Daniel  Kasper

Biography

I grew up in a very small town in Central Pennsylvania (Milesburg). I enrolled at Penn State with the intention of becoming an engineer, but after trying out a few majors ended up deciding on Earth Science because it interested me the most. I've always been, and continue to be, fascinated by natural processes, from the tiniest processes such as soil formation to the large, dramatic processes such as mountain building. After earning my BS, I spun my wheels for a few years bartending and working at the Center for Environmental Informatics at Penn State. I focused mostly on basic Geographic Information Systems (GIS) work at the latter job. I continued to use GIS throughout my academic career. After a few years, my wife and I moved to Denver, Colorado, where I earned my MA in Geography from the University of Denver. My wife and I think very fondly of our time in Denver because we absolutely love the scenery, the people, and the active lifestyle there. And we really miss the music scene as well! I am now enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Delaware's Center for Energy and Environmental Policy (CEEP). In my time at CEEP I have engaged in a number of research projects, including analyzing a sustainable energy future for South Korea, a policy report on promoting personal food production in Delaware, and designing an energy education workshop series focusing on helping low and fixed income individuals take control of their energy use, among other topics. I worked as a curriculum designer and project manager for a weatherization training center in Philadelphia (focusing on low-income clients), and continue to consult in the solar PV and energy management fields. I currently teach full time in the Energy Technologies Department at Delaware Technical Community College in Newark, Delaware. We offer degrees in Energy Management and Renewable Energy Solar, and I teach courses for both degrees. I love to travel and am the International Education Coordinator for my campus at Delaware Tech. I took students to Denmark a few years ago for a renewable energy course and took students to Switzerland in 2015, 2016, and 2017. This year, I will take students to Italy for a sustainability course. I have taken a few Penn State students with me on these experiences, as the associated course transfers to Penn State and may satisfy your foreign studies requirement (it definitely does for ESP majors!). If that is something you are interested in, please let me know. I have been to Europe a number of times, and have traveled to various parts of the U.S. as well. You learn a lot about yourself when you are taken out of your comfort zone, and no better way to do that than in a new (and hopefully interesting) place! My academic, professional, and personal focus has for a long time been on figuring out ways to live more sustainably and helping others to do the same while doing what I can to advocate for and establish socially just and ecologically responsible ways of living. That, and I really like to garden. I have helped establish multiple community gardens, and am a firm believer in harvesting the grassroots power of communities (sorry for the double pun). Over the years I have realized that getting something done is mostly a two-step process: 1) Find like-minded people who also want to get it done. 2) Do it! There are of course a lot of devils in the details, and you don't always end up getting what you desired, but the journey is always worth it!

Course Spotlight

From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming (METEO 469) - learn about the fundamentals of climate change and its impact on societal, environmental, and economic policies. Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Richard Alley

Dr. Richard Alley has been with us since the beginning, with one of our first OPEN courses - Geology of the National Parks. See what he has to say about the OPEN.ED effort over ten years later.