Energy and Sustainability Policy
Program Office

ESP Faculty

There are many faces to ESP, but there are a few core instructors and advisers that you'll get to know during your time as an ESP student. 

Mark Fedkin (2:28)

Mark Fedkin's introduction
Click here for a transcript of Mark Fedkin's video introduction.

Hello, my name is Mark Fedkin, I am the Program Lead for the Energy and Sustainability Policy and it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Program.

The ESP is one of the few online programs in the country that examines the whole entire spectrum of energy options available to use with a specific emphasis on policy.

I came to the program from the Energy Engineering field. I earned my Ph.D. in Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering from Penn State in 2003. Then I worked over about 15 years for the Penn State’s Energy Institute doing research and developing some new technologies for energy conversion and storage. One of my favorite areas of study was fuel cells. Those devices that are capable of converting chemicals such as hydrogen, methane, and even coal to electricity without burning them. So they may potentially have huge benefits to the environment. I was also involved in some projects on carbon sequestration and storage. We tried to find out what happens to carbon dioxide when it is put deep underground for storage in geological formations.

I have been at Penn State for about 20 years and really I like it here.

My family leaves in State College; I have three children - one in Elementary School, one in College, and one in Graduate School. So we all kind of separated now. I really like going on family trips that bring us all together. I also like to spend my free time in nature – running, hiking, or just walking around taking pictures. I really love art, especially photography, so I would visit modern art museums when I have a chance.

Once again, welcome and I hope you will enjoy the Program.

Credit: Mark Fedkin

Matt Howard (2:42)

Matt Howard's introduction
Click here for a transcript of Matt Howard's video introduction.

Hi, my name is Matt Howard. I'm your instructor for EG Ee41, Energy and a Changing World. In this course, we're going to cover the basics of energy provision in the US. We'll touch on some of energy's aspects and how it relates on global market places. But ultimately where we're going with this, whether we're talking about energy use in the US or globally, is how do we move from a fossil fuel based economy to one that's cleaner and relies more on renewable energy and more sustainable sources of energy to power our economies? Just in terms of my background, I've been in the sustainability field for almost 20 years. My academic background is actually in international economics. In a Bachelor's in International Econ. But I really started out my career pretty early on switching over into sustainability related work with the US Department of Commerce. That's really where I started my career in Washington DC, working for the federal government, primarily at the US Department of Commerce, where I helped develop sustainable manufacturing initiatives and other programs to help manufacturers be more resource and energy efficient. I jumped from commerce in from Washington DC and ended up taking a job with the mayor of the city of Milwaukee. And continued my sustainability career there as the Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Milwaukee. And it's really there where I got a lot more deeply involved in energy issues, helping the city manage its energy portfolio, both in terms of how that was applied to buildings, but also facilities and street lights and all that good stuff. These days, I've been with a nonprofit organization called the Water Council. That's where I currently serve as vice president of Water Stewardship. We work with companies of all shapes and sizes all over the US and globally on water related issues in terms of how they use and impact water resources, but also there's that direct connection between water and energy. We do spend a lot of time talking about the nexus between water and energy and how that impacts manufacturing and our economy. Just in terms of me personally. I currently live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my family, my wife, and two kids. And we generally spend as much time as we possibly can outdoors, whether that's camping or hiking. I like to fly fish. When I'm inside, I like to listen to music. I'm a big sports fan that really leads me to my two truths and one lie. This relates to sports. Two truths, one lie, no particular order. I've attended the Indianapolis 500, I've attended a World Series baseball game, and I've attended a men's Final four basketball championship game. You can figure those out. I look forward to seeing you in EGEE 401. Thanks.

Credit: Matt Howard

Daniel Kasper (2:08)

Dan Kasper's introduction
Click here for a transcript of Dan Kasper's video introduction.

My name is Dan Kasper, and I teach EME 444 – Global Energy Enterprise, EM SC 240N – Energy and Sustainability in Contemporary Culture (which I also developed), and EM SC 470 – Applied Sustainability in Contemporary Culture (which I also developed).

I have a BS in Earth Science from Penn State, an MA in Geography University of Denver, and am working on a Ph.D. in Energy and Environmental Policy from University of Delaware. 

I have worked in low-income energy efficiency training and advocacy and done some consulting in the energy auditing and solar fields. I teach in the Energy Technologies Department at Delaware Technical Community College, where I focus on energy efficiency and sustainability. I’m also the International Education Coordinator at Delaware Tech. I’ve taken students to Italy, Denmark, and Switzerland, and am taking PSU students to Colorado this summer.

I am a firm believer in getting out of your comfort zone, and believe that life should be made as interesting as possible by engaging in small and large adventures, whether it’s figuring out how to cook a new dish or take something apart, talking to random people, listening to new music, or getting lost in a different country.

I worry a lot about the sustainability of our future and spend a lot of time thinking about how we can advocate for sustainability-focused policies at all levels of government, and advocating for sustainable lifestyles in general. 

Two truths and a lie:

  • I have a cat that was in a coma at one point in his life, only to miraculously survive. The nurses made up a song for him, “JoJo was a cat, we thought he was a goner, but now he’s just a friend of mine…” (to the tune of “Get Back” by the Beatles) 
  • Coffee generally has the reverse effect on me that it has on most other people – it actually helps me fall asleep at night. This is something that runs in my family. 
  • I am missing one major organ.
  • Thanks for reading, and good luck!

