As a student, researcher, employee, and activist, Austin Park extends his passion for climate action through all areas of his life. He is in his first year as an MS candidate for Energy Resources Engineering. His research focuses on understanding the holistic effects of adding intermittent renewable generation to the grid. He is part of the Western Interconnection Data Analytics Project (WIDAP) research team, which is analyzing a large data set of emissions and generation data in the west. Austin co-directed the 2017 UCLA Sustainability Action Research Teams, a student-designed and student-facilitated research program that connects student researchers with campus stakeholders to address UCLA's most pressing sustainability needs. Austin worked for three years as a UCLA Carbon Neutrality Fellow. In this capacity, he developed engagement efforts for the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, assisted with UCLA’s carbon neutrality planning, and contributed to UC system-wide decarbonization research. Austin has worked as an energy efficiency engineer for Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and as a data analyst for the California Air Resources Board. He co-led the 2016 Sustainability Action Research Team, which secured an $18,000 grant to introduce stormwater capture infrastructure at UCLA. In May of 2015, Austin represented the United States and UCLA at Make It Work, an international simulation of COP21. At the negotiations, he successfully spearheaded the effort to establish an international carbon market. He is a Regents Scholar, Alumni Scholar, and received the first-ever UCLA Student Sustainability Leadership Award. Austin loves to surf and play piano, and he never misses a chance to jump in the ocean or go on a hike.
Sally Benson, Master's Program Advisor
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Western Interconnection Data Analytics Project (WIDAP):
Austin uses various data analytics to analyze emissions data from the western interconnection. Recent findings suggest many coal and gas plants are no longer operating in the baseload generation paradigm for which they were designed. Austin is investigating how emissions are changing as a result, and how the thermal characteristics of power plants and policy environments affect different locales within the western interconnection.