Energy Security Fellows Program

Energy Security Fellows Program

The SAFE Energy Security Fellows Program provides the next generation of energy and national security professionals with access to high-level programming and networking opportunities to connect individuals who are passionate about advancing a national conversation on the future of American energy security.

ESFP MEMBERS

Yuan Cheng (YC) Chua

Graduate Student, Northwestern University

Yuan Cheng (YC) Chua is a Master of Science in Energy and Sustainability graduate student at Northwestern University.

Mr. YC previously served in the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) as a Naval Officer for close to eleven years. After his shipboard tour in the Maritime Security Task Force, he was posted to the Training Department where he developed investment plans for new training capabilities and training plans for new operational capabilities. He also initiated several innovation projects to address challenges faced by operational units and training schools.

Mr. YC earned his Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Geography) from the National University of Singapore (NUS) through a scholarship sponsored by the Singapore Armed Forces. He was part of the University Scholars Program in NUS.

Thomas N. Hale

Research Associate,  Mineral Choices

Thomas Hale is currently a Research Associate at Mineral Choices; a knowledge-sharing platform focusing on resource demand and the extractive industry. He sits on the editorial board and serves as a host of a new podcast series, “A Rock and a Hard Place,” interviewing industry professionals on topics related to mineral supply chains and the energy transition. Thomas founded and serves as the president of Friends of Mineralogy-Virginia Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to applied mineralogy and public education around the application of minerals in everyday life. Thomas is also the director of the Virginia Mineral Project, a state-wide research project dedicated to preserving and promoting Virginia’s mineral resources.

Thomas is currently a graduate student at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and a graduate student in the Minerals, Materials, and Society program at University of Delaware and Queensland University. He serves as the chair of the Security Policy Studies Board and leads multiple committees related to energy and environmental security. His research focuses on the mineral-security nexus, critical mineral supply chains, and U.S.-China competition, with a regional focus in South Asia and Central Africa.

In addition to his professional work, Thomas is actively involved in the mineralogy community. He works with museums, academic institutions, and national geoscience organizations to utilize minerals as a tool for public diplomacy. In his free time, Thomas travels and collects minerals. He has a collection of over 2,000 minerals, fossils, and rocks that he uses to educate the public.

Steven Dahlke

Senior Economist,  Colorado Public Utilities Commission

Steven Dahlke works on regulatory matters including electric resource planning, rate case proceedings, economic development, power plant and renewable energy economics, regional energy markets, and more. He has over a decade of experience in the energy sector spanning non-profit, research, and government fields, and has a Ph.D. in Mineral and Energy Economics.

Sarah Bufano

Senior National Security Consultant, Guidehouse

Sarah Bufano is a senior national security consultant at Guidehouse, where she conducts strategic planning and process improvement efforts for the Department of State. Concurrently, she is earning her M.A. in Global Policy at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with a focus on the United States and South America. Sarah speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. Outside work, she serves as the Vice Chair of Fairfax County’s Young Adults Advisory Council and Secretary of the UVA Club of Washington, DC and is an active member of many foreign policy organizations.

Previously, Sarah worked in government relations at Teach For Australia, where she strengthened the nonprofit’s relationship with the Australian federal government, negotiated various state government contracts, and analyzed education policies. She also has experience working for nonprofits in Argentina, Brazil, and Italy. Sarah started her career as a strategy consultant at Accenture New York advising Fortune 500 companies. She holds a B.A. in International Economics from the University of Virginia.

Sam Mulopulos

Professional Staff Member, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee

Sam Mulopulos is a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee for Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-OH), where he works on technology and supply chain policy. He also serves as Senator Portman’s trade policy advisor to the Senate Finance Committee, and runs the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus and Senate Auto Caucus, which Senator Portman co-chairs. He studies political science and environmental studies at Grinnell College.

Rahul Verma

Vice President of Analytics, Fractal Business Analytics

Rahul leads the analysis and software development team for technical and financial diligence of energy storage projects. Rahul has over 9 years of experience in the energy and resources industry. Rahul has consulted for over 4 GW of energy storage projects and closely works across the complete lifecycle and supply chain. Prior to Fractal, Rahul served as an Energy Economist at the Center for Energy Economics, Houston. Rahul holds an M.S. in Energy and Earth Resources from the University of Texas, Austin and B.E. in Mining Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Dhanbad.

