Dr. Jeremiah Johnson

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Dr. Jeremiah Johnson is an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University’s Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering department. He joined NCSU in 2017, as a part of the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program cluster hire in Sustainable Energy Systems and Policy. Dr. Johnson conducts research on sustainable energy and materials systems, with a cross-cutting aim of improving life cycle assessment methods.

Dr. Johnson earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University in 2001 and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Yale University in 2007.  Upon completion of his graduate studies, he spent over five years working in the energy industry, advising utility executives on renewable energy strategy.

Ph.D. Students

Aditya Keskar

Aditya is an Environmental Engineering PhD student, focusing on sustainable energy systems. His research broadly focuses on experimenting with building air conditioning systems and their ability to balance out the stochasticity introduced by renewable resources like wind and photovoltaic solar. More specifically, it investigates the trade-offs between a commercial building’s ability to provide demand response services and its overall energy efficiency. He extensively collaborates with staff at the University of Michigan and NC State University for this purpose. The research is funded by the Department of Energy. He is also actively interested in learning about the advance of sustainable energy infrastructure in the developing world.

He enjoys travelling to anywhere near an ocean, cooking, and playing badminton. He decided to pursue a PhD after completing his MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan, where he was a part of the Michigan Power and Energy Laboratory (MPEL). He is originally from Bangalore (India), where he received his Bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from PES University.

Qian Luo

Qian is a PhD student in environmental engineering. Before joining our group, she obtained her M.S. in environmental engineering at Georgia Tech and B.S. in Ecology at Xiamen University, China. Her passion for the environment and the climate spurred her focus on renewable energy, energy storage, and air quality. Currently, she is developing a new method to mitigate human health impacts from power sector emissions through the optimal use of grid-connected energy storage. As an EDF Climate Corps fellow, she helped design a green data center for a leading digital company (AAC Technologies), capturing and reusing the waste heat generated by HPC. Qian has wide interests in traveling, baking, calligraphy and traditional Chinese Painting. Qian is co-advised by Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez.

Jethro Ssengonzi

Jethro Ssengonzi is a PhD student in civil engineering with concentration in computing & systems. Before joining our group, he obtained his B.S. in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). His passion for improving civil infrastructure systems has inspired his focus on open energy access and sustainable energy. Jethro has interests in sports and music.

Xinyi Liu

Xinyi is a PhD student in Environmental Engineering. Her research interest is in energy system modeling and assessment. Currently, her research on developing a power systems model with CO2-based energy production and storage is part of the Sloan Foundation Project focuses on the technical advancements of the deployment of novel CO2-based geo-energy systems. The project is a collaboration between the research teams at the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and NC State University. Before joining NC State, she conducted an independent study on life cycle assessment of water usage in bioenergy and carbon capture and storage (BECSS) during her master’s at Carnegie Mellon University. More specifically, the research goal was to measure the feasibility of BECCS regarding water usage and energy consumption. She also loves psychology, swimming, and music.


Undergraduate Students

Brenna Copeland

Brenna is a freshman at NC State and is planning on pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Engineering. Her research focuses on analyzing the environmental burdens associated with shared electric scooters using a life cycle assessment approach. She is interested in environmental systems and life cycle assessments. On campus, Brenna is involved in EcoVillage, Zero Waste Wolves, and is a Summer Start mentor. Brenna also loves hiking, camping, and going to the beach. 

Sarah Nagy

Sarah is a freshman at NC State, pursuing a B.S. in Civil Engineering. As a part of the I-DREEM project, her research focuses on investigating efficiency trends in commercial buildings associated with demand response services. She investigates campus building data to find factors that drive the efficiency of a building’s response to grid ancillary services. She is also interested in sustainable infrastructure and renewable energy. Sarah is actively involved with several organizations on campus, including Engineers Without Borders and the Research Experience. She is currently in the Research Experience Undergraduate (REU) Program. Outside of class, Sarah enjoys reading, swimming, and woodworking.

Recent Alums

Nicole Ryan (now on an IEEE Congressional Fellowship)


Nicole completed her dual degree doctoral student in Natural Resources and Environment and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her graduate research included a comparative analysis of and decision support algorithm for estimating emissions from grid electricity consumption, as well as an analysis of the life cycle emissions of using lithium-ion batteries for frequency regulation. Additional efforts include quantifying the impacts of forecast electricity net load shapes on real time generation costs through statistical modeling. Nicole has accepted a prestigious IEEE Congressional Fellowship, upon completing her degrees.

Danny Sodano (now with the Department of Energy)

Danny completed his master’s degree in Environmental Engineering with a focus in Energy Systems Analysis. His research project included an energy storage study mandated by N.C. House Bill 589 to evaluate the potential costs and benefits to NC utilities and customers of utilizing energy storage throughout the state of North Carolina. 

Joe Hollingsworth (now at Ecoplexus doing solar power development)

Joe is graduate student pursuing a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, with a focus on energy systems analysis. His research on solar powered integrated greenhouses, as a part of an interdisciplinary research team involved in NSFs program, Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems. His research is focused on life cycle environmental impacts and economic analysis of integrating organic photovoltaic technology into greenhouses. Additionally, Joe’s research involves optimization of off-grid greenhouses integrated with solar and battery storage for self-sustaining food systems. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Alabama, where he studied civil and environmental engineering. Joe’s interests are in sustainable energy systems and renewable energy development. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, playing the banjo, and watching Alabama football.

Sydney Forrester (now at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs)

sforresterSydney is a student in the School of Natural Resources and Environment pursuing a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Energy Systems. Sydney received a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Engineering from Columbia University. Following that, she worked for two years in the utility industry focusing on sustainable energy programs that included energy efficiency financing and low-income community solar to improve energy access and affordability. Sydney’s research interests focus on energy justice and sustainable development. She is working with Dr. Johnson and Dr. Jose Alfaro to study the relationship between climate change, power.

Danielle Curri (now at Kimley-Horn)

Danielle completed a B.S. in Civil Engineering, conducting research on industrial symbiosis waste characterization and optimization through computer programming. Through her efforts, she developed a cohesive tool to assist in the creation and development of eco-industrial parks.  After graduate, Danielle joined Kimley-Horn and is working toward earning her professional engineering license.

Maddie Macmillan  (now a PhD student at UC-Boulder/NREL)

Maddie is currently a senior at NC State pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and a minor in Spanish.  Her research investigates the potential to reduce emissions through the implementation of demand response programs.  She is also interested in renewable energy, energy storage and energy policy. She is involved on campus in a variety of ways including being a student ambassador for the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, a Chancellor’s Aide and the Chair of the NC State Sustainability Fund Advisory Board.  Outside of the classroom, Maddie is an avid traveller, loves to cook and enjoys backpacking and camping.