Congratulations to the Three Recipients of the 2020 IESNYC Thesis Awards

by | Oct 30, 2020 | News

The New York City Section of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IESNYC) honored Kasia Kozak,  MS in Lighting, at the Lighting Research Center (LRC), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI); Trinetra Manickavasagam, MFA Lighting Design Parsons the School of Design, and Ivan Zamora, Master of Professional Studies in Lighting Design at the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID), on October 28, 2020 when they presented their winning theses to a virtual audience of lighting professionals.  The IESNYC awarded each recipient $ 2,000. The program is available on demand at

The IESNYC Thesis Awards recognizes degree candidates at graduate-level lighting programs in New York State, though this year, the presentation was held post-graduation.  Selected by their professors, each one of the three theses demonstrate excellence in 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.

Prior to the thesis presentations, Brigid Hardiman (Lightcraft), a member of the IESNYC Board of Managers, Co-Chair of the IESNYC Student Lighting Competition, and the 2019 recipient of the $ 25,000 IESNYC Scholarship delivered a keynote address on her career trajectory, aspirations, and hopes for the New York City Lighting Community.

“Since 2014 the IESNYC has annually recognized excellence in research in lighting programs in the New York City area. The recipients have constantly demonstrated their dedication to excellence in their investigation of leading-edge application or examination of lighting of cutting-edge subjects,” says Mike Barr (Lutron), president of the IESNYC. “This year was no different, except the presentation was held later than usual and virtually, which gave us the opportunity to showcase the work of these outstanding students to a much larger viewing audience. The diversity in topics, the passionate examination of each, and the commanding understanding of each topic is inspiring.”

“The IESNYC has always been a strong voice for education, says Caleb McKenzie (US Lighting Design), chair of the Scholarship Committee. “Our annual Thesis Awards are another way our Section can support future innovators and leaders in the lighting industry. Over the years, the IESNYC has acted as a conduit, encouraging the recipients to present their work on a much larger platform at the IES National Conference, which is something we will continue to do. In addition to the Thesis Awards, the IESNYC programs offer year-round educational courses for members and professionals and we also sponsor the annual Student Lighting Competition, the Richard Kelly Grant, and the IESNYC Scholarship.”

About the 2020 Thesis Awards Recipients and Their Projects

Kasia Kozak earned her MS in Lighting at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in May 2020. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Rochester Institute of Technology where she graduated in 2016. First drawn to the field of lighting because of the environmentally conscious energy saving nature of LED technology she interned at an LED retrofit and rebate management company while an undergraduate student. Having worked on the product design end of lighting in her first full time job, she decided to pursue the master’s in lighting to deepen her understanding of lighting and transition her career to the architectural lighting design space. She is looking forward to using lighting to enhance the built world for the benefit of the environment, the users of the space, and the community as a whole.

Thesis Title: Evaluating LED Street Lighting Upgrades for Troy, New York

The motivation for the project was that the city of Troy, NY (where the LRC is based) had announced an upcoming plan to convert the city’s streetlights to LED. At the start of the project various LED fixtures were under consideration by the City. This project intended to provide a recommendation on what LED fixtures would provide the most value to the City. Value was considered not only by the decrease in energy consumption, but also in the improvement of the lighting conditions. The project concluded with the development of a customizable streetlight fixture recommendation tool. It is based on the use of a criteria ranking system that allows the resulting recommendation to adapt to the needs of different parts of a city. By using the recommendation tool to evaluate a combination of factors, light fixture recommendations were determined.

“Kasia Kozak was selected for the New York City IES thesis award by the faculty of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) based on both her excellent academic performance  as well as her work in lighting research and design. The faculty also found her master’s project to be timely, interesting, and well-conducted. She is an outstanding student, a skilled and innovative designer, and is very deserving of this award.” Nadarajah Narendran, Ph.D., head of the Graduate Program in Lighting at the LRC

Trinetra Manickavasagam is an MFA Lighting Design Graduate from Parsons School of Design, with an undergraduate degree in architecture. She believes light is a giver of form and is most interested in how light impacts human perception of a space, subconsciously. Though her interests are more design inclined, her curiosity in the technical aspects of light encouraged her to explore through her thesis, a different realm of lighting design: the technical and perceptual aspects of colour and dimming. She was also one of two recipients of the 2020 Richard Kelly Grant.

Thesis Title: The Study of Potential Colour Shifts in White LED’s While Dimming in Order to Understand the Measured Aspects of Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT) and other Colour Metrics

The lighting industry relies on metrics to report, evaluate and predict how a fixture is going to perform. The general assumption and conventional wisdom are that LEDs do not change in CCT when dimmed unless they are warm-dim technology. Is this an assumption or reality? Information regarding CCT and other properties like SPD, CRI and CIE chromaticity coordinate values of LEDs, when they are dimmed is not readily available. This study focuses on evaluating white LED’s when dimmed by evaluating the measured changes in advanced metrics like the TM-30, CIE chromaticity and CRI for different sources.

“Continuing a series of significant contributions by Parsons lighting design students conducting evidence-based design research, Trinetra has added to that trend, but under circumstances made more difficult by the pandemic.  Planning for extensive work in our Light and Energy Lab and with human subjects, she had to make major adjustments when Parsons’ classes went virtual mid-semester.  She pivoted to manufacturers shipping luminaires to her apartment, where along with controls and instrumentation we were able to provide, she was able to creatively measure their performance.  Despite this pivot her work stands out for the attention to detail and its contribution to our understanding of lighting technologies.” Craig Bernecker, Ph.D., LC, FIES,  professor of lighting design, director, MFA Lighting Design program,  Parsons School of Design

Ivan Zamora received his Master of Professional Studies in Lighting Design (MPS-L) in New York School of interior Design. He earned a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador in 2019. He is fascinated with implementing multi-disciplinary tools, technologies, and techniques when plastering his designs. After graduating he plans to work in the lighting industry and become a lighting leader.    

Thesis Title: Jordan in Nature

Nature can provide us with the most beautiful designs. Multiple phenomena of nature are implemented in this sports store. The stars, sun, moon, and thunder take over the store. Jordan represents power in its brand and combined with the dominant elements in nature, the store offers a unique experience to its customers. Three floors are part of the store, each with a unique concept: outer space, the sunrise, and the aurora borealis. Technology is in charge of transforming these elements into light fixtures that will provide staff and customers a wonderful place to shop and work.

“NYSID is proud to feature Ivan Zamora’s thesis project. He began with a strong concept for the three floors of his flagship store and has followed through with strong design choices. The resulting design is thorough, enticing and features a progression as one traverses the store.” Shaun Fillion, LC Educator IALD, MIES, Program Director | MPS-L Lighting Design

About the IESNYC

IESNYC ( is the New York City Section of the Illuminating Engineering Society.  The IESNYC is a volunteer professional membership organization whose members share a mutual appreciation for and fascination with all things lighting. They are lighting designers, architects, engineers, consultants, lighting manufacturers, lighting representatives, electrical distributors, and allied professionals. IESNYC members are dedicated to promoting the art and science of illumination engineering to their members, professionals, the lighting industry, and the public through inspiring events, informative programs and educational series, social outreach, and networking opportunities.