Edwin Pinero (1:53)

Edwin Pinero's introduction
Click here for a transcript of Edwin Pinero's introductory video.

Hi, my name is Ed Pinero, and I will be the instructor for EGEE 401, Energy in Changing World. I am new to the Penn State World Campus family, and I look forward to working with all of you.

I live in Lancaster County here in Pennsylvania, although am originally from New York City, with stints in various other states. I am a geologist and earth scientist by Education, but my background is in a wide variety of topics in the areas of sustainability and environmental science. This ranges from my early days as an oil and gas exploration and production geologist, to various times as a consultant to the private and public sector on many aspects of sustainability and environment.

In the realm of energy- I have had many diverse roles dealing with energy best practices, the business case for energy management, and policy development. I was the State Energy Director for Pennsylvania, as well as being the Federal Sustainability Officer, which included overseeing various energy-related activities throughout all Federal agencies and facilities.

From other personal interests’ perspective, I am very interested in astronomy, and since 2001, I have served as a NASA Solar System Ambassador, helping promote awareness and understanding of NASA's planetary exploration program.

I am to offer you two truths and a lie and see if you could pick out the lie. So here we go! First, as part of the various roles in my career, I do a lot of international travel. I was at a standards development meeting in Australia some years ago and the event dinner main entree was kangaroo! Second, I am an avid Star Wars and Star Trek, and can recite much dialogue from the movies. And thirdly, part of my job as State Energy Director was to help set pricing for various fuels sold in the state.

Brandi Robinson (2:21)

Brandi Robinson's introduction
Click here for a transcript of Brandi Robinson's video introduction.

Hi everyone, welcome to the ESP Program!  I’m Brandi Robinson.  I teach GEOG 432, a class about energy and climate policy.  I also teach GEOG 438W – a writing intensive course about the human dimensions of climate change and I teach EME 466, the capstone course.  So, I’ll see you at the other end of your journey!  I’ve been with the ESP program for a little over 8 years now.  Prior to that I worked for Environmental Credit, a greenhouse gas offset project developer, where I was a policy analyst and account manager helping dairy and hog farmers manage methane emissions from their manure (glamorous, I know).  Now, I work in my own township as the chair of our climate action committee to inventory our emissions and begin working toward our ambitious net zero by 2050 goal.  Outside of work I’m a mom and enjoy traveling, baking, and crafting as well as hunting for vintage pyrex at thrift stores.  Two truths and a lie!  (1) I grew up on a dairy farm near Williamsport, PA. (2) My daughter is fluent in a foreign language I don’t speak.  (3) I was never on an airplane until I was 22.  Looking forward to working with you all! 

Haley Sankey (1:22)

Haley Sankey's introduction
Click here for a transcript of Haley Sankey's video introduction. 

Hello, I am Haley Sankey and I am an Assistant Teaching Professor and an Adviser in the ESP Program. I also serve as the Program Coordinator. I teach EMSC 302,  the ESP Orientation course, as well as EGEE 299 and 495, which are the Study Abroad and Internship courses respectively. I have been with Penn State for about 10 years now, but before that I worked for a consulting firm, helping utilities apply for relicensing from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, otherwise known as FERC. I’ve also worked with municipalities to reduce their energy use and watershed groups to clean up their waterways. I love to eat, cook, do any kind of outdoor activities, and really love to travel. My husband and I recently bought an RV so we can travel the US and visiting as many National Parks as possible! My two truths and a lie are that I hate winter and can’t stand being cold, I volunteer as ski patrol at our local ski mountain in the winters, and I studied abroad my senior year in Kerala, India. I look forward to working with all of you in the ESP program and good luck! 

Credit: EMSC 302

Sue Spaugh (1:30)

Sue Spaugh's introduction
Click here for a transcript of Sue Spaugh's video introduction.

Hello, my name is Susan Spaugh and I am an administrative assistant in the Dutton Institute.   One of the many hats that I wear is Program Assistant for the Energy & Sustainability Policy Bachelor programs.  I may have been your first contact from the program as it is my privilege to welcome you into the program upon your acceptance to Penn State.  At that time I assign you an adviser and I work closely with them to help answer any questions you may have and assist you as you navigate Penn State and the ESP program. 

I have been married for 38 years to my husband David.  We have 3 grown children and 7 grandchildren.  Spending time with our family is very important to us.  We love playing games, watching movies, going for walks, sitting around a campfire in our backyard, or paddling around the lake behind our house.   

In my spare time, I enjoy quilting and numerous other crafts.  I have made quilts for each of my children and hope to make quilts for each of my grandchildren.  A few years ago I won 1st prize at our county fair for a quilt that I designed. 

You may find this interesting, just as you study from a distance - the last 4 years of my 22 years with Penn State, I have worked from my home in the state of Indiana.  In this great age of technology – there are so many opportunities available to us to learn and fulfill our career goals.  I love working with you, the student, and being part of the ESP program, the Dutton Institute, and Penn State.