Our Team

We’re a small office on a big mission. At ASES, it’s all about the people who make it happen. Whether publishing Solar Today and Solar@Work or producing the National Solar Tour or National Solar Conference, these talented individuals cover the solar and renewable energy scene from coast to coast. Meet the ZEN intern team!

  • Carly Rixham

  • Executive Director

Carly Rixham

Carly Rixham is the Executive Director for American Solar Energy Society (ASES). She is the Editor, Publisher, and Art Director for Solar Today magazine. She received her Masters in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Colorado at Boulder where she researched microalgae for the production of biofuel. While studying in Boulder, Rixham served as Director of Arts and Sciences at CU Energy. Rixham also was a microbiologist at BioVantage Resources, culturing algae for bio-remediation of nutrients in wastewater. Prior to her renewable energy career, She taught Biology and Ecology at the university and high school levels, and worked in software development at Intuit. Rixham captained the University of Denver Pioneers Lacrosse team and coached for the University of Colorado (Go Buffs) Lacrosse Team. She enjoys travel, art, mountain sports, and nature.

  • Carly Cipolla

  • Director of Operations

Carly Cipolla

Carly Cipolla is the Director of Operations for the American Solar Energy Society. She is a 2017 graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Environmental Studies and minor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science featuring a background in sustainability, renewable energy, and environmental justice. Prior to her joining the ASES team, Carly worked at the University of Colorado’s Environmental Center to further sustainability on campus as a Student Outreach Specialist. Since joining ASES as an intern in 2016, Carly has flourished into her current leadership position focusing on planning the annual National Solar Conference, managing staff, volunteers and interns, as well as focusing on general operations for the organization. She has planned the last three conferences and successfully developed and implemented ASES’ first ever virtual conference, SOLAR 20/20: Renewable Energy Vision. The conference featured an animated lobby, virtual auditorium, networking lounge, info center and had over 300 attendees, 10 exhibitors, and 17 sessions featuring over 100 speakers. Realizing the success and potential of the virtual event, she plans to add an online component to every ASES conference in the future to allow attendees to gather from all over the world. Carly is focused on expanding the reach of ASES and their programs, and started the ASES Webinar Series in 2019. She has most recently  implemented the Online Community for ASES membership to gather, share information, share resources and more. She is looking forward to continued growth and success with ASES.

  • Sarah Townes

  • Chief Financial Officer and ZEN Director

sarah townes

Sarah Townes has worked in music and finance in Boulder, CO since 1998, and was delighted to join the ASES team in 2016 to promote solar energy and sustainability in our beautiful world. Sarah enjoys working with the dynamic staff, and managing the finances for such a positive organization brings great job satisfaction. ASES’s large membership base and non-profit status  require full accountability and transparency in all its dealings financial and social, and it brings her pleasure to work in non-profit accounting in such a high integrity organization. Outside of ASES Sarah enjoys singing, teaching singing and performing, and her latest album is available for sale on iTunes. Favorite recreation includes hiking, relaxing by the fire at the St. Julien, and having fun with her family, both immediate and extended. She finds inspiration daily in her young son and his friends.

  • Narelle Kipple

  • Membership & Programs Coordinator

Narelle Kipple works with Membership and Programs for the American Solar Energy Society. She graduated from the University of Colorado in May 2019 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and minor in Engineering Management. Narelle studied abroad with Semester at Sea and while traveling saw the awful amount of trash and smog that pollutes our planet forming her passion for sustainability. She has canvassed for Environment Colorado for a statewide ban on polystyrene and was a Project Manager for an energy and air quality study of homes as they transition off fossil fuels.  Since joining ASES as the membership assistant in 2019, Narelle quickly gained more responsibility in managing the membership database and involvement in the Tiny Watts and National Solar Tour Programs. Narelle is actively working on this year’s National Solar Tour and its transition to a weeklong virtual event. She is also focused on updating the calculations and registry for the Tiny Watts Program with plans to increase involvement. Narelle’s hobbies include skiing, hiking with her pup, mountain biking, gardening, and learning about new sustainable alternatives and products. Narelle truly believes in the work of ASES and is excited and proud to be a part of ASES and the renewable energy movement.

  • Sunshine Urbaniak

  • Creative Director/Webmaster

sunshine urbaniak

Sunshine joined ASES in 2017 and serves as Creative Director and Webmaster, ensuring brand guidelines are consistent across all marketing collateral, including Solar Today magazine and ases.org. With more than 22 years in graphic design communication, she has given a unique voice to numerous businesses through her passionate, creative design services including brand identity, print, web and interactive.

  • Jane Pulaski

  • Editor-in-Chief of Solar Today Magazine

Jane Pulaski

Jane Pulaski, recovering English major from the University of Texas at Austin, is editor-in-chief of Solar Today magazine. Before joining the ASES family, she was the clean energy communications specialist at The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) where for more than two decades she had the great good fortune to work alongside some of the most progressive thinkers in the clean energy space. Beginning in 2020, she signed on to help the Texas ASES chapter, the Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES) with communications and marketing and remains its director of communications. Having read Solar Today for decades, Jane is committed to safeguarding the magazine’s time-honored reputation as an avid steward of networked knowledge, intellectual diversity and deep research traditions intent on boldly influencing the future. Trained as a baker, Jane takes refuge in her Austin kitchen for therapy. 