Michael Horder

Legislative Director, Office of Congressman August Pfluger

Michael Horder has nearly a decade of experience navigating Capitol Hill where he has helped multiple Members of Congress to build their teams, manage their priorities, and develop and implement their strategic and legislative goals.

While possessing a diverse policy background, his focus area has been at the nexus of energy, agriculture, and national security. He has successfully delivered on key issues including securing bipartisan support on provisions to strengthen national security through the National Defense Authorization Act, supporting passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, support lifting the decades old crude oil export ban, co-creating the Congressional Carbon Dioxide and Enhanced Oil Recovery Caucus, and passing the carbon capture tax credit update.

Michael’s most recent roles were Legislative Director under Congressman August Pfluger, Ranking Member of Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Subcommittee on House Homeland Security and Vice Ranking Member for Europe, Energy, Environment, and Cybersecurity on House Foreign Affairs Committee, and K. Michael Conaway, the former Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and senior Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Armed Services Committee.

Raised in Fort Worth, Texas, Michael currently resides in Washington, DC with his wife.

Matthew Hallex

Research Staff Member, The Institute for Defense Analyses’ Joint Advanced Warfighting Division

Matthew Hallex is a Research Staff Member in the Institute for Defense Analyses’ Joint Advanced Warfighting Division. His research is focused on space issues, long-term national security strategy, operational planning, and defense innovation for the Department of Defense and other national security organizations. Matthew holds a M.A. degree in Security Policy Studies from George Washington University, received his B.A. in degree in Political Science from Hunter College, City University of New York, and studied at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. Originally from New York City he now lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Matt Evers

Marine Corps Logistics Officer, The Basic School in Quantico, VA

Matt Evers is an active-duty Marine Corps Logistics Officer currently assigned to The Basic School in Quantico, VA, supporting the entry-level training, education, and leadership development of all Marine Officers before assignment to the Fleet Marine Force. His previous assignments include several duties at 2d Battalion, 7th Marines and company command at Marine Wing Support Squadron 271. He deployed with 2d Battalion, 7th Marines as the Assistant Logistics Officer and Maintenance Management Officer for Special Purpose Marine-Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) from 2014-2015 and as the Assistant Operations Officer for the Command Element, SPMAGTF-CR-Africa from 2018-2019. Matt voluntarily serves as the Vice President of Operations for the Association of Marine Corps Logisticians (AMCL). Matt is a 2012 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and earned a B.S. in Quantitative Economics. He is a graduate of the Army’s Logistics Captains Career Course and is accredited with the MITx MicroMasters program in Supply Chain Management. He is expected to complete a M.S. in International Transportation Management with SUNY Maritime College in May 2022.

Liza Reed

Research Manager,  Niskanen Center

Liza is the research manager for low carbon technology policy at the Niskanen Center. She is an expert in High Voltage Direct Current, electricity transmission, and technology innovation. Before joining the Niskanen Center, she worked on energy funding at the Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve University.

She holds a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in Engineering and Public Policy and a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University. Her dissertation was “High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC): New Opportunities to Expand Transmission Capacity.”  She has been published in PNAS and The Electricity Journal, featured on The Weeds Volts podcasts, and quoted in MIT Technology Review and E&E News on electricity transmission technology and policy.

Katherine Ambrose

Professional Staff Member, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Katherine Ambrose is a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. Previously, she was a Legislative Analyst at the Alpine Group. Katherine is a graduate of the College of William & Mary, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in both international relations and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies.

Justin D. Wilson

Manager, Federal Affairs, Cruise

Justin Wilson is the Manager of Federal Affairs for Cruise in Washington, DC. Justin joined Cruise in 2020, and serves as the company’s principal liaison to Congress providing strategic advice to the company on Congressional matters.

Prior to joining Cruise, Justin worked for the Raben Group. As a director at the firm, Justin built out public policy campaigns that focused on a variety of topics including transportation equity, diversity in financial services, and criminal justice.

Justin is an Alexandria, Virginia, native who earned a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a law degree from the George Washington University Law School. In his spare time, he serves as an advisory board member for Martha’s Table, a nonprofit focused on supporting strong children, strong families, and strong communities and enjoys attending local concerts and sporting events.

