Vera Cole, Ph.D.
Vera Cole serves as the program officer for the Energy and Sustainability Policy degree program. As a senior lecturer for the ESP program, she also develops and teaches courses related to energy sources, implications, and policy. While earning her BS in mechanical engineering from New York Institute of Technology, Dr. Cole attended school and worked full-time —an experience that serves her well in the design and delivery of courses through the Dutton Institute, where many students work hard to advance academically while managing demanding jobs and lives. Offered a fellowship from Motorola, Dr. Cole earned her M.S. in industrial engineering from Arizona State University where she had her first experiences with computer simulation, systems thinking, and process management. This interest carried through in her doctoral work at Drexel University, funded by a National Science Foundation grant. There she studied information science and technology, and researched the design of data-efficient heuristics for applying production management principles to information-based business processes, using systems dynamics simulation models.
Dr. Cole is currently president of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association, a nonprofit educational organization, where she leads workshops (hands-on solar electric installations), publishes, and teaches solar-related courses. It was at one of these workshops in 2009 that Dr. Cole first came in contact with the Dutton Institute and recognized the shared values and perspective regarding our energy future and the role of education in getting it right. This serendipity embodies Dr. Cole's philosophy of sustainability — the mindful on-going balance of deep attention to current actions with the dogged pursuit of game-changing new information. Dr. Cole can be reached by email at [email protected].
Dan Kasper is the author and instructor of EM SC 240: Contemporary Issues in Energy and Sustainability, and the instructor for EME 444: Global Energy Enterprise. Dan has authored, co-authored, and taught courses related to energy management, renewable energy (especially solar), social sciences and geography for Penn State and elsewhere. As International Education Coordinator for Delaware Technical Community College, he has led Renewable Energy courses in Denmark and Switzerland. Prior to this, Dan was a Curriculum Developer and Project Manager at the Energy Coordinating Agency in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he assisted in the development of energy efficiency training programs focused on helping underserved populations. He has also consulted for energy efficiency and solar photovoltaic companies, and co-founded a number of community and school gardens.
Dan earned his bachelor’s degree in Earth Science from Penn State University, and his master’s in Geography from the University of Denver. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Delaware’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy.
Karen Jensen is the instructor for EGEE 120: Oil International Evolution, a required course in the energy and sustainability policy online degree program. She has been with Penn State since 2008, working with faculty and students in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. She has been involved in delivering EGEE 120 for more than six years, both in-residence and online.
Jensen earned her undergraduate degree at Penn State, studying international politics with a minor in Middle Eastern studies and history. She spent a semester studying abroad in Egypt as part of her undergraduate degree program. Additionally, she earned her master's degree from Clarion University. More recently, Jensen traveled to Iraq to provide training to students regarding library research, with an emphasis on online research tools and techniques.
Barry Posner, Ph.D.
Barry Posner is the author and instructor of E B F 200: Introduction to Energy and Earth Sciences Economics for the energy and sustainability policy degree program. He is currently a senior analyst on the North America Gas and Power team at Wood Mackenzie, a global energy and mining industry research and consulting firm. In this position he researches, analyzes, and forecasts the structure and fundamental drivers of natural gas, electricity, oil, coal, and emissions markets.
Dr. Posner earned his doctorate in energy, environmental, and mineral economics from Penn State in 2006. Formerly, he was an engineer and has ten years' experience in oil, gas and oil sands production, refining, petrochemicals, and mining in Canada and internationally. He holds a BS in chemical engineering and an M.S. in mining engineering from the University of Alberta. Prior to joining Wood Mackenzie, Dr. Posner was an assistant professor of economics at The Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, UAE. After returning to the United States, he served as an energy economist for Exelon Generation and NRG Energy, two of America's largest power plant owners, and also taught a course in energy markets as a visiting professor at the University of Delaware.
Brandi Robinson serves as an instructor, course author, and adviser for the Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy. She is the author and instructor of GEOG/EME 432: Energy Policy, and regularly teaches GEOG 438W: Human Dimensions of Global Warming. She holds a master's degree from Penn State's Department of Geography (2005), where her research focused on local-scale mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, specifically using the Penn State University Park campus as a case study. Prior to coming back to Penn State, Robinson served as a senior account manager and policy analyst at Environmental Credit Corporation in State College, Pennsylvania. Environmental Credit is an offset project developer, focusing on projects that reduce methane emissions from farms and landfills. In that role, Ms. Robinson saw projects through the process of data management and collection, to third party verification and issuance of carbon credits. She also worked closely to understand the emerging regional and federal policy landscapes as they relate to energy and carbon.
Haley Sankey is a faculty member and adviser for the online Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy, instructing EGEE 495: Internship Experience; EGEE 299: Foreign Studies; and EM SC 302: Orientation to Energy and Sustainability Policy. Sankey has worked as a licensing coordinator, helping hydroelectric utilities to navigate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's cooperative licensing agreement process. She helped foster stakeholder involvement, a critical component for successful license submission and approval as well as supported habitat and water quality study efforts. She recently served as the Southern Alleghenies regional energy coordinator, completing energy audits and educating municipalities on energy reduction and savings opportunities.
Sankey received her master's degree in project management from the Sam and Irene Black School of Business at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. She earned her undergraduate degree from Juniata College, where her program of emphasis was environmental practice and policy.
Ron Santini is an instructor for the online energy and sustainability policy degree program. He developed and teaches GEOG 469: Energy Industry Applications in GIS. He has 30+ years' experience as an environmental scientist working for state and federal governments, environmental consultants, and energy extraction and production firms. He is retired from Duke Energy Corporation, where he was employed for 18 years. While at Duke, he served as a manager and senior environmental scientist, directing the functions of the Environmental Assessment and Monitoring Group, which was composed of environmental scientists and technicians responsible for environmental site investigations at fossil and nuclear generating facilities. These investigations and monitoring activities included ash basins, ash landfills, industrial waste landfills, gasoline-contaminated sites, and abandoned manufactured gas sites. He also managed the routine monitoring of surface waters at 11 reservoirs that supplied water for hydroelectric, fossil-fuel, and nuclear-generating facilities.
Mr. Santini earned his undergraduate degree in biological health from Penn State, a master's degree in environmental pollution control, also from Penn State, and a master's degree in geographic information systems from the University of Colorado Denver.