GMC Certificate Achievers & REI Alumni Spotlight
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Nelson Fernandes
The Renewable Energy Institute is pleased to focus on the achievements of those who have attended REI’s leading Renewable Energy courses and accomplished the internationally recognized Galileo Master Certificate to further their careers in the Green Energy sector.
This month, the REI is delighted to speak with Nelson Fernandes, Program Manager and Senior Mechanical Engineering undergraduate, to hear about his experience of studying the Online Accredited Master in Renewable Energy Award. Nelson is part of the REI’s global network of course participants from over 150 countries worldwide, including delegates from Volkswagen, Google, IBM, the Global Environment Facility, and many more.
The REI’s 12-course Accredited Master in Renewable Energy Award is available to study flexibly online from home over an 18-month period, with access to video tutorials led by renowned academic professors and industry experts.
1. Hi Nelson, what is your professional background and how does this relate to the Renewable Energy field?
I am a Senior Mechanical Engineering undergraduate at Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a focus in energy engineering, sustainability, and continuous improvement. At SIU Carbondale, I am the Program Manager for the SIU Green Roof Team which is my project to transform the SIU Green Roof, originally an urban horticulture research facility, into a multidisciplinary innovation hub. Here, students from all fields of study can bring their research projects to life. Presently, we are especially focused on Renewable Energy projects. We are improving the space through low-cost engineering projects to jumpstart and bring awareness of the research opportunities.
Our multidisciplinary team ranging from engineering, computer science, and more designing an autonomous irrigation system to maintain the water distribution and a micro wind turbine mounted onto an existing structure to demonstrate a tangible project to spur interest among other student collaborators. Our team members from SIU Carbondale and other universities gain hands-on experience while modeling the way for other innovative students to work on multidisciplinary projects like Renewable Energy technologies which is a growing field of study in our university’s curriculum. Find out more about the REI’s Renewable Energy courses here.
“The Renewable Energy Institute’s courses have taught me the design process for implementing Renewable Energy technology from start to finish as well as sustainability practices.”– Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Nelson Fernandes
2. Why did you choose to train with the Renewable Energy Institute?
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of most planned events at our university. With my newly freed time, I chose to learn more about one of my passions, renewable energy. Despite studying energy engineering in university, there are not many available courses geared towards sustainable energy technologies such as Solar Photovoltaic, Wind Power, and Wave and Hydro Power until graduate school. However, the Renewable Energy Institute offers the technical and project management skills required to understand and serve as a consultant for Renewable Energy projects. The Renewable Energy Institute’s Accredited Master in Renewable Energy Award courses have taught me the design process for implementing Renewable Energy technology from start to finish as well as sustainability practices, keeping in mind not only the technical aspects, but societal, economical, and environmental factors. The wide range of knowledge provides a strong background in the field.
3. Tell us about the online courses that you have studied.
What aspects of studying through distance learning do you find most interesting or rewarding?
My favorite course on the Accredited Master in Renewable Energy Award has been Wind Power, which focused on wind turbines. The course structure provided the knowledge to lead a progressing Micro Wind Turbine Design Team at SIU Carbondale. The topics are detailed through understanding real world examples which aided the implement our own design.
4. What are the skills and knowledge that you have gained on the Accredited Master in Renewable Energy so far?
Through the Accredited Master in Renewable Energy, learning about the consultation process has been the most valuable knowledge and applicable to the SIU Green Roof Project. We are conducting a site assessment, feasibility study, and implementing a micro wind turbine design. The process would be extended without knowledge of going through the prefeasibility steps. Learning through the Renewable Energy Institute provided me with the foundational knowledge to lead the team towards a successful and approved design. Additionally, we are mindful of the societal and environmental factors which influence the design such as stakeholders and people in the vicinity of the technology who might be impacted by noise.
“Learning through the Renewable Energy Institute provided me with the foundational knowledge to lead the team towards a successful and approved design.”– Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Nelson Fernandes
5. How will you apply these skills to your career, either directly or indirectly?
The Renewable Energy Institute provides the background information for consulting Renewable Energy projects. I aspire to pursue a career implementing renewable energy on large scale. The skills from conducting pre-feasibility reports, analyzing a site through software simulation programs, and planning the installation are valuable Project Management skills in addition to the technical design work. Understanding and practicing the learned skills further my reach in the Renewable Energy sector as both a subject matter expert and a project manager.
6. What do your career plans for the future look like?
My future includes working for a company committed to installing Renewable Energy systems on a residential and commercial level, specifically sustainable energy such as Solar Photovoltaic, Wind Power, Wave and Hydro Power, and other energy sources. Each site has their own unique constraints, which present the opportunity to solve these micro problems. Then, I plan to startup a company with a group of friends to pursue consultation similar to the SIU Green Roof Project. The Renewable Energy Institute’s Accredited Master in Renewable Energy Award courses allowed me to be immersed in a formal learning process dedicated to the implementation of Renewable Energy technology which has not only helped me, but our team to develop through applying proper techniques and technical background in our project.
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