Nayara Aguiar


My name is Nayara Aguiar. I'm from Brazil. I go to the University of Notre Dame where I am a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering.

What sustainability, energy, and community issues are important to you?

I am interested in matters related to electricity access. Reliable on-demand electricity supply is a fundamental requirement for ensuring public health, safety and welfare, as well as for developing a nation's economy and standard of living. The same reasoning goes for clean water access, which is also tightly connected to food safety. Yet, these resources are still largely unavailable for many people, and I believe improving this situation is necessary for more communities to thrive.

What exciting projects/research are you working on now?

My PhD research combines tools from engineering and economics with the goal of proposing solutions to increase renewable integration in the grid in an economically sustainable way, while maintaining reliable electricity supply. The most exciting thing about my project is that is has enabled me to work with experts in engineering, economics and finance, which has been a unique experience for me.

What are your plans for the next five years?

I plan to graduate within the next two years. Until then, I am planning to explore and to learn more about different career paths, so that I can make a thoughtful decision about what to do next. After that, I hope that I can still work on activities related to sustainability and energy, either as a full-time job or as a side work.

What made you want to apply to SISE?

This year’s focus on implementation really caught my attention. Through my studies, I learned the importance of merging different disciplines to tackle the challenges we face to build a more sustainable future. However, my work is mostly theoretical and I was searching for an opportunity to leave my office desk and apply what I have learned in a real-world problem. Attending SISE will help me bridge the gap between my research’s theoretical nature and a hands-on experience in sustainability and energy, while allowing me to interact with people from diverse backgrounds, and to learn from experts in science, industry, and other areas.

What are you most looking forward to doing in Chicago?

I live very close to Chicago and have been there a few times. The experience of visiting the Windy City is different each time, though, so I am looking forward to exploring more of it along with my fellow SISE’ers. Needless to say, getting some deep dish pizza is on the top of my to-do list.

Do you like Cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?

I do! I just don’t know how to deal with all the shedding, though…