Alumna focused on clean energy

Katrina Pielli '00A childhood love for the mountains and nature of Idaho stayed intact as Katrina Pielli ’00 journeyed to Iowa to pursue English at Cornell College.

“I always loved the outdoors, but thought the only opportunity to work in this field was something in the sciences, which never really interested me,” she says. “I took Professor Allin’s environmental politics course and this class completely changed my perspective! His thoughtful teaching style and course material challenged me and helped me realize my passions could be a career.”

Pielli is the senior policy advisor to the deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Energy, working with the White House and state agencies on smart grid, energy efficiency, industrial, and utility policy. She recently completed a federal temporary transfer to the White House Council on Environmental Quality where she served as the deputy associate director for energy and climate.

“What drives me professionally is protecting the environment and the air we breathe through a focus on clean energy,” she says. “There are so many opportunities for my work to help save businesses money and reduce pollution. This wide reach is very rewarding.”

Pielli said Cornell stood out during the recruiting process because of One Course At A Time. “It was different and the college was small. I didn’t want to be just a number—I wanted to feel like my professors cared about my studies. I wasn’t disappointed! I regularly feel that Cornell prepared me well for the workforce. The student body is diverse and welcoming. The faculty’s genuine interest in your success is unparalleled. In particular, Politics Professor Craig Allin and the late English Professor Stephen Lacey ’65 are truly remarkable.”

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