Architectural engineering students win Brandston lighting grant, continue program's run of success

Architectural engineering students win Brandston lighting grant, continue program's run of success

Calendar Icon Jul 17, 2019      Person Bust Icon By Karl Vogel     RSS Feed RSS

Students Ryan Sommerer (left) and Andi Walter, now in the Master of Architectural Engineering program, were chosen as winners of the 2019 Howard Brandston Student Lighting Education Grant.
Students Ryan Sommerer (left) and Andi Walter, now in the Master of Architectural Engineering program, were chosen as winners of the 2019 Howard Brandston Student Lighting Education Grant.

Nebraska architectural engineering students Andi Walter and Ryon Sommerer have been chosen as the winners of the 2019 Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Howard Brandston Student Lighting Design Education Grant, the top international student lighting competition.

The IES gives out one Brandston Grant per year – a $1,000 award to divide among the winning entrants and a plaque. Walter and Sommer will receive the award at the IES Annual Conference, Aug. 8-10 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Both Walter, from Bucyrus, Kansas, and Sommerer, from Omaha, recently graduated with bachelor’s degrees and each is pursuing a graduate degree in the Master of Architectural Engineering program. Earlier this year, Walter was chosen to receive the Jonas Bellovin Scholar Achievement Award, a $5,000 grant from the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education.

The entries are submitted by students who take a lighting design course in their senior year. The class is led by Rodrigo Manriquez, an industry fellow and lighting designer who lives in Detroit, Michigan, and Michelle Eble-Hankins, assistant professor of practice in architectural engineering and senior lighting designer at Alvine Engineering in Omaha. Manriquez has been teaching the class via distance since 2009, coming to campus only a few times each semester. 

The success of the class is reflected in part by the success of Nebraska students in the Brandston Grant competition, said Clarence Waters, Aaron Douglas Professor of Architectural Engineering and a longtime industry liaison for the AE program.  

This year’s award is the seventh since 2009 won by AE students from the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction. In those 10 years, three other entries from Nebraska AE students were also cited as honorable mention.

“It’s amazing that Rodrigo has done so well with his students having to teach via distance,” Waters said. “He’s a tough-love kind of guy, demands so much from his students and they work extremely hard and they love that course.

“The Brandston Grant success is a reflection of all the excellent work that Rodrigo and Michelle continue to do with the students in the lighting option.”

Durham School winners in the Howard Brandston Student Lighting Design Education Grant competition

•          2019 – Andi Walter and Ryon Sommerer

•          2018 – Riley Johnson and Jeff Thompson

•          2016 - Justin Moench, Michael Kuhlenengel, Nicholas Garaycochea (Honorable Mention)

•          2015 - Sean Poulicek and Nathan Ritta

•          2014 - Justin Boyd and Geof Wright (Honorable Mention)

•          2013 - Patrick MacBride and Sameena Khan

•          2011 - Abby Breuer and Jordan Webb; Yulia Tyukhova and Roger Sandhoefner (Honorable Mention)

•          2010 - Heidi Kuchta and Andrew Wiese 

•          2009 - Steve Gollehon and Scott Lindgren