Amit Shukla is a ‘clean tech’ entrepreneur who, after 15 years in the sustainability & renewable energy industry, decided he wanted to share his knowledge through teaching.
Last year Amit came across a recruitment advert for instructors to teach a new Carrington College California online degree program, Renewable Energy. Amit thought this part-time position would be a perfect fit for him and his ongoing business interests; he joined our faculty as an adjunct professor in March 2012.
Married with an ‘angelic’ 5 year old daughter, Amit and his family live in Minneapolis, MN. Amit moved to the United States in the early 1980s; his family immigrated from India when he was 10. He grew up in California, where he earned his first degree and started his career, before moving to Minnesota 15 years ago.
“After High School I went to college in California and got a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. I worked for the LA County Sanitation District for a couple of years, using my biochemistry skills in waste water treatment plants. But I wanted to build plants and factories, so I moved to Minnesota to further my education and pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
After graduating with my ChemEng degree I wanted a career where I could use all my skills. Renewable energy was a natural fit for me because bio-fuels, a combination of biochemistry and chemical engineering, were just emerging. So that’s how I entered the industry. At the time, everyone was doing the ‘dot com’ thing as that’s where the money was, so I like to think of myself as one of the pioneers in this field.”
After a decade and a half in the business, and having added an MBA to his two bachelor’s degrees, Amit felt that he was suitably qualified to pass some of his knowledge and skills onto those coming into the renewable energy field.
“Maybe a year ago, perhaps longer, I saw an ad for renewable energy instructors so I submitted my resume. It’s a new program in an exciting field, and I wanted to teach what I had learned. Although I haven’t taught formally before, I do have a lot of experience in mentoring and training; as an example I’m a mentor for the Clean Tech Open, an organization that helps entrepreneurs find the resources needed to launch successful clean tech companies.
I thought this would be a natural fit for me. And although I’ve only been doing it for six or seven months, I’ve discovered I do love teaching. I have students from all around the country with different perspectives. An online education fits around their schedule, and the same goes for me. I’ve founded and manage a couple of clean tech companies that, combined with my teaching, keep me very busy.”
Renewable Energy is a relatively new Carrington College California online program; it’s only been available for about a year and classes are growing. Amit firmly believes that growth trend will continue. As the human race tries to find ways to overcome both a shortage of natural resources and an increase in environmental challenges and changes, the focus on this industry will become sharper.
“We have high hopes that this program will continue to flourish over the coming years as the support for renewable energy increases. I really see the industry growing in the next 10, 20, 30 years – it’s not going to stop.”
Although Amit hasn’t been teaching for long, he has experienced quite a few of what we like to call ‘aha’ moments. Those instances when you realize that the job you’re doing is what you were destined to do.
“I’ve had several of those moments actually. My students have often mentioned that they really love the class, that they ‘get it’, and that they appreciate all the knowledge and time that I put in for them. Positive feedback is always rewarding, it makes me feel good; it’s a nice feeling…but you have to keep your feet on the ground so you can continue to relate to your students.”
To close our interview we asked Amit to share something that his students may not know about him…
“They may not know that I was born in India! My family moved to California when I was 10. What else…? I worked in a souvenir store at Disneyland for a summer after High School, I guess my students wouldn’t know that about me!”
As we do with all our Faculty Spotlights we ended our conversation by asking Amit what book, movie and music he would want with him if he was stuck on a desert island, and who he would choose as a companion?
Desert Island DVD – “There are several movies, but the one that comes to mind right now is ‘Silence of the Lambs’ with Anthony Hopkins.”
Desert Island Book - “I don’t really read many books. I’m so busy that I don’t have the time or patience! I surf the internet a lot, that’s how I get my information. But I guess it would probably be a leadership or management book.”
Desert Island Music – “This is going to date me a little with my students, but probably REM and some other alternative music from the late 80s early 90s. Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam…”
Desert Island Companion – “It would definitely be my family; my wife and my daughter.”
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Amit! We appreciate your time and your ongoing commitment to our online students!
For comprehensive consumer information on our Renewable Energy program, visit carrington.edu/online/renewable-energy-degree