Katelyn Stenger

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a profile of PhD alum - Katelyn Stenger
Katelyn Stenger

Katelyn Stenger graduated from her PhD program in Engineering Systems Environment in 2022. Her research interests center on equity, decarbonization, and systems change from a behavioral lens. For her dissertation, she synthesized modern applications of behavioral science and how they can be combined and reapplied to achieve sustainability goals. Katelyn is now a Postdoctoral Researcher at the National Renewable Energy Lab, investing and modeling policy pathways to decarbonize residential building stock. While pursuing her PhD, Katelyn also completed the PhD+ Business in Society module. 

Q. What are your career aspirations?

I want to build a community dedicated to compassionate practices at the intersection of systems, policy, and sustainability.

Q. What were the highlights of the PhD Plus module you completed?

When I took the Business in Society series, I gained much knowledge on the world of business, as well as valuable reframing on how to approach essential skills, such as networking, negotiation, and mentorship/management.

Q. What professional skills did you develop through this module (e.g., communication, leadership)? Have you applied those skills and strategies in your PhD training?

Networking, reframing, negotiation, and mentorship/management.

Business in Society reframed my view of networking; I realized network is just building relationships and community. I love that reframing because it allowed me to be authentic in my interactions and meet leaders as people first. It also gave me the framing to feel like I could ask for other people's time in a meaningful way. I enjoy learning from people and helping others when I can. I also learned how to negotiate and 'expand the pie.' The negotiation skills and framework supported me during my job negotiation which resulted in a better employment package. I also learned about mentoring and managing others. I look forward to building on these skills in the future.

Q. How have the strategies and skills learned, and community developed through this core module assisted you in your personal and professional development, as well as planning for diverse careers?

I participated in the Business in Society course because I knew that business, regardless of my next career step, would be important to know about. Government agencies, research, academia, non-profits, and for-profits are all governed by these core principles. I wanted a guide on what to expect in this space. I am glad I took the course.

Q. What is your advice or recommendation to peers on how to best leverage PhD Plus program?

A. Make sure you make time to engage with the content and show up for the modules. They were well worth the time and will support you regardless of the next career step.

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