  • Phil Arndt

  • Business Development

Phil has over three decades in media sales, marketing and management. He has extensive experience with non-profit and renewable energy print and digital properties, including Green Manufacturer magazine, the Sustainability Manufacturing Network, Environmental Leader, Renewable publications in Brazil, India, China and Russia, Water Technology magazine, and Water Tech World.

Phil has a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from University of Southern California. He is an active supporter of PetSmart charities, UNICEF, Freedom Guide Dogs, and Workshops for Warriors. Phil is pictured here with his son and daughter.

  • Remi Akinwonmi

  • Programs Associate Intern

Remi is a Programs Associate Intern at the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). He graduated from the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) in Nigeria with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and has focused on renewable energy engineering, especially solar energy. As an undergraduate, Remi designed, installed and carried out performance evaluations on a photovoltaic water pumping system in FUNAAB community, as a way of advocating for the solar agenda in Nigerian communities where access to grid electricity is limited. At ASES, he hopes to better understand the solar energy industry and to help the society in the transition to renewable energy and sustainable living future. Remi was born and raised in Nigeria, in his free time, he enjoys reading classic literature and listening to music.

  • Ella Nielsen

  • Online Community & Membership Intern

Ella Nielsen is the Online Community and Membership intern and currently works as a Fiber Engineer at Zayo Group in Boulder, CO. Solar Energy sparked her interest when she interned at a local solar energy nonprofit in Tanzania when she was in college. During her internship, she completed a report on the impact of rural electrification and its effects on women in East Africa. After studying abroad, she did a summer internship at the US Department of Energy under their Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, focussing on rural energy in the United States. In her free time, she enjoys climbing, skiing, and hiking around the Rocky Mountains. Ella is really excited to understand the solar energy industry more and learn about the inner workings of a nonprofit organization.
  • Marjorie Tabora

  • Social Media Intern

Marjorie Tabora is a Social Media Intern at the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). She will be an incoming senior at the University of Colorado Boulder, pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies with minors in Business and Electrical Engineering. Marjorie would love to explore a career in the renewable energy industry. She is from Denver, Colorado, runs a small business from her house, and loves her dog named Piper! Marjorie is excited to learn from ASES and apply her knowledge to the world, hoping to move toward a world of clean energy!
  • Virginia Weiskopf

  • Fundraising and Grants Intern

Virginia Weiskopf is the Fundraising and Grants Research Intern for American Solar Energy Society (ASES). Virginia is an upcoming junior at the University of Colorado Boulder and is majoring in Environmental Studies, as well as minoring in Political Science and Atmosphere and Ocean Science. Virginia grew up in Telluride, CO which sparked her passion for the environment and love of the outdoors. Virginia loves to ski in the winter and be by the water during the rest of the year. Her career interests involve environmental law, as she is currently the upcoming Social Chair of CU’s pre-law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta. She also is interested in environmental field work, such as alpine and arctic research, that’ll allow her to travel and meet new people. Virginia is excited to be part of the ASES team and looks forward to spreading advocacy for renewable energy.
  • Benjamin Guthrie

  • Conference Intern

Benjamin Guthrie is a Programs Associate Intern at the American Solar Energy Society. He is currently a Junior studying Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Benjamin is interested in pursuing a career in the solar industry. He was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and enjoys surfing, spearfishing, and swimming. Being raised in Hawaii has given him a passion for caring about the environment and moving to a carbon neutral world. He hopes to gain experience and make lasting connections in the renewable energy industry through ASES.

  • Anna Bybee

  • Conference and Tour Intern

Anna Bybee is a Programs Associate Intern working on the National Solar Conference and Tour at the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). She is graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado Boulder. Anna is a Colorado Native and has a deep respect for the surrounding environment. She found her passion for environmental justice during undergrad, and hopes her career can emphasize the importance of ensuring a safe and sustainable environment for everyone. During her free time she enjoys playing soccer, painting, and camping! Anna is excited to gain experience and advocate for a renewable energy future on the ASES team. 

  • Ahalya Sabaratnam

  • Membership and Programs Intern

Ahalya Sabaratnam is a freshman at University of California, Los Angeles majoring in Environmental Science with a possible minor in Environmental Engineering. She is originally from Oakland, California, and found her interest in sustainability through student activism. In her free time she loves to go dog walking, go on hikes and make collages. She’s excited to discover more about renewable energy and what more she can do to implement more sustainability initiatives.

  • Gabe Semenza

  • National Solar Tour Intern

Gabe is a Programs Associate Intern working on the National Solar Tour at ASES. He is a current senior at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he is completing his degree in Environmental Studies. After two years of studying mechanical engineering, Gabe found his true passion in providing sustainable opportunities for all demographics and hopes to bring environmental justice to his hometown of Baltimore, MD. He values his time in nature and during Colorado’s snowy weekends, enjoys taking trips up to the mountains to ski with friends.  

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