About Us

The Energy Policy Institute’s physical office is located on the campus of Boise State University in Idaho’s capital city. EPI is an integral part of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES), which is a consortium comprised of the Idaho National LaboratoryBoise State University, the University of IdahoIdaho State University, the University of Wyoming, and private industry.

More than 50 core staff, educators, and affiliate professional researchers from the CAES institutions and around the globe compose the Energy Policy Institute. To date, EPI has been awarded more than 20 grants and contracts, totaling over $5 million. Award sponsors include the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Western Governors Association, industry, non-profits, international organizations, and the State of Idaho.

EPI has more than 35 publications and three original software packages, PVMapperSiteDesigner, and LineSiter. EPI has diverse capabilities across different energy research areas, but has special expertise in electric transmission, small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs), and the design and development of decision support tools. Through its core EPI staff and affiliate researchers from the CAES partners and other institutions, EPI has the resources to provide robust and timely research. EPI research focuses on both innovation and the more routine but critical mission of improving decisions in the design and implementation of energy policy, as well as investment decisions and technology choices that are affected by policy. Through funded reports, peer-reviewed articles, and research collaborations, EPI seeks to inform and educate policymakers and other stakeholders to aid them in making these decisions about energy, without dictating what those decisions should be.

Integral Capability of CAES

EPI is an integral part of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies

Distributed Institute

Comprised of professional researchers from around the globe

In Idaho's Capital City

EPI’s physical offices are located on the campus of Boise State University

Awards to Date

EPI has been awarded over 20 grants and contracts valued at over $5M

EPI is the host of the annual Energy Policy Research Conference (EPRC). EPRC is the premier energy policy research conference held in the Western United States and is targeted toward academic and professional energy policy researchers.


Harold Blackman

Harold Blackman

Interim EPI Director

Office Phone: (208) 426-5746, HaroldBlackman@boisestate.edu

Harold Blackman has more than thirty years of experience in education, research management, and human factors research and development. Dr. Blackman has held a variety of management positions throughout his career, largely at the Idaho National Laboratory.  These positions have ranged from a manager of human factors to the Chief Engineer, where he was responsible for more than 1,000 engineers and scientists. He also served as the Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Environment, where he was responsible for one of the three major research areas for the laboratory. He also directed the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), a collaboration between the University of Idaho, Boise State University, Idaho State University and the Idaho National Laboratory; CAES is widely regarded as one of the most successful collaborations in the State of Idaho. Dr. Blackman has been involved in university education throughout his career, first as a faculty member and then as adjunct faculty. He now serves as the Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Boise State University, where he leads the development of new and ongoing research programs across the university.


Autumn T. Johnson

Autumn T. Johnson

EPI Assistant Director

Office Phone: (208) 426-2326, autumnjohnson102@boisestate.edu

Autumn Johnson joined the EPI team in October 2016 as the Assistant Director, performing business development and project management. She is also an adjunct professor for Boise State’s College of Business and Economics where she teaches business law.

Johnson holds a law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law (2010), where she focused on environmental law, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Seattle University (2015).  She is currently pursuing her PhD in Public Policy and Administration from Boise State University.

Prior to her arrival in Boise, Johnson was a practicing attorney in Seattle, where she managed a boutique law office.  She also taught business law at Seattle University.  Before becoming an attorney, Johnson was a social worker for the State of Arizona.


Sydney Fox

Sydney Fox

EPI Business Manager

Office Phone: (208) 426-5708, sydneyfox@boisestate.edu

Sydney Fox joined the EPI team in October 2014 as the Business Manager, providing fiscal and grants management as well as office administration. In addition, Fox spends a significant amount of time leading the logistical efforts to produce EPI’s annual Energy Policy Research Conference.

Fox holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Boise State University (2015), and also received her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boise State University (2013). She is currently pursuing her PhD in Public Policy and Administration from Boise State University.

Fox brings several years of experience at Boise State University working in the College of Education as a Program Manager. Prior to that experience, she worked for the Idaho Attorney General in the Consumer Protection and Civil Litigation division.


Cassandra L. Koerner

Cassandra L. Koerner

EPI Project Coordinator

Office Phone: (208) 426-5707, cassiekoerner@boisestate.edu

Cassandra Koerner joined the EPI team in January 2017 as the Project Coordinator, providing key research support as well as coordinating work among affiliated collaborators.

Koerner holds a Master of Public Administration from Boise State University (2012) and a Master of Arts in political science and environmental policy from Colorado State University (2016).  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in natural resource conservation from the University of Montana (2005).

In addition to her education, Koerner brings years of experience working in the public sector and as a private contractor on several regional environmental impact projects as a researcher, technical writer, and budget manager. Her involvement with forestry-related inquiries early in her career provided a broad scientific framework on which to build her policy investigations.  She has also published articles and book chapters regarding nuclear perceptions, renewable energy in the west, carbon sequestration, and international carbon markets, as well as others on general energy and environmental issues.


In addition to core staff and affiliate researchers, EPI funds Graduate Assistantships to provide research support for institute projects. To date, more than 20 Boise State students have been funded through Assistantships. Moreover, over twenty students from other universities–including the CAES partners–have been funded by EPI-led projects since 2009.

Current Graduate Assistants

Joshua Cha is a PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His work at the EPI focuses on power systems and software modeling.

Sierra Morris is a student in the Master’s of Business Administration program. Her work focuses on small modular nuclear reactors and finding solutions for nuclear waste storage.

Past Graduate Assistants
  • Jacob Losinski, Masters of Public Administration
  • Deborah Allen, Masters of Public Administration
  • Brandon Archibald, MBA
  • Mark Bathrick, Masters of Public Administration
  • Mark Boekhout, Masters in Accountancy
  • Robert Beazer (Idaho State University), Doctorate of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Madelaine Bowman (Idaho State University), MA, Political Science
  • Ira Bunch, Masters of Public Administration
  • Nathan Bussey, MBA
  • Eileen DeShazo, Masters of Public Administration
  • Tina Gianini (Idaho State University)
  • Andrew Gregory, Masters of Business Administration
  • Kathy Hurley, Masters in Accountancy-Tax
  • Rebecca Jacobsen, Masters of Public Administration
  • Chris Juchau, MBA
  • Courtney Kirchner, Masters of Public Administration
  • Cassandra Koerner, Masters of Public Administration
  • Jared Kopczynski, MA in Communication
  • Wes Labor, Masters of Public Administration
  • Brian Laurent, Masters of Public Administration
  • Stephanie Lenhart, Public Policy PhD candidate
  • Amanda Mumford, MBA
  • Jenny Newman (University of Idaho)
  • Sean Rosin, Masters, Mechanical Engineering
  • Christian Samples, Masters of Public Administration
  • Jenny Schmidt, MBA
  • Russ Slater, Masters of Public Administration
  • Steve Sorenson, (Idaho State University), Masters of Public Administration
  • Chris Stam, MBA
  • Paulina Starkey (University of Idaho), MS, Conservation Social Sciences
  • Kathryn Thorpe, Masters of Public Administration
  • Nicole Ulacky, Masters of Public Administration
  • Kendelle Vogt, Masters of Public Administration
  • Lisa Wennstrom, Masters of Public Administration
What are They Doing Now?

Former Graduate Students have obtained employment at organizations and companies including:

  • BAE Systems
  • U.S. Department of the Interior
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Idaho Power Company
  • Tacoma Power
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
  • Idaho Public Utilities Commission
  • Sitka Technology Group
  • Energy Policy Institute
  • Colorado State University PhD Program
  • St. Luke’s Hospital
  • Idaho Community Foundation
  • Sage Community Resources