Ashley Massengill of New Tazewell is the first student in Walters State’s Clean Energy Technology Program to become LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. As a Green Associate, she can work with businesses, industry and builders to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation toward sustainable design.
Masengill is majoring in all three areas of Walters State’s Clean Energy Technology Program: Transportation, building and electricity.
“I’m hoping to go into the building field,” she said. “I would like to work with a construction firm or an architectural firm. I hope to finish my four-year degree in biology at Lincoln Memorial University.”
Walters State is one of only a few community colleges in the country offering a Clean Energy Technology program. The applied science degree program was developed in 2011 with feedback from area businesses, industries and utility companies. Along with LEED core concepts, classes include smart grid technologies, solar energy and wind turbine technologies, geothermal heating and biomass technology.
Ken Parks, director of the program, said program graduates will have clean energy efficiency and waste-reduction skills that are particularly important to industries. He said the training also is useful in related fields such as heating and air, construction and manufacturing.
“A LEED Green Associate demonstrates the most current and up-to-date practices under green building,” Masengill said. “We demonstrate that you can build a sustainable home that is both beneficial to the environment as well as people, and it has long-term economical benefits.”
Before Masengill graduated from Claiborne County High School in May, she had completed 12 credit hours at Walters State through Dual Enrollment.
“When I saw the Clean Energy major on the Walters State website, I thought that seemed like the way to go,” she said. “When I started talking to Ken, that lit a fire under me that was not going to go out.”
Masengill said she wants to work in East Tennessee and hopefully inspire others to pursue careers in the clean energy field.
LEED certification was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council and administered by the Green Building Certification Institution.