april, 2021

28apr6:30 pm7:45 pmLatinx Energy Career Trajectories

Event Details



Latinxs in Sustainability and Young Professionals in Energy NYC recognize the importance of elevating a variety of voices within the energy sector, and working towards an industry that is more inclusive and diverse. To contribute to this effort, we’ve put together a Latinx Energy Career Trajectories virtual panel that will highlight the compelling journey of four Latinx energy professionals with distinct areas of expertise.

Join us on April 28th at 6:30pm to hear Latinx energy professionals from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)Solar OneAES Clean Energy, and the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance discuss their background, involvement, and challenges in the energy sector. Speakers will answer questions such as: How has your career and interest in energy evolved? What are some obstacles you’ve faced as a Latinx professional in the energy space? What advice do you have for young professionals interested in your field? What are your hopes for the industry in the coming years? Find more details about our speakers below.

This event is open to ALL professionals, students, and greater energy community members. We hope you join us for a panel that’s sure to be insightful!



Cecilio Aponte is a Brooklyn, NY native whose prior experience includes internships in energy access at SELCO in India, city climate policy and greenhouse accounting at the World Resources Institute, and distributed generation as a Product Analyst at SunPower. He currently works on the Origination Team at AES Clean Energy, having negotiated over 200 MW of Utility-scale solar and storage offtake agreements and power marketing with Utility and Corporate customers. Outside of his day-to-day work, Cecilio is actively engaged in the energy and climate community, being an alumni of the Climate Corps Bay Area fellowship and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) fellowship and has raised over $10k to install solar at a non-profit in Oakland, CA as a Solar Champion with RE-volv. He also sits on NY’s Climate Action Council Power Generation Advisory panel. Cecilio holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Materials Science and Engineering with a minor in Energy Studies from MIT.


Annel Hernandez is the Associate Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. She works on city and statewide climate policy issues, focusing on local advocacy and research that further equitable investments in coastal resiliency, green infrastructure, renewable energy, and resilient energy systems. Annel also works on various coalition campaigns to push for more aggressive climate legislation with equity as a central focus. She has been actively researching the benefits of an integrated climate resiliency approach and developing pathways to implementation in frontline communities. Previously, Annel worked with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and the Urban Climate Change Research Network at the Earth Institute. Annel also teaches environmental justice and climate resiliency at Columbia University. A lifelong New Yorker and current resident of Bushwick, Brooklyn, she serves on the Board of Newtown Creek Alliance and BK Rot. Annel received her BA in Political Science and Latino Studies from Fordham University, and her MPA in Energy and Environment from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Christian Lopez is a power systems engineer with over a decade of experience in the grid integration of utility-scale renewables (solar, wind, storage), including the design, construction, and commissioning of high voltage substations and transmission lines. Having successfully interconnected more than two Gigawatts of renewables across the Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean, and with vast experience working with different ISOs and Power Utilities, Christian understands the complexities renewables face when it comes to grid integration. Christian is currently leading the High Voltage Engineering team at AES Clean Energy where he continues to foster deeper relationships with customers, construction partners, and equipment manufacturers to find creative, innovative, and cost-effective solutions for High Voltage facilities. Christian was born in Honduras and is the first of his family to migrate and live in the US permanently. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from John Brown University, a Renewable Energy Master’s degree from the Carl Von Ossietzky University (Germany), and a second Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State. He resides in the beautiful San Francisco Bay area where he enjoys all the hiking and mountain bike adventures the bay area has to offer.

Geovani Caldero (He/him) is an Environmental Educator and a Solar Workforce Instructor born and raised in Puerto Rico. His motivation to work in the solar industry started while working at Solar One, a non-profit organization based in New York City. With more than 4 years of experience as an Environmental Educator and Instructor, he has designed, developed, and implemented a variety of educational programs. His motivation consists of providing life changing skills and opportunities to under employed or unemployed individuals from underrepresented communities. Geovani is the co-founder of CLEA, The Latin American Coalition of Environmental Educators, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with a major in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras, and a Master’s degree in Environmental Conservation Education from New York University.

Dr. Nicole Mendoza is a Senior Researcher in Wind Energy Systems at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, working primarily in offshore and onshore wind energy. She is also an Environmental Entrepreneurs 2020 1 Hotels Fellow and Emerging Leader. Prior to this, she designed wind turbine blades for SGRE for about three years as an aerodynamicist. She has also worked for Boeing in the aerospace industry for roughly 3.5 years in various roles, and was an emerging leader in Boeing’s Leadership Excellence Acceleration Program. She has a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M, supported by multiple scholarships, fellowships (NSF GRFP Fellow), honors, and awards. She has authored/co-authored 9 conference papers and has 2 patents in progress. Dr. Mendoza is a passionate champion for women and minorities in STEM and renewable energy, diversity & inclusion, and saving the planet. She has mentored extensively, volunteered for various STEM-related educational outreach activities to grade-school-aged girls, served as a professional role model, and created new programs, groups, & initiatives for women and minorities. She actively volunteers with multiple employee resource groups and professional/social organizations.

Event Planners:

Latinxs in Sustainability was founded in October 2017 to create a place for other Latinos in the sustainability industry to network and to raise awareness amongst students and young professionals about potential career pathways in sustainability. Latinxs In Sustainability, made up of Latino engineers working or interested in sustainability, focuses on:

  1. Informing students and young professionals of sustainability careers and opportunities, and facilitating access to this industry
  2. Connecting and growing the community of Latino engineers in the sustainability and energy sector.
  3. Educating interested professionals on sustainability practices and efforts

This group is committed to working towards an inclusive future in the sustainability industry by increasing access to information and opportunities for our community.


Young Professionals in Energy NYC is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that facilitates the advancement of young professionals in the energy industry through social, educational, and civic service-oriented events. With over 4,000 members, the organization represents one of the largest energy networks in the tri-state area. We welcome anyone with a direct professional focus on the energy sector to join our diverse and dynamic community.


(Wednesday) 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm



Online presentation