Jarod Kelly is a Vehicle Systems Analyst Engineer in the Energy Systems (ES) division at Argonne National Laboratory, and he studies the environmental impact of past and future vehicle technologies.
When he was young, Jarod participated in multiple sports, including baseball, downhill skiing, and cross-country running, but he was also curious about the world, as well as an avid recycler. “As early as fourth grade, I became an adamant recycler and forced my family to do it, too,” he said. During middle school, he became interested in computer programming, marking the first step in his STEM journey.
During the process of earning his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Jarod had the opportunity to work with one of the top sustainability scholars in the world, and the experience shaped his career trajectory. “I’d been focused on very technical mathematical work as an undergraduate and graduate student, so getting back to ‘impact’ really meant a lot to me,” he said.
Today, Jarod does sustainability research on vehicles, helping address current issues like climate change, mobility equity, and resource depletion. “I help others – governments, automakers, and individuals – understand how to make better choices with vehicles,” he said. “People should care about their choices, because climate science points to the real and dire consequences of a failure to act toward reducing the impact that we have on the planet.”
Jarod’s favorite part of working at Argonne is how the lab is independent and science-led. “We do not sell, we do not politic,” he said. “We answer questions with the best data available to us in order to help others better understand the world. I love that.”
“Some people think that STEM is not creative, that only the “arts” are creative, but I firmly disagree,” Jarod said. “It is a different sort of creativity, but STEM still allows you to be incredibly creative.” He also encourages students not to abandon their love for other arts such as literature, history, and music. “These interests can be not only major points of joy in your life, but they can also dramatically influence and inform your STEM career (and vice versa).”