Team Goals

New academic programs

We are continuing with our new curriculum for CEAN (Clean Energy Ambassadors Network) that incorporates student research/innovation teams (“incubators”) working with faculty and industry mentors to address local challenges related to climate change and its impact on disadvantaged communities.

Industry collaborations

With campus research focused on the environment, sustainability and clean energy, along with the need for additional student-industry engagement in those areas, we believe this DOE Prize is a catalyst to develop new, or strengthen existing, industry collaborations.

Entrepreneurial activities

Entrepreneurs in Residence (WSU Tri-Cities) program provides students with direct connections to successful entrepreneurs for mentorship so that students may scale ideas from concepts into reality. They collaborate with Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce staff to provide industry mentorship and real-world, community-based projects ideas for CEAN (Clean Energy Ambassadors Network) student incubator team projects.

You’re invited to be part of the Clean Energy Ambassadors Network!

WSU Tri-Cities named winner of Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize!

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) named Washington State University Tri-Cities a grand-prize winner in the final phase of the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize. As one of six winners, WSU Tri-Cities was awarded $250,000 to continue its Empowering the Future Energy Workforce plan, which includes developing an energy and environment certificate that will prepare students to join the next generation of clean energy leaders and thinkers.

Empowering the Future Energy Workforce

Check out CEAN student ambassador-industry mentor teams in action!

Partnerships and Collaborations

Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize team collaboration: WSU Tri-Cities/Northwest Xcelerator (NWX) partner to support potential energy workforce participants along their journey with targeted programming around entrepreneurship in our region. Both DOE Prize teams will help the other with campus visits and energy/climate presentations (OR & WA sites).

Tri-Cities Clean Energy Sector working session, hosted by WA VERTical and Mid-Columbia Energy Initiative, brought area energy-related organizations together. Our Prize team presented industry mentorship opportunities for CEAN (Clean Energy Ambassadors Network). Check out the recruitment flyer.

PNNL/WSU Advanced Grid Institute held their “Industry Day” to present WA clean energy projects and allow industry professionals and WSU students/faculty to network around opportunities in our region. WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Dr. Sandra Haynes presented information about the new WSU Institute for Northwest Energy Futures research center on the WSU Tri-Cities campus. She gave a “shout out” to, and description of, the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize work that is now underway.

Existing WSU Tri-Cities mentoring program directors are working with the Prize team to share opportunities with the student body. Our TRIO STEM, Women in STEM Network and Student Success Lab (part of Seal of Excelencia certification) programs all support student persistence along their educational pathways, especially individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Curriculum Design

Our WSU Tri-Cities Prize team has begun working with the WSU Evaluation Team, lead by Olusola Adesope at WSU Pullman (Associate Dean for Research and External Funding, Boeing Distinguished Professor of STEM Education, Professor of Educational Psychology). Evaluation survey themes include: sense of belonging, can clean energy help communities?, and students’ access to mentorship.

Fall Curriculum Committee faculty meetings, goal: create synergy around clean energy and climate topics/activities in fall semester HISTORY105, ENGLISH101, DTC101 (Digital Tech & Culture) and the new CEAN (Clean Energy Ambassadors Network).

  • Students will explore a range of climate/energy topics including: energy-source models, regional energy planning & public education, roots of inequality, environmental-racism, carbon-based economies, interdisciplinary approaches to public education, service-learning projects (re: immigrants’-experiences, indigenous-knowledge, K12-outreach) and digital visualization of clean energy applications (e.g. offshore wind farm distribution).
  • In spring, students will take a deeper look at a research topics of interest as they work with industry professionals on a range of clean energy and climate topics (flier creation for K-12, bilingual outreach, government policy implementation by utilities, etc.). The CEAN (Clean Energy Ambassadors Network) topics list is being curated with the help of industry professionals who will serve as team mentors. DOE Power Connectors are also helping to develop lecture materials and student project ideas for the CEAN course.

“WSU Tri-Cities Research & Innovation Week” Committee planning is underway. In April, every CEAN (Clean Energy Ambassadors Network) student team will create poster presentations to share with the WSU campus, local industry professionals, and the wider Tri-Cities community. The Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will present awards to teams with exceptional posters and share projects through their community outreach networks.

Industry Mentorship

WSU Tri-Cities Entrepreneurs in Residence and the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are working together to recruit a diverse group of industry mentors for the CEAN (Clean Energy Ambassadors Network). Their action items include working together to make announcements in existing industry and community events/meetings, distribute fliers as well as run broad email and social campaigns.

Several industry partners have already committed mentors! Check out the recruitment flyer.

It is very important for students to have mentorship during undergraduate because gaining knowledge from mentors gives each student an edge in terms of professional and personal growth to equip them to realize if there field of choice is the right quicker or fast track their development to get ready for the workforce.” (CEAN Industry Mentor 2023)

Community Outreach

Students collaborate with Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce staff to provide industry mentorship and real-world, community-based projects ideas for CEAN (Clean Energy Ambassadors Network) student incubator team projects.

Thirteen organizations from across sectors—convened by the clean energy nonprofit RMI, the carbon mineralization company Carbfix, and the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL)—have been awarded $3 million by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to study the feasibility of a regional hub for direct air capture (DAC), carbon mineralization, and carbon management in eastern Washington and neighboring states. Read more.

New Coug Orientation: DOE Prize Team presented WSU Tri-Cities focus on Clean Energy and Climate Innovation curriculum this year to incoming students and parents (July & Aug) and opportunity to work with industry mentors on real-world projects in student research “incubator” teams

Student Opportunities

Looking for other ways to get involved?

Contact Jillian Cadwell at

Community Classroom Series

Workforce Equity: Perspectives From Local Women Working in Climate and Clean Energy Fields

March 29 | 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.

WSU Tri-Cities will host several presentations on the concept of climate justice during its “Community Classroom” series. The concept of “climate justice” involves the ways in which climate change can have differing social, economic, public health and other impacts on underprivileged populations and communities.

Meet the team

Jillian Cadwell

WSU Tri-Cities

Team Lead

WSU Tri-Cities Research Associate and Civil Engineering Adjunct Professor; her research incorporates the development of STEM mentoring models for underserved students that are designed for community, industry, and education system partnerships.

Kate McAteer

WSU Tri-Cities


WSU Tri-Cities Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs; Chief Academic Officer for the campus and leads Excelencia in Education and Learner Success Lab initiatives for student success.

Sandra Haynes

WSU Tri-Cities

Team Member

WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor; represents the campus within the University system and serves as a liaison with local communities, organizations and industries.

Paul Carlisle Headshot

Paul Carlisle

WSU Tri-Cities

Team Member

Entrepreneurs in Residence Program Coordinator and School of Business Adjunct Professor, WSU Tri-Cities.

Judy Morrison

Judy Morrison

WSU Tri-Cities

Team Member

WSU Tri-Cities Associate Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Programs. Professor of Science Education and the Academic Director of the College of Education

Raul Contreras

Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Team Member

Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Mentor Liaison.

Martin Valadez

Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Team Member

Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

Sarai Lopez

WSU Tri-Cities

Program Assistant

Other Key Personnel: Peer Mentors (recruited by the Office of Academic and Student Affairs), Industry Mentors (recruited by the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Entrepreneurs in Residence Program)