UConn and Connecticut Recognized as Leaders in Sustainability

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm speaks at a press conference at the Center for Clean Energy Engineering.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm speaks at a press conference at the Center for Clean Energy Engineering on May 20, 2022. The Department of Energy is preparing to invest $8 billion in regional hydrogen hubs, including the northeastern consortium that UConn has joined. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

UConn’s journey toward clean energy and sustainability is fortified by the exceptional progress highlighted in a special feature by UConn Today. This collective movement, championed by UConn and Connecticut leaders, scholars, innovators, and passionate individuals, is driving us closer to a future propelled by clean energy and a resilient environment.

Through collaboration, research, and transformative initiatives, we’re moving forward on multiple fronts. Our environmental scientists, engineers, and collaborators in the social sciences and humanities are together crafting solutions for energy reliability and community resilience. Our interdisciplinary partnerships with industry leaders, government bodies, and educational institutions are fostering groundbreaking research in areas like decarbonization, sustainable aviation, and storage.

Moreover, we’re acting locally by making our Storrs campus carbon neutral by 2030. Our educational approach empowers students to tackle emerging challenges with mastery and innovation, ensuring the next generation continues to shape a more sustainable world.

Together, our collective efforts not only signify our dedication to change but also represent a beacon of hope for a greener, more sustainable future. 

Read the UConn Today article for a deeper look:

Dr. Ozkan Leading a New Engineering Education Initiative

We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Desen Ozkan is joining UConn’s School of Engineering (SoE) this fall and has become affiliate faculty of our Engineering for Human Rights Initiative (ENG-HR). Ozkan is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with research on offshore wind engineering, but she has a special focus on engineering education. At UConn, she will develop new programs for the SoE’s Engineering Education and Experiential Learning Initiative.

“By incorporating theoretical foundations and practical applications, the potential program equips graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary for a diverse range of careers,” explained Daniel Burkey, Associate Dean of the School of Engineering, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and ENG-HR affiliate faculty. “Professor Ozkan will help the School of Engineering with designing a curriculum framework that promotes deeper learning, integrates interdisciplinary approaches, and reflects current industry needs while generating new knowledge to advance the understanding of how engineering education can be improved.”

Read the full SoE announcement to learn more at 

Welcome, Professor Ozkan!


UConn-Led Effort is Awarded DOE Grant for Bridgeport Schools Energy Efficiency

We are delighted to share that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a transformative grant to an effort led by our colleague Amy Thompson, in collaboration with Bridgeport Connecticut Public Schools (BPS), to implement comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable projects at two Bridgeport public schools. The DOE selected the UConn-BPS proposal through the DOE’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs among just 24 proposals accepted from over 1,000 submitted.

The grant will facilitate the design and implementation of equipment retrofits and upgrades for two Bridgeport K-12 schools, serving as demonstration sites for the district’s other 39 schools, as well as thousands more statewide and nationwide. Focusing on renewables and smart control systems, the projects aim to achieve deep energy savings and create healthier learning environments for students.

Amy, Associate Director of Academic Programs at the Pratt & Whitney Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering (IASE) and ENG-HR affiliate faculty, leads this project in partnership with BPS and collaboration with several groups, including UConn’s Vergnano Institute for Inclusion. Led by Executive Director and ENG-HR affiliate Stephany Santos, the Vergnano Institute will develop K-12 learning modules for BPS students about energy technologies and their impact on students.

We are thrilled for our colleagues and excited for the impact on Bridgeport schools and our collective journey towards a sustainable, educated future.


Read the UConn press release:

Read the DOE’s announcement: 


Shining a Spotlight on Connecticut’s CHEAPR E-Bike Program

Connecticut Electric Bicycle Incentive Program

Our colleague Louanne Cooley, a Legal Research Fellow at the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) and faculty member of the Engineering for Human Rights Initiative, was recently interviewed by UConn Today about the exciting expansion of the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR) program. The published article highlights the program’s inclusion of electric bicycles (e-bikes) as part of its sustainable transportation initiatives, providing incentives for state residents to adopt affordable and eco-friendly transportation options.

Stock image of an e-bike
Read the Full Story

We invite you to delve into the complete story and learn about the positive impact of e-bikes and their potential role in promoting sustainability and environmental justice and expanding transportation access for all.

Link to the UConn Today article:

HRI Faculty Co-authored Book Chapter on Engineering for Human Rights

We are thrilled to announce that our Human Rights faculty recently published book chapters as part of the volume Teaching Business and Human Rights, edited by Dr. Anthony Ewing. Shareen Hertel, Davis Chacón-Hurtado, and Sandra Sirota have co-authored a chapter “Engineering for Human Rights,” outlining central principles of the field and teaching approaches for fostering diverse professional experiences for students.

