Aera Energy and CSUB Partner to Advance Research Into Energy Innovation

Source: 12/12/2023, Location: North America

California State University, Bakersfield and Aera Energy are proud to announce a major development in their ongoing, nearly three-decade partnership that will elevate the university’s research into the effects of energy transition on technology, the economy, workforce and the resources of the planet.

Aera Energy will make a $2.5 million investment in CSUB’s role in the energy research sector by endowing the Executive Director for Energy Research position at the California Energy Research Center at California State University, Bakersfield.

CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny expressed gratitude that undergraduate and graduate students will have unprecedented access to conduct energy research, creating a pipeline of scientists and STEM professionals for the region.

“With the establishment of the Executive Director for Energy Research at California State University, Bakersfield, the entire region should feel an immense sense of pride that we will remain the energy capital of the West Coast for generations to come,” Zelezny said. “With Aera’s trusted partnership, CSUB will launch a new era for science and research, creating unprecedented opportunities for our students and placing Kern County at the epicenter of energy and innovation. We are so grateful for Aera’s belief in our students and the shared optimism that this community’s pioneering spirit will yield solutions, progress and prosperity for all.”

Aera Energy’s transformative gift will enhance a dynamic position at the university, empowering the visionary leadership of CSUB’s California Energy Research Center (CERC) during this critical time in the nation’s energy evolution.

“Aera Energy is proud to partner with CSU Bakersfield to endow the Executive Director for Energy Research position,” said Aera Energy CEO Erik Bartsch. “Aera’s goal in collaboration with CSUB and others is to bring the community together on our energy future, to help ensure our energy workforce is prepared for success, and support Kern County to be positioned as a thought-leader in the state’s energy transformation.”

The Executive Director for Energy Research will help focus and enrich the science produced by CSUB professors and students and connect forward-thinking innovators in Kern County with local, regional and global industry to identify solutions that will forge the path to a new energy future for the nation and the world. The partnership between Aera and CSUB is also expanding the conversation about the future of energy into the public space, engaging communities in solutions-oriented conversations informed by a collaborative approach to energy innovation.

The new gift continues Aera Energy’s enduring support for CSUB, bringing the amount it has donated to the university since 1997 to a total of $3.4 million. Aera’s support of students spans disciplines and programs across the university’s two campuses, including:

- Creation of the Aera Occupational Safety & Health Management Endowment, which funds the OSHM concentration within the Environmental Resource Management degree program in the School of Business and Public Administration.

- Support for the work of student researchers through the President's Associates program. Sponsorship of the Alumni Hall of Fame event, recognizing university graduates who are changing the world.

- Assistance in building the John Brock, Sr. Endowment, which recognizes major leaders in Kern County’s business community.

- Sponsorship of the annual Order of the Engineer ceremony, which honors graduating engineering students’ commitment to ethical leadership in the engineering field.

- Support for the School of Natural Science, Mathematics and Engineering. Most recently, Aera Energy has helped CSUB bring together industry, policy and research leaders for the CSUB California Energy Research Center’s annual Carbon Management Technical Symposium.

The connection between CSUB and Aera Energy is rooted in the common belief that the university’s unique position as the only four-year public university in Kern County – California’s energy capital – makes it the perfect place to build the culture of cooperation, innovation, research and intellectual curiosity needed to create a robust new energy economy.

The California Energy Research Center is housed within the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering at CSUB and has already benefitted from previous support from Aera Energy since its founding in 2014.

"Aera Energy’s endowment underscores the commitment to addressing the urgent challenges of carbon management and mitigating climate change. This generous support will empower CERC to continue advancing cutting-edge research and fostering innovation in sustainable energy solutions,” said Geology Professor Liaosha Song, chair of the CERC Steering Committee at CSUB.

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