2020 Student Cohort

Kris Govertsen

MS Sustainable Building Systems & Interdisciplinary Engineering PhD

Northeastern University

Biography: I am from Valatie, New York. I am a skier, meaning Climate Change has the potential to irradicate one of the things I love the most. To make a difference, I set out on a career path that would allow me to play a part in the effort to reduce our environmental impacts. I have a background in Civil Engineering. To date, I’ve earned my LEED Green Associate and WELL AP Certifications. When studying for these exams, I noted a focus on commercial spaces. This revelation pushed me to focus on residential areas in my work. For my undergraduate Honors Program thesis, I proposed a small business that aimed at helping the average family make their home SMART: Sustainable, Manageable, Affordable, Resilient, and Technological. My graduate research focuses on identifying the thermal characteristics of homes using smart thermostat data. The goal of this research is to scale this method to identify communities that are most vulnerable to extreme temperature-related weather events. I joined CLDBES to hone my leadership skills and network with future leaders in the Built Environment Sustainability Industry. I look forward to this professional and personal development process through cross-cultural partnerships, as well as learning about sustainable building practices across the world.

Stephen Grotz

Masters of Architecture

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Biography: Stephen Grotz received is B.S. in Architecture at the University of Virginia in his home state, Virginia, but he has traveled extensively for clients, research, and leisure. His first major design build endeavor was his Eagle Project where he managed subcontractors and Boy Scouts in the construction of a masonry barbeque at his high school. Overcoming the design and interpersonal challenges of this project convinced him to pursue a career in the architecture industry and apply to the CLDBES program.

 

The program could not have been offered at a more perfect time. Despite the travel bans, this leadership and sustainable research program has explored how to both personally and professionally relate to other students who have a different culture, expertise, and perspective on global events. At a time where companies and countries are struggling to find leadership to direct them out of global uncertainty, the CLDBES program is training emerging professionals how to communicate, collaborate, and innovate their way out the world’s most pressing problems. Grotz strives to become a licensed architect after obtaining his Master of Architecture degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His ambition is to pursue a career where he can lead a diverse team to design solutions to the climate, societal, and systemic issues that challenge our society.

Vikrom Laovisutthichai

Real Estate and Construction PhD

The University of Hong Kong

Biography: Vikrom Laovisutthichai is a PhD student at the Department of Real Estate and Construction, The University of Hong Kong. I am a Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) awardee, supported by the Research Grants Council (RGC) of the HKSAR government. I received a Bachelor of Architecture (1 st Class Honor, Gold Medal) and Master of Architecture from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Before pursuing a PhD program, I worked as an architect based in Bangkok and lecturer at Chulalongkorn University. My experiences include house design, interior design, residential building design, healthcare architecture construction management, and building inspection.

 

My research currently concentrates on Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) in the construction industry. It is based on my background in architecture and can further extend it across the whole lifecycle of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction. I am also interested in the other principles aligned with the Design for Excellence (DfX) in construction, including Design for Construction Waste Minimization (DfCWM) and Design for Construction Safety (DfCS).

 

I see this Leadership Program in Environment Sustainability program as a great opportunity to catch up with the ongoing trend of sustainability in construction, share my experiences, and develop my expertise. This program is also a platform for the young generation researchers from both eastern and western hemispheres to meet, discuss, and, finally, collaborate the innovative ideas for the industry.

Brian Kohut

Masters of in Mechanical Engineering

Cleveland State University

Biography: My name is Brian L Kohut and I am 39 years of age. My birthday is July 1, 1981. I currently live in Parma, OH. I grew up in Strongsville, OH where I graduated from Strongsville High School. Along with graduating from Strongsville High School I also graduated from Polaris Career Center with a focus in welding. I attended Lorain County Community College where I obtained an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Automated Manufacturing Engineering. I went on to work on my bachelor’s degree at the University of Akron and University of Cincinnati before finally finishing my Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Cleveland State University. Currently I am pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Cleveland State University while working full-time as an engineer. I am Catholic and actively participate within my church through being a member of the Knights of Columbus. I was introduced to powerlifting in 2011 by a father and son briefly after joining a gym. I have competed in powerlifting several times and as a result exercise has become a major part of my life. In September 2019 I had the opportunity to attend a weeklong training camp at The Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado through USA Powerlifting which I am a member. In addition to exercise I enjoy music and reading. I joined the Leadership Program in Environment Sustainability a part of The Center of Leadership Development in Built Environment Sustainability for the International Research opportunity.

