Welcome Program Fellow – Ainsley Schwerr

Ainsley Schwerr joined the Grid Catalyst team in October. She is a senior at the University of Minnesota, studying International Relations. Ainsley’s deep interest in sustainability and innovation made her a great candidate for this position. She will be coordinating outreach to Midwestern students to participate in the Department of Energy, Office of Technology Transition – EnergyTech University Prize competition. And helping us expand our Energy Innovation Hub resources to support up and coming innovators and entrepreneurs. Read our Q&A with Ainsley to learn more.


Q&A for Ainsley Schwerr – Grid Catalyst Program Intern

Graduation is on the horizon. Tell us about your studies and the intersection with clean energy. 

My major is International Relations, however, I built my academic program so that I could study what was most interesting or beneficial to me. In practice, I focused on International Sustainability and how we can mitigate the worst effects of climate change. I had several courses where I learned about clean energy in Minnesota and Germany!


What prompted your initial interest in sustainability and climate? 

I have been interested in sustainability since I was in elementary school and learned about Earth Day for the first time. That interest was fostered by my mom who found programs I could participate in to learn more about climate change and sustainability. One of my favorites was when a group of us built a solar panel in fourth grade!


Your previous internship was with GetGreen, a Grid Catalyst cohort startup. Share more about this experience. 

My work with GetGreen is focused on creating actions for the app! I enjoy learning about different areas of sustainability and researching ways people can mitigate waste or GHGs in their daily lives. It’s a great fit, and I love how passionate everyone in the company is about sustainability!


What excites you most about the work with Grid Catalyst? 

I am really excited to work on sustainability in my community! I was born and raised in Minnesota and it is an important part of my story, but I have not spent as much time learning about or applying climate solutions here as I have on a global scale. I look forward to learning about how the Midwest is combating the worst climate change symptoms and being a small part of the larger solution.


What’s on the horizon for your studies and career aspirations?

I plan to stay close to home for a few years, but once I have experience in the sustainability field, I am looking to go abroad to Europe to get a master’s degree in International Corporate Sustainability. I’d like to work in sustainability in an international corporation as they are the ones who are contributing the most to climate change. 


How do you spend your time when you aren’t studying or working? 

I enjoy reading (fantasy, mystery, and linguistics books are my favorite), watching Marvel and DC shows and movies, and I love ballroom dancing whenever I can find the time to go to a social dance!


Welcome to the team, Ainsley!

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Nina Axelson

Grid Catalyst was founded in 2021 by Nina Axelson, an industry leader with nearly 20 years of experience in energy and sustainability. Previously, Nina was the VP of Sustainability for Ever-Green Energy and served on the board of the International District Energy Association.

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