Gavin McCormickIndividual users and organizations will now be able to know where their electricity comes from and choose sources they support, thanks to a new technology developed by a team led by UC Berkeley grad student Gavin McCormick.

McCormick, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, is the recipient of this year’s Echoing Green Climate Fellowship for his innovation that empowers people and business to control their own energy choices.

“I am so, so grateful for the incredible folks at Echoing Green, who not only gave our nonprofit its initial funding, but who are also showing us so much about how to actually get a social enterprise off the ground,” says McCormick after winning the fellowship.

“Thanks to them, WattTime.org can be a rare example of a nonprofit that has the sophistication of a research project, but can act with the speed and flexibility of a startup,” he says, refers to the organization he cofounded.

The WattTime employs innovation that combines real-time electricity data and the Internet of Things with groundbreaking predictive algorithms to inform and engage consumers, as well as to enable smart devices to automatically prioritize cleaner power sources in real-time.

Besides research, McCormick is also an active mentor to undergrad students through a program called SMART. Administered by the Graduate Division, the program is designed to broaden the professional development of doctoral students and to foster research skills for undergraduates.

“The one thing I will really miss about academia is the teaching,” he says, “I viewed working with my mentee, Ivanna Patton, as like traveling back in time to give myself a ‘cheat sheet’ for all the things I wish someone had told me when I was an econ undergrad.”

Echoing Green’s new Climate Fellowship, built in partnership with The ZOOM Foundation, is specifically targeted for next-generation social entrepreneurs committed to working on innovations in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. This year’s Fellowship was awarded to individuals or partners in up to ten organizations. Winners will receive a stipend of up to $90,000 and other rewards such as leadership development and network access.


Categories: August 2014, Honors and Awards
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About Leo Zou

Leo is a bilingual journalist who studied at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining the program, he had worked for three years in Beijing as a staff reporter with China's national newspaper, covering a wide range of topics from social unrest to business development.