Kenneth Walz, PI, Madison College

Dr. Kenneth A. Walz

PI, Madison College, Madison WI


Office: (608) 246-6521

Dr. Kenneth Walz has taught science, engineering, and renewable energy at Madison Area Technical College since 2003, where he serves as the Director of the CREATE Energy Center funded by the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Walz earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin while performing research on advanced lithium-ion batteries with Rayovac and Argonne National Laboratory. Dr. Walz is an alumnus of the Academies Creating Teacher Scientists Program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and he also spent time as a visiting scientist with the University of Rochester Center for Photoinduced Charge Transfer.  Dr. Walz is an adjunct professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, where he has taught graduate courses in Engineering Professional Development and Teaching Methods for Scientists and Engineers.  He also serves as an instructor and an advisory board member for the K-12 Energy Education Program and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education.

Dr. Walz has been recognized as Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and as the Energy Educator of the Year by the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education.

Kathy Alfano, Co-PI, College of the Canyons

Dr. Kathleen Alfano

Co-PI, College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, CA


Office: (661) 362-3024

Kathleen Alfano has a Ph.D. from UCLA in Higher Education with a cognate in administration and evaluation. Her B.S. is in chemistry, and she worked as an analytical chemist in industry before pursuing a career in education. She served as founder and Director of the California Consortium for Engineering Advances in Technological Education (CREATE) based at College of the Canyons from 1996 to 2016. At College of the Canyons, she is a Professor Emeritus and past Dean of Professional Programs and Academic Computing. She currently acts as a co-PI for the CREATE NSF ATE National Energy Center (DUE 2201631) and co-PI of an ATE workshop/mentoring program now in its sixth year (Mentor Up DUE 2032835). Dr. Alfano served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation and co-lead of the ATE program in 2007-2008 and was the only community college representative on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries which released their report in March 2013.

Dr. Jennifer Clemons

Dr. Jennifer Clemons

Co-PI, Delaware Technical Community College, Dover, DE


Office: 302-857-1308

Dr. Jennifer Clemons is the Department Chair for Energy Technologies at Delaware Technical Community College, where she has worked since 2011. She oversaw the development on the Renewable Energy Solar program and the Building Automation Systems both funded from Department of Labor (TAACCCT grant) funds.

Dr. Clemons is a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified Photovoltaic (Solar) Instructor. She has led Study Abroad courses for Alternative Energy Technologies to Denmark, Switzerland and Japan for Education. Dr. Clemons provided an Energy Teacher Workshop based upon the CREATE model in 2019 at Delaware Tech, focusing on Energy Management and Building Automation.

Dr. Clemons has a master’s degree in Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering from Penn State and a Doctorate in Education Leadership from University of Delaware. Her doctoral dissertation was on “Professional Development Resources for high school Dual Enrollment Teachers.”

Dr. Kevin Cooper, Co-PI SCADA, Indian River State College

Dr. Kevin Cooper

Co-PI, Indian River State College, Fort Pierce, FL


Office: (772) 462-713

Kevin Cooper is the Executive Director of Indian River State College’s Innovation Hub. In addition, Kevin Cooper is the PI and Co-PI on multiple NSF ATE initiatives focused on electric vehicle, energy, and mentoring.  Prior to IRSC, Kevin worked in semiconductor industry and as a small business owner. Kevin obtained a doctorate in chemical engineering from Arizona State University and degrees in chemical engineering and applied physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Cooper’s current research focuses on the intersection of agriculture, water ecology, and energy systems. Through this work, Dr.  Cooper produced multiple patents and publications in advanced technology fields, including robotics, sensor technology, nanotechnology, semiconductor processing, electrochemistry, optics, and energy generation.

Andrew McMahan, Co-PI, Central Carolina Community College

Andrew McMahan

Co-PI, Central Carolina Community College, Sanford, NC 


Office: (919) 545-8036

Andrew McMahan is the Chair for the Department of Sustainability at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Andrew has been involved in renewable energy education in North Carolina since 2004; first as an instructor, then as the program coordinator for CCCC’s biofuels program. From 2010-12 Andrew worked as the Energy Sector Director for the Code Green Super CIP, a statewide initiative tasked with integrating renewable energy training and workforce development into existing vocational programs at all 58 community colleges across North Carolina. He has also written and managed multiple grants to support the growth of renewable energy education and workforce development in North Carolina. Andrew is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a degree in Environmental Policy & Planning.

