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3 Hispanic Leaders in Renewable Energy

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we're highlighting professionals making history in renewable energy. These individuals have made an incredible impact in the areas of atmospheric chemistry and domestic policy.

Mario J. Molina
Mario J. Molina
Atmospheric Chemist

Born in Mexico City, Mario Molina was always intrigued by science and eventually achieved his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. After completing his graduate studies, Molina stayed at UC Berkeley another year to continue his research on chemical dynamics, which led to an opportunity to explore atmospheric chemistry with Professor Sherwood (Sherry) Rowland in Irvine, California.

After just three months of working together, Molina and Rowland had developed the “CFC-ozone depletion theory,” a product of their research on the effects of chlorofluorocarbons on the ozone layer. (Chlorofluorocarbons are used in aerosol sprays, packing materials, solvents and refrigerants.) Because of his findings, Molina is considered the prominent precursor to the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole.

Molina was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995. His current work includes research around rapidly growing cities with serious air pollution problems, like his hometown of Mexico City, and investigating chemical properties of atmospheric particles.


Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz
Director of Domestic Policy Council

As the assistant to President Barack Obama and director of the domestic policy council (DPC), Cecilia Muñoz oversees council activities, including coordination of the domestic policy-making process in the White House, ensuring that domestic policy decisions and programs are consistent with the President's stated goals and monitoring implementation of the President's domestic policy agenda.

Muñoz' parents are Bolivian immigrants that settled in Detroit, Michigan, shortly before she was born. She earned undergraduate degrees in English and Latin American studies from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and a master's degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California at Berkeley.

Muñoz has been involved in overseeing coordination of the DPC's Climate Action Plan, the White House's global efforts to address the threat of climate change, and the recent announcement of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, which sets the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants.


Dr. Dan Arvizu
Dr. Dan Arvizu
Laboratory Director at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dr. Dan Arvizu, Mexican-American, earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from New Mexico State University and his master's degree and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. Two successive U.S. presidents appointed Dr. Arvizu to serve six-year terms on the National Science Board, an organization that governs the National Science Foundation and advises President Obama and Congress on science policy.

Dr. Arvizu is a leading expert on renewable energy and sustainable energy and serves on a number of boards, including the American Council on Renewable Energy Advisory Board, the Singapore International Advisory Panel on Energy, the Colorado Renewable Energy Authority Board of Directors and the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy Advisory Council.

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