Alumni Spotlight with Michael Reiner

Michael ReinerMichael Reiner (EES ’13)  - Michael Reiner has long been interested in the complex issues around water, energy and social equity, particularly in Latin America.  As an undergraduate in the Environmental Engineering program at Northwestern, Michael was involved in a variety of projects ranging from academic to community based and he also showed incredible initiative in devising his own research projects around energy and urban sustainability.  For instance, Michael had a Northwestern Undergraduate Research Grant to compare renewable energy sources in rural Ecuador.  During the summer after he graduated he spent a month in India working with the Jal Bhagirathi Foundation on water quality and scarcity issues in the Thar Desert, one of the most densely populated deserts in the world. Michael worked with a partner to study the perilous state of water resources in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan.  He met with government officials and politicians, toured facilities and poured over data in order to prepare a report that described in detail the near collapse of water management and recommended various strategies to improve water harvesting and efficiency.,  His first job after graduating was with the Peace Corps as an Environmental Conservation Volunteer in Paraguay from 2013-2015. He worked to promote sustainable agricultural practices with his local community and school. He also led biodigester facilitation workshops throughout the country, advancing their adoption within households. Michael is now a first-year graduate student at the University of Michigan pursuing a dual-degree in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Systems. His current academic and research interests include urban energy justice, energy-efficiency adoption, and sustainable energy infrastructure.  This summer he is hoping to return to South America to work on a water and energy infrastructure project in Brazil.  Michael’s experiences are vivid examples of the exciting opportunities pursued by students of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Northwestern.