Jia Mi, PhD candidate and graduate research assistant in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been named to serve on the inaugural Board of Directors of University Marine Energy Research Community (UMERC). There are 10 seats on the Board of Directors and Mi is the only student representative.

UMERC is coordinated by the Pacific Ocean Energy Trust (POET) within the US Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office. The group fosters collaboration within the US marine energy research community and amplifies the impacts of foundational research. This is accomplished by increasing transparency and awareness of marine energy research throughout the U.S., recommending ways to enhance US university marine energy research activities, and strengthening university, lab, and industry ties to boost the domestic university marine energy research community.

Those selected to hold seats on UMERC's Board of Directors provide leadership and direction for the program reflecting its three constituent areas: academia, national laboratories, and industry. Members are chosen to represent diversity, career stages, and geographic locations to best represent all stakeholders, and serve a mix of one- and two-year terms.

“I’m very excited to be named as the Board of Directors of UMERC as the only student representative,” said Mi. “Marine renewable energy has tremendous potential and will play an important role in the future. The Board of Directors has the role of setting UMERC’s role in advancing U.S. marine energy research, and I am honored to have a part in that process.”

Mi is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, working as a research assistant in the Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems under Professor Lei Zuo’s supervision. Jia Mi is also the sole recipient of the 2021 ASME/Virginia Tech Memorial Scholarship, created as an ongoing remembrance of the April 2007 tragedy at Virginia Tech.