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Bullard Center Graduate Research Assistants Selected for Prestigious Brookhaven National Lab Environmental Justice Internship‍

Two Bullard Center Graduate Research Assistants were selected for summer Environmental Justice Research Program.

Bullard Center

Date
May 23, 2023
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Bullard Center Graduate Research Assistants Selected for Prestigious Brookhaven National Lab Environmental Justice Internship
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2023
Contact: Briana Augustus | briana.augustus@tsu.edu

HOUSTON – Brookhaven Science Associates, LLC (BSA), the manager of Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), announced the selection of two Bullard Center Graduate Research Assistants, Ed Pettitt and Ola Ogbebor, for their new Environmental Justice Internship. This internship is part of a groundbreaking partnership with Texas Southern University (TSU) and aims to inspire scholarly research that advances the DOE's Justice 40 program.

Starting on June 5, 2023, Pettitt and Ogbebor will participate in the 10-week summer internship program, joining the ranks of several hundred interns hosted by the BNL Office of Education each year. While most interns focus on STEM research, the Environmental Justice Internship is a significant addition to the program, emphasizing the importance of environmental justice in scientific research.

Ed Pettitt, a Ph.D. student in Urban Planning & Environmental Policy and a Bullard Center Graduate Research Assistant at TSU, brings a wealth of expertise in microgrid development, energy resiliency, and environmental justice. Pettitt has actively engaged with frontline communities and has made remarkable contributions to projects such as the InnoGrid initiative, where he helped lead a multidisciplinary team in developing a microgrid and energy resiliency innovation hub in Houston. His extensive experience in community engagement and his expertise in environmental and climate justice topics make him an invaluable addition to the internship.

Ola Ogbebor, also a Bullard Center Graduate Research Assistant at TSU, possesses exceptional skills in finance, investment analysis, and risk asset management. With a strong background in financial analysis, quantitative analysis, and investment research, Ogbebor's expertise will contribute significantly to the internship's goals. Furthermore, her experience in team building and strategy development will prove valuable for their proposed community microgrid project.

The Brookhaven internship will align perfectly with the goals of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice and its community microgrid project, which aims to provide equitable, resilient, and sustainable energy to Houston through a flagship energy and disaster resiliency hub.

Under the mentorship and resources provided by the Brookhaven National Lab and the Bullard Center, Pettitt and Ogbebor will collaborate with community members, experts, and project advisors to co-author an academic paper focusing on a community microgrid for the Cuney Homes affordable housing community and Texas Southern University. The paper will address DOE's Justice40 EJ goals and contribute to ongoing research on environmental and energy justice, environmental restoration, and sustainable community development.

The interns will employ a comprehensive methodology that includes desk reviews, surveys, interviews, and focus groups with community stakeholders to collect quantitative and qualitative data. Their research will analyze legal, technical, and economic factors that impact the feasibility of a community microgrid with distributed renewable energy for the Cuney Homes and TSU in Houston's Third Ward neighborhood.

The findings from this research will inform policy recommendations, community-based solutions, and workforce training initiatives, ensuring equitable clean energy technology adoption in disadvantaged communities. Moreover, the outcomes will support the HBCU Consortium's community-university partnership model, which drives the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at TSU.

The selection of Bullard Center GRAs Ed Pettitt and Ola Ogbebor as for the prestigious Brookhaven National Lab Environmental Justice Internship marks a significant milestone in the partnership between Texas Southern University and Brookhaven Science Associates. Their expertise and dedication to environmental and climate justice, combined with the resources provided by the Brookhaven National Lab, will pave the way for groundbreaking research on microgrid development, energy resiliency, and equitable clean energy solutions.

This internship not only highlights the importance of environmental justice in scientific research but also reinforces the commitment of both institutions to addressing environmental disparities and fostering sustainable community development. Through their comprehensive methodology and collaboration with community stakeholders, Pettitt and Ogbebor's research will contribute to the DOE's Justice40 program and drive positive change in Houston's Third Ward neighborhood. The Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at TSU is proud to support their efforts and look forward to the policy recommendations, community-based solutions, and workforce training initiatives that will arise from their research.

About the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice
The Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University was launched to address longstanding issues of systemic inequality and structural racism that cause disproportionate pain, suffering and death in Black and other people of color communities. Texas Southern University is a student-centered comprehensive doctoral university committed to ensuring equality, offering innovative programs that are responsive to its urban setting, and transforming diverse students into lifelong learners, engaged citizens, and creative leaders in their local, national, and global communities.

About Brookhaven National Lab (BNL)
Brookhaven National Laboratory, managed by Brookhaven Science Associates, LLC, is a multidisciplinary research institution that advances fundamental science and develops innovative technologies in various fields, including energy, environment, and materials science. The lab is located in Upton, New York, and is operated on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

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