Schatz Engineer Wins Fulbright Grant

Arcata – Richard Engel, Senior Research Engineer at Humboldt State University’s Schatz Energy Research Center and an HSU alumnus (’88), has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and develop curriculum at Universidad Don Bosco in El Salvador during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Engel will help the university create a degree program in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Located in San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital, Universidad Don Bosco averages between 3,000 and 4,000 students. It takes its name from the 19th century Italian priest and educator Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco, who founded the Society of St. Francis de Sales in 1859. Bosco Centers span the globe, from Argentina to India.

Renewable energy will be incorporated in the university’s environmental science undergraduate program and in the development of a master’s program in renewable energy technology. Engel, scheduled to start work in El Salvador in January 2010, will prepare and teach a semester-long course (approximately 100 lecture and laboratory hours) on renewable energy and energy efficiency for students majoring in engineering or in environmental science.

“My main intent in designing this course is to give students a broad overview of the emerging fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency,” Engel said, “a panoramic look at a relatively wide variety of technologies, including wind, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric.”

The course also will address energy science fundamentals.

Engel will help the school initiate one or more projects, such as a campus energy efficiency audit or a solar photovoltaic system. And he will write and edit articles for the university’s engineering magazine.

In addition to more than 20 years of practical and academic experience in the field, Engel has an extensive background in environmental projects in Latin America. He served for two years in the 1990s with the Peace Corps in Honduras on natural resource management projects. He is fluent in Spanish.

“Ever since, I have wanted to return to Latin America to do further work with people there and help them attain the environmental, social and economic benefits that sustainable energy technologies can deliver, both to developing and wealthier countries,” Engel said. “My wife, Basilia, who is a native of Honduras, will join me in this adventure. She earned a soil science degree at HSU in 2007 and hopes to find new career and learning opportunities of her own while in El Salvador.”

Prior to joining the Schatz Energy Research Center in 1999, Engel was staff engineer for two years with Humboldt Water Resources in Arcata, carrying out projects in water quality planning and site restoration.