The Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Initiative

The U.S. C3E Awards recognize mid-career women who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and accomplishments in clean energy.

C3E Ambassadors select the winners, and these remarkable Awardees are recognized for their work at the C3E Symposium each year.

For additional information, view the Nominations FAQs.



Nomination submissions for the 2020 U.S. C3E Awards close on March 11, 2020.


Nominations may be submitted by employers, universities, professional societies, membership organizations, associations, community groups, individuals, or other sponsors. Nominators should know the accomplishments and capabilities of their nominee first-hand.  Self-nomination is not allowed. Nominators of the award winners are invited to the annual C3E Symposium.


Nominees should have a record of significant accomplishment; leadership qualities and other relevant attributes; and mentorship of women and girls, as well as be in good standing in their field and communities. In addition, nominees will:

  • Be outstanding mid-career professionals with a minimum of five years of experience in clean energy. Nominees typically have 10-15 years of professional experience (excluding time spent in degree programs), but that is not a hard-and-fast rule.

  • Use their talents to advance clean energy sources, technologies, practices, and policies, such as via efforts to increase clean sources of energy or reduce energy use, energy-related environmental impacts, or energy system costs.

  • Have made a compelling impact in their fields—working within a company, team, university, government agency, non-government organization, professional community, or as an individual.

  • Have accomplishments sufficient to merit national recognition.

  • Be emerging leaders with a demonstrated, strong commitment to advancing clean energy in their areas of work/expertise/experience.

  • Be inclusive leaders who have helped to mentor women and develop future leaders in their professions, avocations, or communities.

  • Be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.


  • Federal, state, and local government employees are eligible, including employees of the U.S. Department of Energy and its National Laboratories.

  • Women with executive-level experience in clean energy may be considered for inclusion on a future C3E Ambassador candidates list. Please provide contact information for potential Ambassadors to

  • If it is not clear whether someone is mid-career or executive level, please contact us to discuss, and we will make the determination.


Nominators will need to obtain the following information from their nominee:

  • Contact information for the nominee.

  • Contact information for 2 references (in addition to you) who can verify the information provided and have agreed to be contacted, if needed.

  • Total number of years of experience working in clean energy (which may be less than their total number of years of experience).

  • A resume for the nominee (including dates for the nominee’s education and employment) in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format. For educational background, include the title and year of any degree(s) (if applicable) and/or relevant specialized training. The resume must be current and clearly demonstrate how the nominee has met the specialized experience and accomplishments described in their nomination. Please limit resumes to two pages.

To submit a nomination, nominators will also need to:

  • Certify that the nominee has agreed to be nominated and can be contacted.

  • Certify that the nominee is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.

  • Certify that they know the nominee’s accomplishments and capabilities first-hand.

  • Select one of eight award categories. See the category list below. If you are not sure which category your nominee is best suited for, contact us to discuss.

  • Describe why you believe the nominee is mid-career and how winning this award would help the nominee in her career. Mid-career is generally defined as an individual with expertise beyond entry level, but with significant opportunities to grow before the end of one’s career.

  • The C3E Awards are intended to contribute to advancing the careers of awardees into more senior leadership and executive-level positions. Preference for this award will be given to candidates whose career could benefit from receiving this award.

  • Describe the nominee’s accomplishments (300 words or less) and leadership qualities (300 words or less); provide additional background information that would be useful during the nomination reviews (300 words or less).

  • Tailor the nomination to the category selected (one category per nominee only), and answer the questions in the nomination guidance template.


After a nomination is submitted, nominees will be emailed and asked to submit the following information no later than one week after the close of nominations:

  • An essay that describes (in 200 words or less) how the $8,000 award might be used to advance women in clean energy. For example, a nominee may invest in her own work (if applicable), support a nonprofit focused on gender and/or energy issues, contribute ideas for building the C3E network, or start something new. Nominees will be asked to indicate if there is a chance the funds cannot be accepted; for instance, due to company policy.

  • The city and state where the nominee is currently based. In situations where a nominee maintains a headquarters or home office location but spends a majority of their time working in other locations (e.g. work conducted abroad), please include both locations.


The U.S. C3E Awards for outstanding leadership and extraordinary achievement are given in the eight categories described below. The Awards are intended to spotlight mid-career women who have professional experience working in clean energy. Please read the descriptions of all the categories and select the one that best describes the nominee’s work area. The nomination should be tailored to the category selected, and only one nomination in one category should be provided.

  • Advocacy: This award recognizes clean energy advocates, for example through nongovernmental organizations, who have driven greater uptake of clean energy policies and technologies in society. (Political advocacy groups excluded.)

  • Business: This award recognizes leaders within private entities of any size, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations. Strong candidates will have accelerated or expanded the adoption of clean energy within their own business footprints or portfolios.

  • Education: This award recognizes teachers/instructors (including those who teach STEM subjects) or women from education-focused organizations who have helped to increase clean energy literacy. This includes teaching at the K‐12, technical or vocational school, undergraduate, or graduate levels.

  • Entrepreneurship: This award recognizes entrepreneurs who have developed and demonstrated innovative clean energy technologies or business models that have the potential to drive market transformation toward clean energy.

  • Government: This award recognizes local, state, or federal government employees (e.g., civil servants, regulators, or elected officials) who have advanced policies, regulations, or incentives to support the development, deployment, and diffusion of clean energy.

  • International: This award recognizes individuals who have developed and/or deployed clean energy products and services that increase access, promote efficiency, and expand clean energy around the world.

  • Law & Finance: This category recognizes lawyers, finance professionals, or academics at professional schools who have enabled or advanced the development and deployment of innovative clean energy financing solutions or enabling regulatory structures.

  • Research: This award recognizes scientists and researchers working at universities, national labs, or in industry who:

    • are developing advanced innovative clean energy technologies with the potential for demonstrable and scalable impact; and/or

    • are analyzing how technologies, economics, public policy, and human decision-making interact to affect the adoption of clean energy systems.


This article was originally published on the C3E website and can be accessed here.