Even though we all share a love for climate justice, EFI employees are so much more than just our work.
Meet Alicia Moulton! Alicia helps manage EFI’s communications team and is passionate about clear and compelling communication on energy issues. Outside of work, she loves to bike, kayak, sing, dance, and eat delicious food.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut and a novelist! When I was 9 years old, I loved astronomy. I read as many books and magazines about it as I could. I loved when I got to see Hale-Bopp Comet streaming through the sky and when I got to see planets and stars through a family friends’ telescope. Mars was my favorite planet, and I had decided I was going to be one of the first astronauts to set foot there. From the books I read, I knew the journey to Mars would take at least 2 years round-trip, so I was mentally preparing myself. I knew it was going to be tough to be away from my family and friends for that long—but I was willing to shoulder that burden for scientific discovery.
I also loved writing stories. As a 5-year-old, I wrote and illustrated several Caldecott-winning picture books! (I fashioned the medal out of tin foil all by myself.) And as I got older, I wrote longer stories and wanted to become a published author of historical fiction and fantasy novels.
My ambition for space travel has since faded away (though I still love star-gazing), and it’s no longer my goal to publish fiction, but I did become a writer and an editor!
What was your most rewarding experience prior to working at EFI?
As a 20-year-old college student, I chose to spend a semester abroad interning/volunteering at a special needs orphanage and children’s hospital in Iași (y-ah-sh), Romania. I had felt so grateful for my life and wanted to find a way to give back. That experience changed my life. I had lived in several different states across the country growing up, but this was my first time living in a different country. I put effort into becoming basic-conversational in the language, which opened up doors to me. I got to meet many people who experienced poverty and other challenges—ones that I generally knew existed in the world but that I hadn’t had such close experience with until then. My experiences in Romania with children who had didn’t have families deepened my appreciation for my own family. Ironically, in going abroad, I felt drawn closer to home, and I came back feeling a greater capacity to work through family challenges. In spending so much time focused on service, I developed a greater ability to discern opportunities to help out in my own community—ones that had been there before but that I hadn’t noticed. My experiences in Romania stretched me, showed me what I was made of, and boosted my personal learning and growth in so many ways.
I felt a deep connection with Romania and have kept in touch with many of the friends I made there. Three years after my semester there as a college student, I got to go back to Romania for a year and half and share my faith as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That was also an impactful experience for me, and during that time, I returned to Iași, lived in several other cities across the country and also became functionally fluent in Romanian. I went back to Romania to visit friends for three weeks in 2018, and I plan to go visit again at some point!
What’s the best thing about working at EFI?
…is EFI’s data-driven and pragmatic approach to the energy transition. I have long been passionate about data-driven work. So much of our politics is intensely partisan—and while values do, of course, have a place in politics—a partisan position divorced from contextual details often leads to a false course. Knowing which decision is the wisest can depend so much on knowing the specifics of that particular situation. Nowhere is this more true than the energy field, where we must be grounded in the technological and economic realities of oil, natural gas, renewables, nuclear power, etc., to determine how to decarbonize our economy as quickly and intelligently as possible.
EFI’s work aligns well with areas of work that I see as most important for the energy sector, which was important to me as I considered my next career step. I worked as a communications contractor at the U.S. Department of Energy for the majority of EFI CEO Ernest Moniz’s tenure as Energy Secretary. I really respected his work and leadership there. I heard the news when he started EFI in 2017. Whenever I heard Moniz speak in the years following, so much of what he said seemed spot-on to me. He seemed unafraid to say what the data showed, regardless of whether it fit with anyone’s political talking points.
I heard Moniz and also Melanie Kenderdine talk about the importance of not just day-to-day but weeks-long energy storage to account for inconsistencies in wind and solar generation (referencing EFI data), at a time when this kind of data seemed like a game-changer, but I didn’t hear anyone else talking about it.
I’m glad to work at an organization with leadership who I respect and who I think are taking the right approach to the energy transition.
What gives you hope for the future?
I often feel tremendously hopeful when I meet and interact with so many good people from many different places and backgrounds and when I see the passion that people have (and that I share!) for working to make the world a better place.
But there are times when that hope gets crushed—when I see the atrocities in the world that good people are unable to prevent or stop. Or other times, I feel so hopeful that we can solve our societies’ problems (how could we not we when I know there are so many smart, good people?). But then I see how cultural divides and a combination of things pit good people against each other and keep us from seeing eye to eye or working together productively.
Honestly, it’s my faith in Jesus Christ that gives me the most enduring hope for the future—for my personal life and for the world collectively. When those other hopes fail (and for me, they have), what makes me hopeful is my personal experience with a power beyond all of us that can bring about healing and bring about lasting good things, both after the good we manage to do and after our attempts to accomplish good things fail.
I believe deeply in working as hard as we can to fix our societies’ problems now—today matters—but I find more hope in my belief that regardless of how much we do or don’t succeed in improving the here and now, that I can hope for a future that is more than just this world.
What is one thing on your bucket list (professional or otherwise)?
Someday, I’m going to take a trip to see Istanbul, Turkey! I love cultural fusions, and Istanbul’s East-West intersection has always intrigued me. Plus, I think Muslim mosques and old Christian cathedrals are both so beautiful.
What is your favorite song at the moment?
Can’t choose. A few: “When He Sees Me” by Sara Bareilles (hilarious and fun to sing to), “The Nights” by Avicii (R.I.P.), “Tonight” from West Side Story 2021; and one of my favorite songs to sing along to since forever: “The Prayer” duet version by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church.
(Share this post with others.)