Jenni in from of NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Presenting to you Jenni Rinker, postdoc at DTU Wind Energy

Monday 09 Oct 17


Jennifer Rinker
DTU Wind Energy
+45 93 51 19 86

List of Publications

If you would like to get more information about her publications, click here.
DTU Wind Energy is a wonderfully unique place because we have a mix between academia and industry. I am much more motivated with applied research, so industry projects are very fun.

Tell me about your background?
I was born and raised in Alaska. I first became interested in math/science in high school, when I found out that my brain was wired for it and I excelled in those subjects. I liked that there were clear rules, and I liked being able to get the right answer.

I went to Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California for my bachelor’s in engineering. Mudd is a unique, challenging college with a very interdisciplinary approach to learning. During my time there, I did some independent research on tuned-mass dampers and also worked in a team to develop and experimentally verify a finite element model of a wind turbine blade.

After finishing my bachelor’s, I entered the PhD programme at Duke University in North Carolina. There I got a master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Material Science. I had the chance to go to NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) in Boulder, Colorado, US, and stay there for a year doing research relevant to my dissertation. It was a really great experience, and it enriched both my research and my professional development.

How did you get an interest in wind energy?

This was rather serendipitous. When I entered graduate school, I had a fellowship from the US National Science Foundation. My supervisor Dr. Gavin gave me the opportunity to choose the subject of my PhD project.

Dr. Gavin is an expert in earthquake engineering, especially structural control and modelling/simulation of buildings subjected to earthquakes. At some point, and neither of us remembers when, we thought to try to apply random earthquake simulations to wind turbines. That turned into my PhD project, and resulted in a validated nonstationary random turbulence simulator and an evaluation of the changed design loads.

How did you come to DTU Wind Energy?

Not by the usual trajectory. My original plan was to get a postdoc outside of Europe. I applied for the EU Marie Curie postdoc funding with a fellow researcher here at DTU Wind Energy, but it’s extremely competitive so we were rejected about one month before I was to move to Denmark.
I didn’t have a position, which meant I wouldn’t be able to stay and work in Europe. Luckily for me, I was able to get a temporary position as a research assistant at DTU that turned into a postdoc position a few months later.

What about the future?
I very much enjoy working here at DTU Wind Energy, and I would like to stay and become a researcher. Outside of work, I have a few other interests, like travelling and competitive mountain unicycling. I’m also part of arranging the unicycling World Championships in South Korea next year. It’s important to have a good work-life balance.

Would you recommend other young people to do a PhD degree here at DTU Wind Energy?

Yes, definitely. DTU Wind Energy is a wonderfully unique place because we have a mix between academia and industry. I am much more motivated with applied research, so industry projects are very fun. I find academia, industry and teaching/mentoring students to be the perfect triangle of things, and you can do all three here at DTU. My colleagues are also fun, which is very energizing. Most importantly, the tradition here in Denmark is that you bring in cake on your birthday, so we have lots of cake.

Jenni's CV

More information about Jenni Rinker can be found here in her CV.