Anna Douglas headshotFor International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the Tennessee Advanced Energy is celebrating the achievements of women in the advanced energy field. Today, we sat down with Anna Douglas, Co-Founder and CEO of SkyNano, to discuss women who have inspired her in her career and advice for others in the advanced energy space.

What brought you into the advanced energy field?

I first got into the advanced energy field due to my interest in nanomaterials and nanotechnology, and realizing that materials with features on such a small scale stand to have significant impact in energy-related applications.  I was first inspired by nanotechnology during my time as an intern at NASA Glenn Research center, where I worked on materials that today insulate the battery packs on some of our Mars rovers.

Is there a woman who has inspired you to pursue a career in the advanced energy space? Or an impactful mentor in this space?

When I first joined my research group in graduate school, Dr. Rachel Carter was a year ahead of me in the group and really took me under her wing to mentor me into the scientist I am today.  I absolutely wouldn’t have made it through graduate school without her, and certainly wouldn’t have the fulfilling career I have today without her.  She’s currently a leading research scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory, working to make batteries safer for defense and commercial applications, and learning from her has been one of the most precious privileges of my career.

What advice do you have for other women in the advanced energy field? 

I would definitely encourage other women in this space to know your worth and be confident in your knowledge base and skillset. Many male-dominated fields, including the energy industry, can feel intimidating to early career women, but we have an exciting perspective that is extremely valuable on teams. I know the SkyNano team operates so well together today because we have significant participation of women, and we are all stronger when our diverse teams build upon each other to leverage all our collective knowledge bases and skill sets.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

To me, International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate not just all that women have accomplished, often with the cards stacked against us, but who we are to the core of our human beings. The women in my community are among the fiercest, most competent, hardest working group of impact drivers, and International Women’s Day should be a time to reflect on how much our society gains from the involvement of women in the workplace, in our homes, and in our communities.

SkyNano is a TAEBC member and Energy Mentor Network graduate. Learn more about the startup here. Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about our members, advanced energy news and upcoming events. Also, if you’re not already a member, become a member today!