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Women @ Energy: Sarah Widder

July 22, 2014 - 10:02am

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Sarah Widder is an engineer in the Energy Policy & Economics Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She focuses on sustainable design, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas management work.

Sarah Widder is an engineer in the Energy Policy & Economics Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She focuses on sustainable design, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas management work.

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Sarah Widder is an engineer in the Energy Policy & Economics Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She focuses on sustainable design, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas management work. Specifically, she concentrates on the application of technology, standards, and regulation to meet these goals.

Some of her current projects involve researching innovative and cost-effective solutions for improving energy-efficiency in residential buildings with DOE’s Building America Program; helping DOE meet energy efficiency goals through more stringent standards for appliance energy consumption with DOE’s Appliance Standards program, and evaluating new energy efficiency technologies, such as heat pump water heaters, in PNNL’s side-by-side Lab Homes.  She earned a BS in chemical engineering from the Univ. of Washington and is currently pursuing a PhD in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Washington State University, where her dissertation focuses on the relationship of indoor air quality, ventilation, and energy efficient construction.

1) What inspired you to work in STEM? 

I’ve always been interested in math and science – I’m a very logical person – and I love problem solving.  Engineering was the right fit for me because it appeals to the rational, logical part of my brain, but allows me to apply it in a way that makes a difference and improves the world around me.

2) What excites you about your work at the Energy Department? 

I am very passionate about sustainability, reducing the resource use associated with human society, and implementing systems that are more conscious of their environmental impacts.  Energy is the most fundamental resource, leads to the greatest amount of environmental damage (from water scarcity and pollution prevention to climate change), and is where there is the most opportunity for improvement.

3) How can our country engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM? 

By focusing on the impact you can have with STEM and continuing to respect and encourage women and girls who are interested in STEM fields.

4) Do you have tips you’d recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work? 

Be confident, thorough, and ask questions.

5) When you have free time, what are your hobbies? 

Who has free time?  Just kidding, I love what I do, so I inherently work too much, but it’s fun for me.  I would do it for free.  When I’m not working, I get outside as much as possible (running, biking, swimming, backpacking, nordic skiing, etc), cook, garden, and work on my house.

5.       When you have free time, what are your hobbies?  Who has free time?  Just kidding, I love what I do, so I inherently work too much, but it’s fun for me.  I would do it for free.  When I’m not working, I get outside as much as possible (running, biking, swimming, backpacking, nordic skiing, etc), cook, garden, and work on my house.  

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