Congratulations to the 2019 Thesis Award Recipients:
Aldo Jacques Espina, Dinusha Thotagamamuwa, and Ying Zhong

May 2019


The IESNYC Thesis Awards recognizes degree candidates at graduate-level lighting programs in New York State. The IESNYC honored the 2019 recipients on May 17, 2019 when they presented their theses to an audience of New York City lighting professionals. The Section will award each student $2,000. Keynote Speaker Zachary Pearson, an IESNYC 2018 scholarship recipient who graduated from the Master of Science in Lighting program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) shared his success since graduation.

Aldo Jacques Espina
Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design, Parsons School of Design at The New School

Aldo Jacques Espina holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of San Carlos in Cebu, Philippines. He decided to pursue a master’s degree in lighting design at the Parsons School of Design after noticing the lack of lighting designers in the Philippines. He is a recent recipient of an award from the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education. While studying he was also an intern in lighting design at Syska Hennessy Group. After immersing himself in the lighting design profession, he plans to continue working as a lighting designer and aspires to bring awareness to the importance of lighting in the built environment.

Thesis Title: Evaluating Mean Room Surface Exitance
This thesis explores how today’s lighting design practices are moving from merely considering visual performance to taking into account perception of brightness and the overall lit appearance of the space. The most widely used metric for evaluation remains one that focuses only on the former, horizontal illuminance. Recently, however, a method was developed by Christopher Cuttle employing luminous exitance as the principal metric to assess adequacy of illumination and appearance. While this new methodology has been generally well received and previous tests have proven the superiority of the new metric MRSE to illuminance, before the concept can be adopted into industry standards the idea must be tested against the reality of modern lighting design. Most designed spaces are planned with the idea of creating visual interest in space through hierarchies of illumination. The objective of this study is to assess the relationship of MRSE to PAI and spatial brightness in such schemes employing the concept of TAIR to emphasize a specific room surface within each scene. It also evaluates the influence of specific room surfaces in one’s field of view to both PAI and spatial brightness in an attempt to quantify the impact of individual room surfaces to brightness perception.


Dinusha Thotagamamuwa
Ph.D. candidate at the Lighting Research Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Dinusha earned a M.S. degree in lighting from RPI in 2015, and a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, in 2010. He is the recipient of RPI’s Founders Award (2015); the Besal Academic Award from Acuity Brands (2016); and the ARCC/King Student Medal (2016). His research interests include energy efficient lighting, LED system reliability, and connected lighting systems.

Thesis Title: Investigating LED Driver Output Electrical Parameter Changes Due to Failing Electronic Components
The lighting industry is presently very interested in connected and intelligent lighting systems. Some of the advanced lighting systems are now offering a number of benefits to the building managers and occupants. Lighting fixtures that have the capability to signal system failure ahead of time can inform building managers to take timely maintenance actions. Since the LED driver is one of the weak subassemblies in an LED fixture, projecting its remaining useful life is a valuable feature for creating intelligent lighting systems. Electrolytic capacitor and MOSFET are two components in an LED driver that fail frequently. In this thesis study how these component failures affect the output electrical parameters of an open-loop switched mode LED driver was investigated to better understand how these electrical parameters can be measured in real time and used for predicting lighting system failure.


Ying Zhong
Master of Professional Studies in Lighting Design at The New York School of Interior Design

Ying Zhong’s Master of Professional Studies in Lighting Design (MPS-L) is the second master’s degree that she has earned at NYSID. In 2017, she received a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design. After graduation, she designed multifamily, restaurant, and office projects for a year, during which time she became more and more interested in the way lighting affects interior spaces. This led her back to NYSID for a second master's, this time to study lighting. In her designs, she loves to play with multiple layers of light and different controls to achieve unique experiences. She also holds a bachelor's degree from Beijing Forestry University in wood science and technology, which gives her a better understanding of working with natural materials.

Thesis Title: Lighting for a School of Theatre
In the theatre, the movement of each performer presents the story. Cameras can capture each second of those movements, creating stroboscopic frames of motion. Inversely, a series of fixed images present a posture changing through time. In the theatre school, this can be translated to lighting treatments through space, such as using unique fixtures, enhancing architecture elements, and using light controls and interactive design elements to evoke a sense of motion.


ABOUT THE IESNYC THESIS Awards
The IESNYC Thesis Awards is an annual monetary award given to three students selected by their professors for demonstrating excellence in lighting design and/or research, and represent the intellectual insight, rigor, and quality standards as set forth by their respective school departments and each student’s thesis committee. Recipients must be a degree candidate in a graduate-level lighting program at the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID), Parsons School of Design at the New School, or Lighting Research Center (LRC), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) School of Architecture. Recipients have the opportunity to present their thesis projects to the New York City lighting community at a special presentation event and eligible for consideration to be sent to the IES Annual Conference and present their work.

*Nominations are submitted by each school’s program director and winners announced in May