Griffin Smith

Climate Policy Analyst, General Motors

Griffin Smith is a Climate Policy Analyst at General Motors. Griffin works with federal, state and local regulatory agencies, other external organizations, and all functions within General Motors to support climate policy options and incentives consistent with the Paris Climate Accords and an industry-wide glidepath to zero emissions.

Griffin obtained a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Master of Science in Applied Economics from Marquette University.

Danielle Russo

Energy Innovation Analyst, A2 Systems Engineering, Inc.

Danielle Russo is an Energy Innovation Analyst at A2 Systems Engineering, Inc., where she provides direct support to the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment and Energy Resilience. Her work focuses primarily on energy resilience, specifically the successful execution of energy resilience readiness exercises at military installations and the development of effective energy policy. In 2020, she received a Federal Energy Management Award from the Department of Energy for this work. Prior to joining A2 Systems Engineering Inc., Danielle spent time at Concurrent Technologies Corporation supporting energy and cyber programs for both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps as an energy analyst and technical writer. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland in Environmental Science and Technology, with a specialization in Ecological Technology Design.

Andrew Bridson

Energy and Infrastructure Legislation Attorney, U.S. Department of Transportation

Andrew is an energy and infrastructure attorney with experience in Federal service. He was selected to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Honors Attorney program after graduating from law school, which provided broad exposure to the practice areas of infrastructure, energy, and environmental law. Andrew developed an expertise in pipeline and hazardous materials law, and worked on regulations concerning the safe transportation of lithium-ion batteries, the safety of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines, the movement of materials on rail, and the operation of liquefied natural gas facilities.

Andrew’s work in these areas was recognized by the Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Andrew’s assistance was requested to advise Congress and lead the drafting of a ground-breaking pipeline safety bill. After completing work on the bill, Andrew returned to the Department of Transportation where he now advises the Secretary and General Counsel on matters of legislation concerning aviation, rail, pipeline and hazardous materials safety, maritime, and transportation research. Andrew received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his law degree from Northeastern University.

Alon Chapovetsky

Post-Doctoral Appointee, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)

Alon Chapovetsky is a post-doctoral appointee at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) where he develops and studies catalysts for the conversion of crude oil products to useful commodity chemicals. In addition to his work at ANL, Alon is also a fellow of the Chicago chapter of the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI, Class of 2021), where he works with business experts, policymakers, and scientists to understand the challenges associated with moving towards a fully renewable energy ecosystem. In the summer of 2022, Alon will transition to the private sector as a consultant for a major strategy firm.

Alon immigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area from Israel when he was 13 years old and obtained his BSc in chemistry (and minor in art history) from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). He obtained his PhD in chemistry at the University of Southern California (USC), where he investigated electrocatalysts as tools to chemically reduce greenhouse gases into liquid fuels.

In his free time Alon enjoys reading, art & art history, and solving the New York Times crossword puzzle.

Alicia Porile

Staff Assistant, Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro

Alicia Porile is Staff Assistant to Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro, Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations. Prior to beginning this role, she served as an intern in the office of Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton and at Global Policy Group where she focused on trade and environmental policy impacting the auto industry.  Originally from South Bend, Indiana, she interned for Secretary Pete Buttigieg during his tenure as Mayor of South Bend. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Duke University where she majored in Public Policy Studies with a minor in Spanish and a Certificate in Human Rights.  Alicia currently resides in Washington D.C.

Aaron L. Flyer

Associate, Sidley Austin LLP

Aaron L. Flyer is an Associate in the Environmental Practice at the law firm Sidley Austin LLP in Washington, D.C. His practice focuses on advising clients through a wide range of environmental matters, including enforcement actions, regulatory compliance, rulemaking challenges, federal litigation and asset acquisitions. Aaron is particularly focused on assisting automotive and energy sector clients in defending against Clean Air Act enforcement actions.  Aaron has also previously advised clients in the nuclear industry on a range of topics, including internal investigations, spent fuel litigation, environmental remediation and regulatory matters before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and U.S. Department of Energy.

Aaron’s practice is built upon his eight years of experience as a naval officer and engineer with the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, where he worked on the design, manufacture, operation and disposal of naval nuclear reactors and management of nuclear facilities.

Fellows Commentary