It was during a long conversation with one of his professors at Antioch New England that Jude Nuru ‘19 ‘20 (Antioch New England, MS, PhD in Environmental Studies) found the focus of his doctoral research—and of his career.
It was a bit fuzzy for me until I discovered a clear path through a conversation with one of my professors, namely Sandra Pinel,” says Nuru. He was taking her class, Global Environmental Change, when they discussed his background in renewable energy and his uncertainty about what to focus on for his dissertation. “She advised me to stick to my passion and interest,” explains Nuru, “and that was the turning point.”
In March, 2020 Nuru graduated with his doctorate, and today he is applying that exact passion to his role as the Director of Community Solar Initiatives for ReVision Energy, an employee-owned solar company in New Hampshire.
Although he only recently graduated, Nuru has already made several donations to Antioch University. “I received generous support from Antioch through the President’s Scholarship and Jonathan Daniels Scholarship when I was a student,” he explains. “In that regard, I always feel the need to give back to the institution that significantly contributed to who I am today.” He donated to Antioch because he strongly empathizes with the financial challenges many students face, especially international students like him.
Nuru’s educational story began in his home country of Ghana and included study in the UK before he enrolled in Antioch New England’s PhD in Environmental Studies. He entered the PhD program to focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation among small-holder farmers back in Ghana. He was also interested in building on research he’d done in the UK, which focused on renewable energy studies including offshore wind. But after his conversation with Sandra Pinel, he zeroed in on solar. “From that encounter,” says Nuru, “everything else I did in the program was about solar energy. In essence, the interaction with Sandra was the ‘aha moment’, which feels formative and crucial for the transition to my current role with ReVision Energy.”
Ultimately, Nuru was able to integrate his many related interests in his dissertation about climate change adaptation, mitigation, and development benefits of solar mini grids for low-income rural communities. He currently draws directly on that experience in his current position making solar energy accessible to low- and moderate-income communities. Nuru’s goal in all of this is to use his experience and resources to help make clean energy accessible to vulnerable populations around the world, especially in developing regions.
In these ecologically tenuous times, Nuru’s path stands out as both pragmatic and hopeful. He has boots on the ground, assessing the viability for solar array installation of proposed sites around New Hampshire. While the region he currently impacts isn’t vast, he views his work in a global context. “My contribution is to help address the climate change crisis through deployment of clean energy systems, while safeguarding the planet for future generations,” he says. But that’s not the only way he makes a difference. He also does that when he donates to Antioch and supports an institution dedicated to fostering, training, and encouraging more change-makers like him. n