Garr Cutler Energy Prize


Meaghan McKasy

Meaghan McKasy

Meaghan McKasy – Communication

Manuscript: Media Coverage and Public Opinion of Energy Efficiency

A native to the Pacific Northwest, Meaghan moved out east to attend Boston College and earned a BA in Communication, with a minor in Environmental Studies. After four years in Boston, the west called her name, so she moved to Salt Lake City to attend the Environmental Humanities Graduate Program at the University of Utah. Following the completion of a Masters degree, Meaghan spent four years working in alternative energy in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors.

Through her work in renewable energy, Ms. McKasy started to notice the array in social perceptions of alternative energy. She is interested in how people respond to certain language, messaging and framing of ideas with regards to energy production and usage. More so, what is it that influences society’s perceptions and values, and from that how do we create cultural change with regards to our energy selection? Meaghan will continue to explore these questions while working towards a PhD in Communication at the University of Utah.


Peng Wang – Electrical & Computing Engineering

Photo of Peng Wang

Peng Wang

Peng Wang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He received his bachelor’s degree in optical engineering from the Zhejiang University, China, in 2011. His current research is focused on modeling, fabrication and characterization of diffractive micro-optics and nano-optics and their applications in photovoltaics, spectroscopy, imaging, lithography and communication. His paper “A new class of multi-bandgap high-efficiency photovoltaics enabled by broadband diffractive optics” was recently published in the journal of Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications. This journal is ranked as one of the world top journals in energy research. This article demonstrates a new planar multi-bandgap photovoltaics architecture by exploiting an inexpensive diffractive optical element as spectrum splitter/concentrator. The proposed method is promising in improving the power-conversion efficiency of solar cells to over 50%.



Chengshang Zhou – Metallurgical Engineering

C Zhou

Chengshang Zhou

Chengshang Zhou from the Department of Metallurgical Engineering is this year’s recipient of the Garr Cutler Energy Prize. The certificate and $1500 cash prize is awarded to a University of Utah graduate student who has published a paper that makes a significant contribution in an area of energy. Zhou’s paper, Thermodynamic and Kinetic Destabilization of Magnesium Hydride by Using Mg-In Solid Solution Alloys,” addresses problems related to hydrogen storage. The paper was published in the Journal of the American Chemistry Society, one of the world’s preeminent chemistry journals.


Ashish Bhatia – Materials Science & Engineering


David B. Hatch – College of Law
“BLM, Stop Dithering Over Federal Oil and Gas Leases: Why the Leases Must be Issued Within 60 Days”