Santa Clara University

Kirsten Petersen

Kirsten Petersen is a junior Electrical Engineering major from Newcastle, Washington. Her interest in off-grid energy solutions was inspired in her freshman year after she spent a weekend at We Care Solar's "Stand Alone Electricity for the Developing World" workshop learning the design process for Solar Suitcases, suitcase-sized solar modules with LED lamps designed for use by midwives in northern Nigerian maternal health clinics. Engineering to improve the human condition became a reality at that point. Since then, she was selected as a Latimer Energy Scholar through the School of Engineering, focusing on renewable energy and sustainability. This past summer Kirsten studied sustainable technologies and culture in Denmark and Norway and witnessed firsthand the essential combination of economic, social, and environmental analysis in designing sustainable energy systems. Her personal mission points toward contributing her technical skills to collaborate with people of developing nations to create lasting energy solutions tailored to the area's available resources and specific needs. Kirsten is actively involved in leadership through the Society of Women Engineers both at Santa Clara University and nationally and views science and engineering as strong vehicles for female empowerment. She is also passionate about music performance, especially jazz, and plays the double bass and electric bass.