Gabrielle Temple, Project Manager and Co-PI

Gabrielle Temple

Project Manager & Co-PI, College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, CA


Office: (661) 362-3024

Mrs. Temple is the Project and Communication Manager for the National Science Foundation CREATE National Energy Center. She has more than seventeen years’ experience working on implementation, coordination and regulations for NSF grants. During her time as Project Manager for CREATE, she coordinated three successful international projects funded through NSF to explore the renewable energy achievements in Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and Germany. Mrs. Temple started her career in the private sector in accounting and finance before coming to College of the Canyons. Mrs. Temple earned her B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and a M.A. in Strategic Communications. In addition to her grant administration duties, Mrs. Temple is an Adjunct Instructor in Communication Studies.

Jason Oliver College of the Canyons Faculty

Jason Oliver

Senior Personnel, College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, CA


Office: (661) 362-3316

Jason Oliver is Chair of the Architecture and Interior Design Program at College of the Canyons as well as being a California licensed Architect with over 25 years of professional experience and a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction.   His experience as a practicing Architect includes being on design teams for numerous projects in the United States and Japan ranging from small residential additions up to international airports and major hospitals.  

Jason began his professional education studying architectural drafting at Los Angeles Pierce College in the early 1990s and then transferred to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design and Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Colorado.   He is an active participant in a variety of non-profit educational outreach organizations including the Santa Clarita Environmental Education Consortium (SCEEC), the Southern California chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (SoCal NOMA), and the Los Angeles chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC-LA).   Recent international collaborations include student focused educational projects with colleges and universities in Central America and Europe.  As an educator, Jason focuses on the synergy between sustainable building design and every phase of each student’s learning process.

Elizabeth Reinke

Senior Personnel, Madison College, Madison, WI


Office: (608) 243-4030 

Liz Reinke has a master’s degree in Engineering Mechanics from UW Madison. She has been teaching physics and engineering courses at Madison College since 2008. In addition to teaching, she serves as an academic advisor for engineering transfer students. Liz joined the CREATE team in July 2022 and she is excited to help students pursue paths in renewable energy.

Joel Shoemaker, Co-PI, Madison College

Joel Shoemaker

Senior Personnel, Madison College, Madison, WI


Office: (608) 246-5275

Shoemaker is a Wisconsin state-certified Master Electrician with over 12 years of experience with photovoltaic systems. He has been a Co-PI for Madison College’s NSF ATE grants since 2009. He has been a past instructor for the PV trainer programs offered by Madison College and Solar Energy International, and led the creation of the Madison College PV Institute for High School Teachers. In 2011, the Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Advisory Council recognized Shoemaker as a Centennial Educator.

Claudette Merhoff. Madison Compliance Coordinator.

Claudette Mehrhoff

Compliance Coordinator, Madison College, Madison, WI


Office: (608) 243-4466

Claudette Mehrhoff is the Compliance Coordinator for the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE), employed by the lead institution for this project, Madison Area Technical College. She has fifteen years of grant management experience while managing and supporting several multi-million dollar state and federal grants. Claudette has spent the last seven years supporting the CREATE grants ensuring the grant’s activities and expenditures are allowable while following internal and external rules and regulations, including subaward monitoring to the grant’s subaward partners. She has served as the budget manager for the CREATE grants for the past three years. Claudette is a certified grants manager, certification through Management Concepts, and holds a bachelors degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Dr. Jean Sando, Evaluator, Moorhead

Dr. Jean Sando

Evaluator, Moorhead, MN


Dr. Jean Sando serves as the external evaluator for the project. She has a Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana State University. She is the former Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and as Assistant Vice President for Assessment at Minnesota State University Moorhead. She has acted as a review panel member for the U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Institutions program and has been an external evaluator for one national and two regional NSF/ATE centers. Dr. Sando is the co-author of, “Stepping Ahead: An Assessment Plan Development Guide” with Gloria Rogers, Ph.D. which has been distributed to over 10,000 faculty members throughout the country. She has also worked in a variety of areas in higher education including corporate, foundation and government development and grant management. Currently she is the Principal for a school in Minnesota.

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