Similarly, our colleague Rachel Chambers wrote a chapter “Judicial Remedy” within the same edited volume; her chapter discussed judicial mechanisms in the business and human rights field, especially tort litigation and case law developments across jurisdictions, as well as pedagogical approaches.

Published as part of the Elgar Guides for Teaching, the edited volume as a whole serves as a valuable resource for educators, students, and practitioners seeking to navigate the complex field of business and human rights.

Links to the book Teaching Business and Human Rights:

“Engineering for Human Rights” chapter:

“Judicial Remedy” chapter:

Dr. Guiling Wang Elected as AMS Fellow

Portraits for UConn CEE department including some graduate students.

We are extremely proud to announce that Dr. Guiling Wang has been elected as Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Wang is one of 22 new Fellows elected for their “outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences or their applications during a substantial period of years.” She will be recognized at AMS’ 102nd Annual Meeting and Award Ceremony to be held in Houston, Texas in January 2022.

Dr. Wang said, “I am deeply honored and humbled by this election to Fellow. There are so many deserving individuals in my field. To be recognized by AMS with this distinguished honor is incredibly encouraging. I am grateful for those who nominated me and supported my nomination. I am also very proud of the research conducted by my current and former students, postdocs, and visiting scholars at UConn.”

Guiling Wang is Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Connecticut (UConn), and a faculty member in the Center for Environmental Science and Engineering at UConn’s Institute of the Environment. Wang received her B.E and M.S. degrees from Tsinghua University, and Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Wang’s research aims to understand and quantify the terrestrial hydrological cycle, its variability, changes, and interactions with the rest of the Earth system. Her lab’s work makes use of regional and global climate models, remote sensing and ground observational data, reanalysis data, and machine learning. Recent project topics include precipitation extremes, drought, ecosystem-climate interactions, land use and agriculture in a changing climate.

Beyond research and teaching, Dr. Wang also actively serves her profession in various capacities. She is Associate Editor for Journal of Hydrometeorology and Geophysical Research Letters, co-chairs the Annual Meeting Program for the AMS Conference on Hydrology, and serves as a member of the Hydrological Science Award Committee for the American Geophysical Union. Dr. Wang co-led the Connecticut State Climate Assessment in 2019, and has recently committed to working as a chapter author for the 5th National Climate Assessment.

On top of Wang’s recent Fellow election, other awards and accolades she earned includes being a School of Engineering Centennial Professor, Al Geib Associate Professor, Elected to the Connecticut Academy of Sciences and Engineering (CASE), and CT Council Women of Innovation finalist.

For more information on Dr. Wang and her background, please click here.

Research on Governance of Solar Geoengineering

We are delighted to share that our esteemed colleague, Dr. Prakash Kashwan, was quoted this week in articles published by the New York Times, among other major news sources. Prakash provides valuable insights on a recently released report from the National Academy of Sciences on solar geoengineering governance.

We invite you to look at these press articles on the links below: (Also republished in Boston Globe)

You can learn more about Prakash Kashwan’s work on his website:

ENGR-HR Faculty Awarded American Political Science Association (APSA) Conflict Processes Best Paper Award

The ENGR-HR Initiative is thrilled to announce that a paper authored by our colleague, Michael Rubin, won the American Political Science Association (APSA) Conflict Processes Best Paper award at the association’s 2020 annual meeting in September. The manuscript, entitled “Social Cohesion and Community Displacement in Armed Conflict” (APSA preprints link to the manuscript), explores local-level variation in patterns of conflict-related forced displacement, focusing on the context of the 1948 War in Mandate Palestine.

ENGR-HR Faculty Published Groundbreaking Research in Armed Conflicts and Human Rights

ENGR-HR faculty, Michael Rubin,  published two articles during the Fall 2020 semester on Armed Conflicts and Human rights:

  • “Terrorism and the Varieties of Civil Liberties” in the Journal of Global Security Studies (JoGSS link) explores the relationship between countries’ human rights records on distinct civil liberties dimensions and their exposure to terrorism.
  • “Terrorism in Armed Conflict: New Data Attributing Terrorism to Rebel Organizations” in the journal Conflict Management and Peace Science (CMPS link), which introduces the Terrorism in Armed Conflict (TAC) dataset attributes incidents in START’s Global Terrorism Database to perpetrators in the Uppsala Conflict Data Project sample of rebel organizations. The data covers 409 rebel organizations globally 1970–2013.