Kelley Ruehl, Sandia National Labs Energy Water Systems Engineer, standing next to an ocean wave energy converter.

Making waves to combat climate change

April 20, 2022 8:00 am Published by

Sandia water systems engineer featured on DOE STEM Rising website

Kelley Ruehl, an Energy Water Systems Integration mechanical engineer at Sandia, arrived in her current career by remaining open minded to new opportunities and following her passion for environmental research. Prior to joining Sandia as an intern in 2011, Kelley participated in a crime scene investigation summer camp, studied in a NASA undergraduate research program and interned at Mercedes-Benz after sales during a study abroad program at the University of Stuttgart.

Kelley’s diverse background and experiences highlight her affinity for research and guided her desire to make a positive impact in her local and global community through innovative engineering research. After traveling abroad and experiencing renewable energy firsthand, Kelley pursued graduate studies to combine her love of the outdoors and research into a career in marine renewable energy.

Kelley is currently the lead on Sandia’s Wave Energy Converter Simulator, or WEC-Sim, project, an open-source software used to simulate wave energy converters. Kelley and her peers work to leverage the motion of ocean waves to produce clean energy. Energy generated by wave energy converters can be used for utility-scale power generation, powering desalination plants and a wide-variety of mechanical and electrical power applications.

Kelley attended Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, for her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and Oregon State for her graduate degree in mechanical engineering and ocean engineering.

Read more about Kelley’s career path into renewable energy, her work on WEC-Sim and her advice for anyone pursuing a STEM career and those new to that workforce.

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