Renewable Thinking

My First Month at the Nicholas School
by Alex Osteen -- September 28th, 2012

Hello from Durham! I’m Alex and it’s exciting to start writing this blog for the Nicholas School. My goal is to keep my posts concise, relevant and interesting. Lots of cool things are happening all the time around here and I’m always meeting ambitious, smart people with fascinating backgrounds, so I shouldn’t ever have problems finding something worthwhile to blog about. Duke was my top choice out of all the schools I looked at and applied to and, so far, it’s a real thrill to be here.

Of course, on the other hand, considering it’s been three years since I’ve had to study or do homework, Duke grad school is also stretching me in oh so many ways. One of the first things they told us in orientation week was that ‘there are no easy classes’ at Duke. Correct. As I take on 15 credit-hours this semester, plus two assistantships, I keep telling myself that I’m here to squeeze every ounce of usefulness from this place.

Classes that I’m taking (in order of average weekly time commitment/ ie domination of my psyche)

1. Energy Systems Modeling!!! [see pic below]

2. Geospatial Analysis / GIS

3. Graduate-Level Statistical Analysis and STATA

4. Environmental Resource Economics

5. Energy and the Environment

6. Professional Communications

All in all, I’m here because I want to truly master the current thinking on the environmental issues in the world today and gain the cutting edge quantitative and analytical tools to tackle them, all while meeting people in my field who are on the same mission. My dream is to start working for a renewable energy company upon graduation. I am an optimist about the earth’s future. Despite what the old doomsdayers say about the state of the world, I know that practical, viable solutions are out there and I want to get involved in making them a reality.


This is a snapshot of “eGRID” data on all the power plants in the US. I have spent a shocking number of hours over the past month and a half staring at these numbers, so I just though I’d share this joy with the rest of the world. If you look closely, you may even see teardrops from 1:30 am on some random Wednesday night as I weep, hunched over my laptop, trying to get the damned macro model to work.





1 Comment

  1. Tawnee
    Sep 28, 2012

    Great first post, Alex! I enjoyed reading about your first impressions of Duke and seeing a snapshot of the classes you’re taking – and the amount of hours they’re taking you! You’ve definitely got a busy semester ahead, but I’m looking forward to reading more about the insights you glean from it.

©2016 Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University | Box 90328 | Durham, NC 27708
how to contact us > | login to the site > | site disclaimers >

footer nav stuff