The Energy Access Fellowship give students, graduates, and professionals the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the renewable energy sector.

Overview

The OnePower Lesotho Energy Access Fellowship provides opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students as well as young professionals to learn about the energy access sector and acquire hands-on experience in renewable energy engineering design and community engagement.

Fellows are based in Maseru, Lesotho and typically commit to 3-12 months of tenure. For a detailed overview of the fellowship, please click here: Energy Access Fellowship Posting

Pictures of Fellows at Work

Fellow Candise demonstrating results of smart meter measurements to 1PWR team and potential investors.
Fellows Shakes and Candise working on 1PWR's distribution grid infrastructure at Ha Makebe.
Fellow Phylicia working on smart meters with Mandla and Makoanyane.
Fellows Phylicia and Erika on a field trip.

Current Fellows

Maphoka Seleke

Montech Institute, Lesotho

Fellowship Tenure: 2020

Maphoka obtained her diploma in Occupational Health & Safety from Montech Institute in Lesotho. Growing up in the Mountain Kingdom has sparked her interest in nature and she has dedicated her career to protecting nature and natural resources while to making health & safety a priority. Her goal is that her work in Lesotho contributes to Lesotho’s attainment of at least one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. At OnePower, she is focusing on relationships to communities and contributes to community engagement operations and surveys.

Merle Nye

Junior in Public Policy and Data and the Environment, Duke University

Fellowship Tenure: 2020

Merle is interested in the intersection of technology and sustainability and the future of transportation. On campus, he has been involved in research projects related to the autonomous vehicles, the U.S. coal industry, and modeling residential energy demand in emerging markets. In his free time, he enjoys finding new trails to run on, books about history, and exploring technology’s role in environmental conservation.

Mope Khati

African Leadership University

Fellowship Tenure: 2020

Mope is an Electrical Power Systems Engineering graduate of African Leadership University. He is an aspiring problem solver, passionate about building strategic and innovative solutions to market problems and challenges. At African Leadership University, Mope was an engineering academic mentor and class representative, working with both students and faculty to facilitate the teaching and learning experience for the student body. During his last two years of study Mope worked for Green Yellow Indian Ocean, a renewable energy company that owns and operates a portfolio of solar PV plants in the Indian Ocean. Part of his work included PV Plants remote monitoring, operation & maintenance, and reporting.

Sibongile Sithole

Senior, Arizona State University and Ashesi University

Fellowship Tenure: 2020

Sibongile Sithole is a Final year student currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Ashesi University in Ghana. In 2019 she was part of the inaugural group chosen to study in Arizona State University (ASU) under the International Accelerated Masters Program. After her undergraduate studies, she is set to do her Masters’ Degree at ASU, in mechanical engineering with a concentration in manufacturing engineering. Sibongile Sithole believes that Africa has a lot of potential and that mechanical engineering will be a pivotal tool in the renaissance of Africa. She believes that this can be achieved by shifting from using traditional problem-solving techniques to more innovative methods, which encourage sustainability and responsible use of technology. This, and ethical entrepreneurship will be the driving force in pushing Africa forward.

Sibongile views herself as an instrument of change. She is part of a team called Sankofa and they are working towards solving the electronic waste problem in Ghana by designing and building a mechanical wire stripper that can be used to strip the wires, instead of the current traditional method which involves burning wires. The team pitched their proposal at the International Global Retailer’s Challenge in Canada and made it to the semifinals.

Past Fellows

Bahlakoana Mabetha

Incoming PhD Candidate in Electrical Engineering, Dartmouth College

Fellowship Tenure: 2019

Bahlakoana is from Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho. He is interested in efficient energy systems and education equality. He has explored his interest in efficient energy systems through research on power electronics for robobees at Harvard where he was an undergraduate. He also did research on concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He will pursue research at the intersection of power electronics and renewable energy systems for his PhD.

On the education equality end, he is a co-founder of Selemela, a Lesotho based NGO that aims to provide supplementary academic support to students, particularly those in remote and/or understaffed schools.

Phylicia Cicilio

PhD Candidate in Electrical Engineering, Oregon State University

Fellowship Tenure: 2018-2019

Phylicia is originally from Vermont and is now a PhD student in electrical and computer engineering at Oregon State University. She focuses on the reliability of microgrids, with particular interest in rural environments and communities. She has pursued education and work with the overarching goal of providing sustainable energy for all, ranging from chemical engineering to electrical engineering and working as an energy efficiency engineer.

