Leadership Team

Clare Magee – Conference Chair

Magee Headshot

Clare is a graduate student in energy policy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, where her research has explored the evolution of the utility business model. She worked for American Electric Power in summer 2013 on an evaluation of the regulatory and business cases for pursuing distributed generation. Last year, Clare was employed in the Clean Energy division of the Austin Technology Incubator. Prior to graduate school, she worked in Washington D.C. for several years at the U.S. Green Building Council, where she helped coordinate advocacy for LEED adoption and related energy efficiency initiatives across the country. Clare is a 2013 Bill Archer Graduate Fellow and is president of the university-wide Longhorn Energy Club.



Griselda Blackburn – Conference Vice Chair

Blackburn Headshot

Griselda is a graduate student in the Energy & Earth Resources program at the Jackson School of Geosciences with an emphasis on energy finance, economics and policy. She works as a Graduate Research Assistant under Dr. Varun Rai where she examines solar PV post-adoption energy consumer behavior and the evolution of the utility business model. Griselda also serves as a Vice President for Montague DeRose and Associates, and is advising a public entity on restructuring its energy management and procurement processes into a centralized business unit that will be a registered Energy Service Provider. She received a B.A. in environmental economics from U.C. Berkeley.



Natalie Ballew – Logistics Chair

Ballew 2Natalie is a second-year dual degree graduate student in the Jackson School of Geosciences and LBJ School of Public Affairs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in geological sciences from the University of Southern California with a minor in digital media-based imaging. Her current research involves using visualizations of water resource information in participatory processes between decision-makers and stakeholders. Natalie has worked as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.



Jeanne Eckhart – Speakers Co-Chair

JeanneEckhart_HeadShot2Jeanne is a graduate student in the Energy & Earth Resources program at the Jackson School of Geosciences. She serves as a Graduate Assistant for the Campus Environmental Center. Jeanne’s current research is focused on hydraulic fracturing, water issues, and shale play development. Prior to her graduate studies, she received a Bachelor’s of Science from Texas A&M University in Environmental Geosciences. Jeanne has completed several internships and fellowships working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Ceres, and the American Water Works Association.




Robert Fares – Research Chair

Robert Fares Headshot 2

Robert is a Ph.D student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. His research under Dr. Michael E. Webber seeks to analyze the benefits of grid-connected battery energy storage. Robert uses high-resolution utility customer energy use data and electricity market data with modeling and optimization to assess the value of grid-connected batteries. Beyond his engineering research, Robert is also passionate about science communication. He is a frequent guest contributor to Scientific American’s “Plugged In” blog. He has also worked as a Communications Intern for Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), leveraging his technical knowledge and strong writing ability to portray complex ideas in simple terms.


Shawn Schmidt – Sponsorship Chair

Full Time MBA Head shotsShawn is a third-year dual degree graduate student in the School of Law and McCombs School of Business, concentrating in energy finance. He holds a bachelor’s degree in government and philosophy from UT-Austin, where he was also a decathlete on the Men’s Track & Field Team. Shawn is the submissions editor for the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law (TJOGEL), and a member of the Energy Finance Group. Prior to attending graduate school, he worked for Fabworx, an engineering firm focused on wafer handling aspects of semiconductor production equipment.





Corey Howell – Sponsorship Co-Chair

Corey Howell HeadshotCorey is a first-year Master of Public Affairs candidate at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs with a focus on energy policy. He also works as the Director of a standing committee in the Texas House of Representatives, where he advises the Chairman on all legislation before the committee, manages the committee’s staff, and advances the Chairman’s legislation through the legislative process. Prior to graduate school, he spent three years working in the Texas House of Representatives as a legislative aide and policy director. He has also worked on several political campaigns, most recently serving as a Regional Political Director on the Romney for President campaign in North Carolina. Corey is enlisted in the Texas State Guard and holds a B.A. in Government from The University of Texas at Austin.


Andrew Williams – Finance Chair

Williams Headshot

Andrew is a second-year MBA candidate at the McCombs School of Business. Prior to business school, he worked in utility scale solar power development with Beautiful Energy, a New York-based cleantech startup. Andrew has a B.A. in Political Science from Haverford College.






Maggie Griffin – Marketing Chair 

Maggie_gMaggie is in her second year at The University of Texas School of Law where she is looking to specialize in Oil and Gas law. She is currently writing and serving as a staff editor for both the Texas Environmental Law Journal and the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law.  Maggie was an NCAA Varsity Athlete at Baylor University for the Women’s Equestrian team where she and her team the Big XII Championship before transferring to UT’s undergraduate program to pursue Advertising. As an undergraduate at UT, Maggie earned a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Advertising that has contributed to her passion for graphic design on the Energy Forum Marketing Committee. Outside of school, Maggie is a nationally ranked and multiple World Champion equestrian rider within the American Paint Horse Association in addition to an avid Big XII Football fan.



Margaret Cook – Community Development Chair 

MargaretACookMargaret is in her third year of a dual master’s degree program in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering and Public Affairs. Margaret works as a graduate research assistant under the supervision of Dr. Michael E. Webber studying the effects of water constraints on power generation and fuel extraction. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from UT. While in graduate school, Margaret has interned in the Texas House of Representatives through the Environment & Energy Internship Program of Texas as the Legislative Intern for the House Energy Caucus and in the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the Department of Energy as a part of the Archer Center Graduate Program in Public Policy.