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Matt  McKenney

Matt McKenney

Alumnus, Class of 2015
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Why did you choose Oregon Tech?

When I decided to return to school to finish a degree in engineering, I knew I wanted to find a program that would allow me to work with renewable energy and more specifically in the wind power industry. After I found the Renewable Energy Engineering (REE) program at Oregon Tech, my wife and I traveled to Portland (from Cincinnati, Ohio) to visit the campus and meet some of the faculty members. I really enjoyed speaking with students about the projects they were working on and with the faculty about the coursework covered in the degree program. I decided that the program fit well with my style of learning and interests, so we made the move to Portland in 2011 and I will be finishing the BSREE/MSREE 4+1 program this June.

What do you like best about your major?

I have enjoyed learning about a wide range of renewable energy technologies covered in the program as well as electrical power systems and system design. I entered the program interested mainly in wind power systems and have gained a thorough understanding and increased interest in many other renewable energy systems such as solar photovoltaic and automation controls systems.

What would be your dream job in your major?

I hope to one day open my own engineering consulting firm that will focus on development of renewable energy systems such as wind farms and solar photovoltaic arrays and also provide these types of systems to developing countries, especially in areas that do not currently have access to an electrical grid system.

What’s your favorite thing to do off campus?

Living in Portland offers amazing opportunities for hiking and backpacking throughout most of the year and snowshoeing during winter months. I plan to spend a lot more time doing these things after I graduate in June.

What’s your most memorable moment at Oregon Tech?

During the Summer of 2014, I traveled to Tanzania for six weeks with the Solar HOPE organization. We installed solar photovoltaic power and lighting systems in schools and medical clinics throughout the country, and we also checked on and performed maintenance for systems that were installed during previous trips by Solar HOPE. We also completed coursework in "Batteries" and "Photovoltaic Systems for Developing Countries”. We learned a lot about these systems through lectures while we traveled by bus from village to village, and especially through the hands-on experience of installing and testing the systems. It was an amazing experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in renewable energy applications for developing countries as well as humanitarian efforts to bring light and electricity to remote regions of the world.