Max Holden '22

Major: Energy Engineering
Hometowns: Montclair, NJ; Dubai, U.A.E; London, U.K


Max Holden
Max Holden

Energy wasn't a new interest for Max Holden '22 when he came to Dartmouth as a first-year. In high school he interned for BP where he gained perspective on the role of fossil fuels in powering the world as well as a keen appreciation for the need for a global transition to renewable energy. And during his gap year, he accumulated a wide range of experiences in energy and business, including repairing wind turbines in Sri Lanka and interning at a tech startup in Kenya focused on producing clean ethanol for cooking.

So as an engineering student, he intended to supplement that hands-on energy experience with the science behind it. "Before college I probably didn't understand the exact physics and science behind all the moving parts. Once I got to college, I got a good foundation from basics to a deep understanding of how most of the technologies work." 

In addition to coursework, Max pursued a range of energy-related research and internship opportunities, including working as part of Engineering Professor William Scheideler's Scalable Energy and Nanomaterial Electronics (SENSE) lab team, using his 2020 Stamps Scholar award funding to support research on the implementation of affordable energy solutions in developing countries, researching the opportunities and challenges of Lithium Valley as a Takeoff Fellow, and interning in the Bay Area for a technology consulting firm called Accenture.

Building a Student Energy Community at Dartmouth

But Max wasn't just interested in laying the foundation for his own energy career at Dartmouth — he was also a critical player in helping build a vibrant energy community for Dartmouth students. As co-founder and outgoing president of the Dartmouth Energy Alliance (DEA), the undergraduate student energy club, Max was integral to organizing and steering this brand-new organization in its first few years. 

Max says, "As a leader of the DEA, I have learned there is real power in diversity of voices, one of the pillars of the DEA. Each interaction brings an expanded definition of energy based on each person."

Strong Connections With the Irving Institute

In addition to the enthusiasm of Dartmouth students from a range of majors who have brought their interest and energy to building the club, Max also credits the Irving Institute and Institute Academic Director Amanda Graham for their ongoing support of the DEA. 

"The Irving Institute has been there from the start, helping us with the ideation phase, helping with getting some more clarity over our goals and our mission as a club, connecting us with people, helping us with funding, helping us with structure . . ." 

As Max transitions from college to the corporate world, he plans to bring these lessons learned through his collaboration with the Irving Institute as well as  coursework and research at Dartmouth to his role as a consultant for the energy industry. 

"Where Dartmouth stood out for me was instilling an understanding of the really collaborative nature of work," Max says, explaining how his academic experience has been characterized by interdisciplinary learning. "Working in a team is really integral to almost all work nowadays."

Ready to Help Shape a Better World

With these reflections in mind, Max is ready to get to work in the real world. 

"I'll be going back to the same company I interned at [during summer 2021] in San Francisco, the global hub for the integration between tech, energy, and innovation. So I'm super jazzed and excited," says Max. "I'd say energy underpins almost every sector of life, whether you know or not, and there's so many opportunities to jump on board. Energy is one of the fastest growing—if not the fastest growing sector—to go into and we need as many people as possible to shape a better world."