Employee Spotlight on Jocelyn Kleiger, Software Engineer

“With the work that I do, it’s a means to an end for something that’s much greater than myself and will constantly be moving in a positive direction.”

“I’m from Long Island, around the North Shore area. My sister and my dad would say that I was a cute kid, and my brother would say that I was headstrong and went against the system. Then kids I actually went to school with thought I was weird. So it really depends on who you ask. 

“I was a total literature and humanities nerd in high school, and I didn’t really get into STEM too much until my junior year. I was part of the literature magazine and the school newspaper, and I did advanced photography in high school. When I was a senior, I took AP Physics and it wasn’t until I took that class that I ended up joining robotics and getting more into engineering. Then I went to a marine engineering college because I grew up near the ocean and really liked offshore wind energy at the time. They were just starting to talk about the Block Island wind project when I was a senior in high school, so that’s kind of why my career went the way that it did.

“Software engineering was actually pretty far down the list of things on my mind. No one ever really thought I’d be an engineer. I was supposed to be a lawyer. I had an aversion to software in general, especially because the only formal coding experience I had was one C++ class when I was an undergrad. It was me and five other kids and they all knew a coding language beforehand, so the class went very fast. It was humbling, to say the least. I’m still in touch with everyone from that class, and I reached out to them when I got the job at REsurety saying ‘Hey, guess who’s a software engineer now?’ 

“I’m a little bit of a hippie. I’m Jewish, and one of the tenets of Judaism is tikkun olam, which means ‘world repairs’, so I wanted that in whatever career I picked. So I decided to go into a career that would address climate change because that’s what had the most effect on the greatest number of people.

“The first work that I did in clean energy was for a wave energy converter firm who was working on making their device cost competitive with the grid in Australia. You can’t depend on politics or goodwill to bring about the clean energy transition, because a) it won’t happen fast enough and b) that’s very easily reversible and subject to human whims. But if you can make it cost competitive, then you’re fair game. So I started doing some research on least cost grid optimization for decarbonization, using primarily Python and data science techniques. I wasn’t really doing much software then but that’s what got me interested in the economic side of it. When I found out about REsurety, I thought that it was a perfect fit for me, and the more I talked to people at REsurety it seemed like a really great culture. I really feel like I’m simultaneously challenged and supported.

“What excites me about the energy industry now is that there’s much less existential dread in it than there used to be. The reason why I went into clean energy instead of climate change research was because I don’t have it in me to constantly read about the climate crisis and have that be my entire life, because that just sounds like an anxiety attack waiting to happen. With the work that I do, it’s a means to an end for something that’s much greater than myself and will constantly be moving in a positive direction.

“I like to read, and I’m in a book club. I cook a decent amount and I’ve been getting a little bit more experimental now that I actually have free time. I was a vegan for a while, and then I was vegetarian. I usually cook a lot of stews, because they’re just very cozy and it’s also very hard to mess them up. When I’m feeling jazzy I’ll make something with a little more effort like baklava or spanakopita.

“I hike and climb when I can. I went climbing yesterday. I’m not good at it, and I like to use the fact that I’m under five feet tall as an excuse for that. I also like to hang out with my dog. Hopefully next year, he’ll be in mountain shape so I won’t have to leave him at home.”

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