Ruitian Yan

Junior in Environmental Science, Brown University

Fellowship Tenure: 2019

Ruitian grew up in Beijing, a city full of environmental opportunities and challenges. She is pursuing a Sc.B. degree in Environmental Science with a focus on Air, Climate and Energy. She has a strong interest in energy efficiency and access under the theme of climate adaptation, especially with human-centered designs and renewable technologies. Ruitian also enjoys working with communities on sustainability projects and education. At Brown, she is interning at the Office of Sustainability to implement the largest end-of-year donation program, along with other projects on waste and energy management. Additionally, Ruitian is passionate about culture and diversity. She is the head strategist of Brown China Summit which bridges cross-cultural conversations on campus.

Mamaswatsi Kopeka

Freshman in Public Health and Africana Studies, Brown University

Fellowship Tenure: 2019

Mamaswatsi grew up in Lesotho, and she obtained her International Baccalaureate diploma from the United World College of the Atlantic, Wales, UK. She is interested –and has partaken—in community engagement projects within and outside of Lesotho. Among other ventures, she co-organized a community project in Ha Mokhoro, Leribe, courtesy of the Go Make A Difference fund. The project was aimed at outreach and female empowerment in a village in Lesotho.
Mamaswatsi is passionate about energy distribution in the most remote and marginalized communities, especially the impact that energy access has on families’ health (which is contingent on the availability of a constant and sanitary water supply), children’s education and further resource access as a consequence.

Rohan Dalvi

Sophomore in Applied Mathematics, Brown University

Fellowship Tenure: 2019

Hailing from Maryland, Rohan is excited by innovation in energy access in developing countries. He hopes to one day pursue clean energy entrepreneurship. On campus, he is the founder of Brown Institute for Policy, a student-run think tank focused on developing policy solutions to problems in Rhode Island. Rohan is a racquet sport enthusiast, an insatiable reader, and a lover of all things food.

Erika Francks – Fulbright Fellow

B.S. in Environmental Studies, Santa Clara University

Fellowship Tenure: 2018-2019

Erika grew up in Washington State in the US, where she often backpacked with her family in the various mountain ranges throughout the state. She currently lives in San Francisco, California and graduated from Santa Clara University in 2017 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a minor in MIS. Erika became passionate about off-grid electrification after visiting an un-electrified village while on a fellowship in Kolkata, India in 2015, and returned the following summer to do research for a solar energy social enterprise in the same region. For the past two years, Erika has studied the potential of solar microgrids, and is excited to join OnePower in Lesotho to continue this research.

Bethlehem Taye

Business Intelligence Analyst, Kaspersky Lab

Fellowship Tenure: 2018-2019

Beth received her Master of Science degree in Information Technology with a focus on Management Information Systems (MIS) from Clark University. Upon graduation, she worked at Kaspersky Lab as a Business Intelligence Analyst. While her main role focused on working with the business software tool Salesforce, she also worked closely with different departments to provide data analytics solutions. Beth is interested in learning how renewable energy technologies can be used in areas that have limited resources. This experience will enhance her knowledge of these systems and build a foundation for her future studies on renewable energy technology.

Thandolwethu ‘Shakes’ Dlamini

Junior in Mechanical Engineering, Duke University

Fellowship Tenure: 2018-2019

Shakes grew up in Swaziland and has been passionate about energy access ever since helping to expand the electricity grid in his home country. He is interested in all things energy, from programming and installing smart meters to working on 66 Kilovolt transmission lines. At Duke, Shakes has been an active member of the community and created the Duke Amandla Chorus, an African choir, for which he recruited 18 members and with which he introduced African music on campus.

Candise Henry

PhD in Earth & Ocean Sciences, Duke University

Fellowship Tenure: 2018-2019

Candise received her Ph.D. in Earth Science at Duke University in 2018. Her research was focused on modeling the influence of externally- versus internally-driven geological processes on coastal morphology and basin architecture for use in oil and gas exploration. She also has an interest in energy systems and has published research examining the impacts of climate change on power production in the U.S.  Prior to her time at Duke, she received her Bachelor’s in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Columbia University. Candise was born in Taiwan but currently lives in North Carolina.

Anjali Katta

Junior in Engineering Physics, Stanford University

Fellowship Tenure: 2018

Anjali is a Junior studying Engineering Physics and pursuing an honors in the Center for Democracy Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. Anjali is interested in the intersection between technology and development, particularly energy access and mobile technology. Anjali is fascinated by the physics behind everything from micro grids to solar panels. Anjali also cares deeply about women’s right and violence against women and is active in many on campus groups that support survivors.

Bataung Mohapi

Junior in Mechanical Engineering, Duke University

Fellowship Tenure: 2018

Bataung grew up in Lesotho, well aware of rural electrification hurdles that the country faces. Bataung is a Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Certificate student at Duke University. At Duke Bataung has been a part of two research groups that seek to develop affordable new technology for renewable electricity generation: Dr. Stiff Robert’s group and Dr. Hotz’s group. Bataung also has a keen interest in mobile power systems such as jets and electric cars.