Baker by night, technician by day, hard work is second nature for Clackamas alumni, Stephanie Pfaffle. This recent graduate worked fulltime at Portland’s infamous Voodoo Donut shop, while earning her associates degree in Renewable Energy.
Stephanie stumbled across the Renewable Energy Program when she was 21 by taking an introductory course in the subject. Stephanie realized that she had a technical aptitude for renewable energy and was motivated by the opportunity to make a difference in the world. “My generation has grown up being taught to help the environment; this program gave me skills to do that. The program taught me things that I could do in my career to make a difference.”
Stephanie says when she first started the program she had very set ideas about energy systems. One of the main things she learned was you need to be prepared to find real life solutions for problems. “As a technician or as an engineer, it is tempting to address challenges with temporary band-aids and you just can’t do that”, said Stephanie. “But it is much more rewarding to find new and innovative solutions to those problems.
Today, Stephanie works on clean air equipment as a Facilities Exhaust Technician for Intel. Her education at Clackamas helped her secure her job by providing her with the foundational knowledge and technical skills that Intel was looking for. Stephanie says the job reflects her values of helping the environment and provides a platform to apply the education she worked so hard for.
If Stephanie could offer any advice to future renewable energy students, it would be to network, build relationships with your teachers, and pursue any opportunities to work on projects and internships that are available. “I was fortunate to have an instructor, Abe Fouhy, that was very passionate about his field. He supported my ambitions and helped me get to where I am.”