David Valdes (he/him/él) is a RAY Clean Energy Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute with the Carbon-Free Electricity program.
David was raised in Houston, TX, by his mother and father, who both immigrated to the United States from Mexico at an early age. His mother, mentors, and EMERGE, a Houston-based college access program, helped to cultivate a desire to combat the inequities that low-income/minority communities often experience.
David graduated from Columbia University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering ('20), focusing on renewable energy and energy storage. He developed his passion for alternative energy and storage through his technical electives and research experience at the Electrochemical Engineering Lab, where he focused on the optimization/characterization of cell storage efficiency in vanadium redox flow batteries and co-authored a publication in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society. During undergrad, David also became the President of Sci-Inspire, a STEM outreach group on his college campus that paired volunteers to teach and mentor students in underserved communities in the New York area. Recently, David completed a STEM Public Policy Fellowship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the office of Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO)- a 9-month fellowship aimed at providing Latinos a public policy experience in Washington, D.C. Here, David developed his understanding of the legislative process intending to actively help the transition to clean energy sources and be equipped to tackle the climate crisis to reduce inequality experienced by undocumented and underserved communities.