Profile: Samuel Blumenstiel TH'20

Samuel Blumenstiel TH'20

Major: Dual Degree Student — Bachelor of Engineering with a Mechanical Engineering Concentration, Dartmouth | Physics, Skidmore College
Hometown: Newton, MA

As a dual-degree student at Skidmore College and Dartmouth, Sam Blumenstiel knew that to complete his Dartmouth bachelor of engineering degree in two years, he'd have to focus on his mechanical engineering concentration coursework. "As a result, I have actually never partaken in any energy-specific courses at Dartmouth. However," Sam explains, "I have had the opportunity to engage in energy through volunteering at the WindAid Institute [an organization that facilitates volunteer projects building wind turbines for small communities in Peru] and through my ENGS 89-90 capstone project: a renewable energy pilot project for Fond-des-Blancs, Haiti." 
 
As part of the research for his renewable energy capstone project, Sam got the opportunity to travel around Puerto Rico to learn more about rural electrification projects and disaster recovery. "This was an awesome experience, as it allowed me to meet many people involved in rural electrification engineering as well as see firsthand several historical sights and community electrification projects." 
 

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Sam Blumenstiel
Sam working on a wind turbine as part of his volunteer project with the WindAid Institute.
These immersive, experiential learning opportunities represent what drew Sam to energy in the first place: human impact. "In the United States and other developed nations, we are able to turn on a light switch without ever being concerned with how or where the electricity is coming from. However, in the majority world this is not the case as electricity may be extremely unreliable and expensive compared to our standards, if available at all. This is an extremely complex issue to solve, both technically and morally, but I believe steps can be made in the right direction towards bringing clean, renewable energy to everyone at a reasonable cost."
 
While Sam is continuing to mull over his post-graduation possibilities, he is excited about and hopeful for the possibilities that renewable energy offer for a better world. "This is a really exciting time for renewable energy engineering. Wind and solar are finally caught up with fossil fuels in terms of cost, and new ways of implementing them such as decentralized grids are becoming financially viable. With all of this, I think we are on the road to seeing a huge turnover in the energy industry towards renewables, which makes it a really exciting time to join the workforce."