Profile: Jordan Sandford '19, TH'20

Jordan Sandford '19, TH'20


Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Sudbury, MA

Jordan Sanford came to Dartmouth with a variety of interests ranging from technical work to reading and writing, and so explored as many departments and courses as he could before deciding on an engineering major. "I chose engineering for many of the same reasons, I find energy fascinating. Creative, technical solutions in engineering are only as good as your ability to communicate them to others (as our professors often reminded us)."

Jordan is particularly interested in renewable energy, not just because of the technical and intellectual challenges involved in the engineering side of the subject but also because it gives him a tangible way to impact the people and places he cares about. "I want to do my part in helping mitigate the climate crisis." 

One opportunity to put his engineering education into action came through his ENGS 89/90 project. (ENGS 89/90 is a two-term capstone course that puts teams of engineering students to work on design projects that are developed from specifications submitted by industry and other organizations, giving participants the opportunity to work on real-world engineering problems that result in tangible outcomes.) "Our team was originally tasked with designing a solar mini-grid for a community in Haiti. However, we were unable to actually visit Haiti, and realized our team could better support the community by creating toolsets for other developers with more local knowledge; a huge problem with mini-grid development is limitations with the state-of-the-art tools for modeling system size (an under- or over-sized mini-grid will likely fail). Our team worked to create a model with improved functionality and documentation. 

"At the end of 89/90, our team participated in a roundtable workshop with stakeholders from Haiti as well as energy experts from Dartmouth and the local Hanover community. We received positive feedback and a few of us are still in discussions with industry experts regarding how they can best utilize our model."

Dartmouth's deep commitment to interdisciplinary learning also gave him the chance to explore energy issues even when a class wasn't technically energy-focused. "I am a huge proponent of exploring and trying various academic disciplines at Dartmouth (if that wasn't already clear!) I would say that the topic of energy can be found in many, if not most, departments. One of my all-time favorite classes was Violence and Security in the International Studies Department; while energy or climate was never a direct topic, they featured heavily at times, and I ended up writing my final paper on such a subject." 

Looking to the future, Jordan finds hope in the fact that he was far from alone among Dartmouth students in terms of caring deeply about climate, energy, and environmental issues. "Many of my peers in engineering are passionate about clean energy transitions and have already been working towards ambitious goals. You can find that shared drive in most corners of Dartmouth, as well as around the globe."