Schools (WfS) program, part of the DOE’s WINDExchange platform. WfS, which will soon evolve into REpowering Schools, works with K-12 schools, industry and foundations to develop programming and opportunities to engage and train a diverse and sustained renewable-energy workforce. The program, which is a partnership with Penn State’s Center for Science and the Schools, holds an annual Pennsylvania KidWind Challenge for middle and high school students and conducts professional development workshops for teachers.
As a member of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), she participates in standards development with the association’s Wind Technical Standards Committee.
From 2007 to 2011, Stewart was a research associate with the Penn State Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), where she worked to develop new business areas in renewable energy for the laboratory based on its long history in applied energy systems.
Prior to her work with ARL, she was a research engineer for the Strategic Energy Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) from 2004 to 2007, where she focused on performing technology assessments of various alternative and conventional energy systems and subsequently developed case studies on energy system technology implementation and deployment. She also participated in a two-year study funded by Southern Company to assess the feasibility of offshore wind power for coastal Georgia. As an offset of this work, she was a founding member of the Georgia Wind Working Group and a member of the AWEA Offshore Wind Working Group.
Stewart received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Penn State and her master’s degree and doctorate in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech.
The 2019 Celebrating Women in Conservation Awards are designed to encourage continuing excellence in conservation and to forge a stronger network of exceptional women working to protect Pennsylvania's environment. This year's award recipients represent the conservation talent and commitment among the women of Central Pennsylvania. Since its inception in 2015, this event has traveled around the state to different communities to ensure recognition of local leaders, volunteers and career professionals.
Stewart will be honored during a ceremony on April 25 at PennFuture’s Fifth Annual Celebrating Women in Conservation Awards at the Susquehanna Club in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.