Prince George’s County woman, Rhonda Jordan Antoine, won the U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E Initiative) International Award. (Courtesy Photo)

By Briana Thomas
Special to the AFRO

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a Prince George’s County woman with one of nine national clean energy awards for leadership and accomplishments in the field of energy and development on Nov. 3 at the Tenth Annual U.S. C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium.

Rhonda Jordan Antoine, local resident and senior energy specialist at the World Bank, was honored at this year’s virtual ceremony with the U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E Initiative) International Award.

The U.S. C3E Initiative strives to close the gender gap and expand the leadership, participation, and overall success of women in clean energy fields.

“I’m proud to honor the winners of this year’s C3E awards who are an exemplary group of innovators and trailblazers working to achieve the cleaner, greener future of our dreams. Collaborative initiatives, like C3E, that advance women’s leadership in clean energy are critical to building the workforce of tomorrow and increase our solutions to reaching net-zero by 2050,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a news release on Oct. 25.

Jordan Antoine works on energy investment advisory projects across Sub-Saharan Africa and leads the World Bank’s Geospatial Electrification Planning in the Africa Region project. Her work has leveraged cutting edge analytics and provided clean energy support for countries across the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

After more than 12-years of experience in the clean energy field, Jordan Antoine said it was her passion for dancing that led her to her current work of using engineering and technology to help underserved communities.

While studying for her master’s in electrical engineering from Columbia University, she said in a news release that she began to question how the field of engineering could make a difference in the lives of people. She decided to take a break from school to dance.

“While I was performing, I took my first trip to Africa. We were staying at the nicest hotel in Luanda. For rehearsal, they picked us up in a limo. I walked out of the hotel with my bottled water, and right next to the hotel, there were mud huts and children who didn’t have access to running water or electricity,” Jordan Antoine explained in a news release. “It really stuck with me…I applied for the PhD program at MIT because I wanted to better understand this challenge and figure out how I could use my skillset to offer help to people around the world.”

According to the news release, her outstanding research, along with her team’s work, has significantly contributed to electrification in Africa, in addition to the accompanying rate of decline in poverty in several countries.

As of today, Jordan Antoine has helped create, prepare, and execute projects across the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa, providing 4.9 million people with electricity access and powering 19,000 schools, health facilities, and small businesses, the news release stated.

She continues to use both dance and science to introduce youth to the career path of STEM. She has performed around the world, and in 2007 appeared on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

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