Fernando J. Claudio Rodríguez

Architecture & Information Technology

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Biography: Fernando is originally from Puerto Rico, but currently resides at North Carolina where he is pursuing a dual master’s degree in architecture and information technology at the University of North Carolina At Charlotte. He has a bachelor’s in environmental design from the University of Puerto Rico. His research is focused on establishing a connection between modern technological advances with passive architectural strategies, to achieve human comfort. Applying the use of computational design, programing, and big data, with the goal of achieving a modern vernacular design. Although his focus is very defined, during his studies he has been open to new opportunities in which he has explored areas such as project management, robotics, exhibition design, and architectural history.

 

He applied to the CLDBES program seeking new opportunities to explore and expand his knowledge about sustainability alongside other professionals involved in the field and hoping to engage in an interdisciplinary environment alongside international students. During the program he has learned an important set of in dept leadership skills, understanding many of the strategies and abilities behind what makes good leaders. He has also acquired a valuable tool set on how to improve skills such as decision making, initiative, teamwork, communication, and organization, to become a more effective team member and generate research.

Liqun Xiang

Building and Real Estate

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Biography: I am Emma from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, currently a third-year PhD student in the Department of Building and Real Estate. I got my both bachelor and master’s degrees in Harbin Institute of Technology, with a major of architectural design. My research interests contain the architectural briefing, the stakeholder relationships in promoting age-friendly initiatives, the design of housing for the elderly.

Joining the CLDBES program is an opportunity both for improving myself and cooperating with others. Particularly, I learned how to communicate with others efficiently. From the weekly self-learning modules, I understand leadership better and would try to make a plan to improve my leadership skills.

OGUNGBILE, Adedayo Johnson

Building and Real Estate

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Biography: I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Building and Real Estate of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University under the supervision of Prof. Q.P. Shen. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Quantity Surveying (First Class Honours) and Master of Technology in Quantity Surveying (Construction Economics Option) with Distinction from the Federal University of Technology Akure in Nigeria. I am a trained Quantity Surveyor who previously worked as a Graduate assistant lecturer in the Federal University of Technology, Akure. I have construction industry experience as I once worked for construction and quantity surveying consulting firms. My research interest is embodied energy and emissions accounting in the construction industry with a particular focus on multi-regional, multi-sectoral energy, and emissions interactions in China’s construction sector. I am enrolled in the 2020 CLDBES program as a participant from Hong kong. I am motivated to join the program because of the immense benefits it will provide not just to my academic career, but to personal improvement. Since I joined the program, I have communicated with people of different cultural backgrounds, improved my intrapersonal skills and interpersonal skills. Also, with the research content of the program, my partner and I have been able to synthesis ideas and come up with a research idea to benefit the larger society.

Yuwen Yang

Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture

The University of Hong Kong

Biography: Yuwen Yang is a Ph.D. student from the Division of Landscape Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong. She received her bachelor in landscape design from the University of Maine and Master of Landscape Architecture(MLA) degree from the University of Georgia. Her research interest focus on how urban environment impacts human health and behavior using experiment, spatial analysis, and big data.

She sees the CLDBES program as a great opportunity to expand her knowledge of state-of-art practices in sustainability, hopes to engage in interdisciplinary research, share the experience with students with different cultures and perspectives, as well as improve her communication, decision making, and leadership skills.

Samantha Chacon

Kinesiology (Exercise Physiology)

Louisiana State University

Biography: Biography: I am Samantha, I am originally from Oregon; I moved to Louisiana to study Exercise Physiology. I have two bachelor’s degrees from Oregon State University, and I am currently a second-year master’s student at Louisiana State University. Coming to LSU has really opened my eyes to more topics in research and career opportunities. My interests include prevention through physical activity/exercise and using physical activity/exercise for disease management. I joined the CLDBES program for the opportunity to become a more effective and motivational leader; as well as expand my knowledge using sustainability practices for health and wellness.

Shuping Niu

Building Services Engineering

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Biography: My name is Shuping Niu. I am pursuing a Master of Engineering Degree in Building Services Engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and I'm a first-year graduate student. I got my bachelor degree at Guangzhou University, with a major in Building Environment and Energy Engineering. My research interests include ocean energy to support for zero energy building and zero energy vehicle. Joining the CLDBES program, I hope I can learn how to be a communicative, efficient and executive leader. At the same time, I also hope that through this opportunity, I can learn from teachers and students in different regions in terms of academic and leadership skills and improve my abilities and broaden my knowledge.

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