SSAO Bridges and Bytes – Fall 2015: Jessica Errett, Travis Deyle’s MIT TR35 Award, and more…

In this issue:

Three Minutes with Jessica Errett

Jessica jess1Errett became a Scott Scholar in 2002. She is from Harlan, Iowa and a graduate of Harlan Community High School. She was awarded her Master of Architectural Engineering with a focus in HVAC and Acoustics in 2007. Currently, she works in Omaha as a Mechanical Engineer for The Energy Studio, an energy efficiency consultancy.

I focus on energy modelling and reviewing LEED building submittals as a Mechanical Engineer at The Energy Studio here in Omaha. Currently, my responsibilities mostly involve LEED building certification reviews but the plan is to move my focus more into energy modelling as the year continues.

Four out of five of The Energy Studio’s engineers are female, a total swing from living at Scott Hall. Now I’m surrounded by female engineers. Alex Skillman, also a Scott Scholar, is the only lucky guy. I’ve really enjoyed the past two and half years here.

The LEED market seems to be gaining popularity overseas, and lately I’ve reviewed some complex projects in China and other foreign countries. With LEED certifications, I’ll see 3-4 different projects each week.

Sustainable design needs to start at the schematic design phase of a commercial building’s design, not just become a checklist or after-thought at the end of the project. We see many first-time LEED applicants that take the “checklist approach” at the end of the project, and they usually have a harder time achieving a higher certification level. There are multiple review stages during the LEED certification process. During the preliminary review stage, I can provide feedback to guide the project team make corrections to their design and documentation to meet all requirements.

Previously, I had the opportunity to travel to various job sites (multiple on the Texas/Mexico border) at Leo A. Daly, while working for the company for 7 years as a mechanical design engineer. As my first job out of college, I focused primarily on HVAC design for health care, education, and office space. I actually interned there while finishing school and was thankful for the experience to work with many talented Scott Scholars over those years at Leo A. Daly.

I’m the President-Elect of ASHRAE’s Nebraska Chapter, an organization I’ve spent a lot of time with since undergrad. The chapter level is great for industry networking, as well as attending the continuing education presentations we have at our monthly meetings on interesting industry-related topics. I also attend the regional conference every year, which most recently was held in the beautiful Black Hills. It’s great for getting training for the next year on committee responsibilities, running chapter meetings, etc.

ASHRAE’s student involvement activities energize me to get young people excited about engineering. I get to spend time with middle and high schoolers doing activities to spark their interest in science, but we also focus time on college engineering students to keep them motivated throughout their difficult semesters. ASHRAE provides 4 scholarships for students at the University of Nebraska and provides student/industry networking activities throughout the year. For example, the students are invited to all of our chapter meetings and get a free Anthony’s steak dinner! (Why didn’t we take better advantage of this when we were students!?) During our April meeting, the student ASHRAE chapter selects grad students to present their graduate work during our meeting, educating us industry professionals on the topics they’ve focused on for a semester.

All of my spare time goes to my hobby: music. I sing – I’m a songwriter and guitarist. I started an Indie-rock band a few years ago called Edge of Arbor. We’re on iTunes, Spotify, and Bandcamp. Primary we just play in Omaha. However, I have done some touring as an acoustic act, including a three-week East Coast tour through New York, DC, Western Massachusetts, etc. Over the past 9 years, I’ve played in 8 different bands of varying genres. One of my side projects (All Young Girls Are Machine Guns) played at the Maha Music Festival, Lincoln Calling, Femme Fest, and the Nebraska Folk and Roots Festival all during the past year. Playing in other people’s bands and working with other song writers gives me inspiration to continuing creating my own art and learn new instruments. On my next album, I want to play every instrument. I need to get better at drums, but then I’ll have guitar, bass, ukulele, and vocals ready to go.

I encourage people to stay in touch with their Scott Scholar class as we have a lot of shared unique experiences. My best PKI experiences were attending out-of-town conferences with ASHRAE and Society of Women Engineers. But, one of my favorite Scott Scholar memories was watching my friends get in trouble for building lofts in their Scott Hall dorms (there’s a rule against that now!). I always enjoyed spending time with others at Scott Hall – even if it was just video games and movies, at least it was quality time. There was one night that Anne Moles, Martin Goodenberger, and I sat in the Scott Hall elevator and played music for everyone as they left and arrived to the building. It’s just fun memories like that one that are irreplaceable.

Get as much experience while you can while you’re in school. Companies are definitely looking for well-rounded individuals. Maybe spend less time focusing on straight A’s and get involved with community service and professional societies. The few times I have been involved in the hiring process, more often than not, they look for a well-rounded individual than just a bookworm.

You should work for a company that aligns with your morals and compliments your strengths. I’ve come to realize that we spend so much of our time, so much of our week, working. If your company’s priorities don’t align with yours, what’s the point? When you feel valuable to and on the same page as your employer, it changes everything.

Travis Deyle Awarded MIT Technology Review’s “35 Innovators Under 35” (TR35) Award

TravisTravis_Deyle Deyle, a Scott Scholar from 2001-2005, was recently named an MIT Technology Review “35 Innovators Under 35” (aka TR35) Award Winner!

He has joined the likes of Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), John Rogers (Materials Scientist at the University of Illinois), Jonathan Ive (chief designer of Apple), Helen Greiner (iRobot), Stephen Quake (Bioengineer at Stanford), and Max Levchin (PayPal).

The award comes from his focus on Robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to revolutionize health care. During his PhD at Georgia Tech, he built some of the first mobile robots capable of operating in people’s homes, enabled by long-range radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. As a postdoc at Duke, he collaborated on cutting-edge wireless systems (aka souped-up UHF RFID tags) for health monitoring, environmental sensors, and to build “cyborg dragonflies.” Now, he’s employed by Google[x] Life Sciences working on “moonshots.” He works on the team(s) developing glucose-sensing and autofocusing contact lenses, glucose monitoring devices, and other highly-confidential products you’ll hear about eventually. More details on Travis’s website.

“This is the most prestigious accolade I’ve ever received. It’s a huge honor, and I’m extremely humbled. I owe this success to a lot of people: collaborators, mentors, advisors, friends, family, and wife.” Travis said. “UNL, PKI, and the Walter Scott Scholarship played a major role in my career path. I enjoyed my time there, appreciated the opportunities, and greatly benefited from the facilities, faculty, and other students. I just want to say, ‘Thank you!’ to everyone.”

Quick Bytes

  • The Scott Scholar Mentoring Program successfully kicked-off August 4th – many thanks to Sheila Korth’s leadership in driving the program forward
  • The IS&T Career Fair will be held December 2-3 at PKI for all IS&T majors (during CS Education Week, questions about this fair need to be directed to Dr. Deepak Khazanchi)
  • Clayton Miller has re-relocated to Singapore as he finishes his PhD program at ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) focused on building performance data
  • Alex Skillman completed his MBA from UNO and now works as an Energy Analyst at The Energy Studio
  • Adam Wilkerson is actually married to Jessica Errett’s sister Bonnie; the couple lives in Elkhorn and Adam works for Yahoo! as a Financial Manager

Have anything you’d like to contribute – thoughts, ideas, comments, content? Contact Kyle Hoback.

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