Joe Darga received the Taber Scholarship in Fall 2017. An Illinois alumnus, Darga earned bachelor’s degrees in engineering physics and in applied mathematics and chemistry in May 2017. “As part of my engineering physics curriculum as an undergrad, I had a technical option in energy/sustainability in which I was able to take ENG 471 [Seminar in Energy & Sustainability Engineering] with Professor [John] Abelson here on campus. This series of lectures not only sparked my interest in Energy Systems, but also the MEng program here.”
The flexibility of the Energy Systems degree has allowed Darga to construct his own program of study. “For part of my degree, my project consists of professional coursework (TE 566 – Finance for Engineering Management, TE 460- Engineering Entrepreneurship),” he said. “I decided to do the coursework option to leave time for additional research outside of the project requirements, with the outside research giving me the possibility to better segue this degree into a potential PhD if I choose to continue my education. The coursework I chose will provide useful insight and development if I do not choose that route.
“I hope to work in researching and developing photovoltaic materials, specifically quantum dots, which is why I am also considering further education that would align with those goals,” Darga continued.
Darga considered other programs before choosing Illinois, “The other program I was considering was a dual M.S./M.S.E. in Sustainability and Sustainable Energy Systems at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor,” Darga said. “I ultimately chose UIUC because it was much more cost-effective, better geared towards my interests, and much more interdisciplinary.”
Update: Joe Darga graduated from the Energy Systems program in May 2018.