Graduating Energy and Engineering Students
This month we are shining our student spotlight on five Facilities Management Energy & Engineering student interns that will soon be graduating. Energy & Engineering is home to a number of student interns with various backgrounds who are able to get hands-on experience in the engineering field and beyond. Besides engineering internships they offer students positions in communications, data analytics, and web development just to name a few.
Joshua Morejohn, Energy Manager for Energy & Engineering sums up their internship program: “When we are hiring students, one of the main qualities we look for is motivation, which often shows in their interest and passion about energy and sustainability. The intern program is great because the students add a lot of enthusiasm to our team and they are eager to learn and will tackle anything we throw their way – whether it is counting light fixtures or building an energy model of the campus or programming Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system schedules or control algorithms.”
Meet Jake Morisato, a senior majoring in Civil Engineering, who has worked in Energy & Engineering as a Green Buildings intern for the past two years. He has been working with a team of other interns to certify buildings with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is a green building certification system). Jake and the team analyze utilities data and conduct building audits. He has been working on writing building narratives that provide LEED reviewers an explanation of the building, including how many floors, square footage of the building, age, and more. He also inputs energy information in the LEED database for certification on campus buildings. He is responsible for collecting water usage data and comparing it to national baseline averages. Recently, he has been involved with sustainability credits (more credits achieved equals a higher ranking) such as "Heat-Island Reduction" and "Site Management".
Jake says his favorite part of the job is “working with his team. They are so enjoyable to work with and are always willing to help.”
Jake is planning to go to work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after graduation. In the meantime, you can certainly catch him surfing, playing with his Labrador retriever Lambeau, or enjoying a bowl of ramen or plate of sushi.
Michelle Acoba, a senior majoring in Electrical Engineering, has worked in Energy & Engineering as an intern for the past two years. Recently she has been working with the Energy Feedback team to match air-handling units (AHU) to rooms in various buildings on campus. This is necessary to be able to capture feedback from people in rooms and identify which air handler serves their space. It also helps us have an accurate inventory of all AHUs on campus and will help us track feedback for each unit.
Michelle says her favorite part of the job is that she loves how she gets to participate in a variety of tasks, from making an award-winning video about the campus’ Big Shift project, to coding, and to making Ethernet cables.
Michelle will be joining the team at Intel after graduation. Currently if Michelle is not focused on her studies or working, you may find her on the volleyball court. She also sings and plays the piano. If that is not enough to keep her busy, Michelle also enjoys cooking new dishes. That is music to our ears here at Facilities Management.
Meet Teak Hahn, a fourth-year student majoring in Environmental Science and Management. Teak has worked in Energy & Engineering as a Green Buildings intern for the past year and a half. In her current role, she is looking into the LEED credits that UC Davis can pursue for various existing building projects. Teak and the team gather or create documentation to show compliance with those LEED credits. The LEED rankings are then certified; bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. The team is dedicated to pursue as many credits as possible. Teak and the Green Buildings team can proudly boast a new “Gold” level certification for the Shields Library. She also creates data visualizations, edits the university's sustainable policy guidelines and writes case studies for recently certified buildings.
Teak says her favorite part of the job is that there is always something new to learn, both from her own work as well as from colleagues. She says that ECO has a great team with many different and unique specializations, and that they all come together to improve the university, one day at a time.
Teak is hoping to become an environmental consultant or wildlife conservationist after she receives her degree. She is keeping an open mind as she enters the job market because the possibilities are endless. A fun fact about Teak is that she has been playing water polo since 2013. Teak also enjoys games of all types, including spike ball, along with hammocking with friends and family.
Maria Katherine is a fourth-year student majoring in Electrical Engineering. Maria has worked in Energy & Engineering for the last year. Her duties include supporting engineers with data gathering, analysis, and management of small projects. She has also been working on the adjustment of HVAC operation schedules to accommodate changes in on-campus events and activities. Maria assists in finding faults and inefficiencies in the HVAC systems, and investigates opportunities for energy and comfort improvements.
Maria says her favorite part of the job is learning from engineers. “It's a privilege to help make their jobs a little easier, especially knowing the tasks I do have a direct impact on UC Davis's ability to reach carbon neutrality by 2025.”
After graduation, Maria hopes to pursue a career in the power and energy technologies field to promote sustainable power generation. When Maria is not focused on her studies or working, you may find her scrapbooking or practicing her photography and video editing skills. Some day she hopes to design her own zero net energy home and vertical farming system.
Meet Rhys Davis, a student in the Energy Graduate Group getting his Master of Science degree in Energy Systems. Rhys has worked in Energy & Engineering as a Graduate Student Researcher since July 2019. He says he has been lucky to work on several projects during his time with the ECO office, including managing the small workspace HVAC monitoring program called SWARM (Small Workspace Air and Remote Monitoring). His main focus in 2021 has been developing and helping teach the Pathway to Zero Net Energy course where he uses campus buildings and projects to teach building energy fundamentals and project management to students with a wide variety of backgrounds.
Rhys says he loves the intersection of building science, education and outreach, and real-world retrofit projects that are involved in his job. He gets to know the campus and the people who work here by visiting buildings of all sizes and uses for his position, and he gets to see the results in energy savings and occupant satisfaction of the work he participates in firsthand. He gets to treat the campus as his living laboratory in an attempt to save energy while always centering on the people that actually work and learn in the buildings. Rhys is currently applying for positions with several employers. Rhys says he hopes to work at a place that gives him space to work on creative carbon-saving solutions while offering the ability to see the direct results of his work put into practice.
Rhys is a fan of food; he worked as a farmhand in central Virginia before coming to Davis. He loves gardening and tinkering with how much he can grow in a small area. He also bakes sourdough bread and experiments with recipes. He has been using his partner and roommates as his tasters and says that they are very kind with their feedback when the batches have been less than edible.
As the graduating student employees take their experiences and move to the next chapter of their lives, the ECO team is thankful for the interns’ valuable contributions, and will continue to offer unique opportunities to other students. Joshua Morejohn stated, “Our projects can give good experience to students no matter what field they are majoring in, and they all bring a unique perspective and skillset to our team depending on their background and interests.”
To all of the Facilities Management student employees who are graduating, congratulations! We hope that you will think back at your time at UC Davis and smile. We know you will do great things for the global community. Good luck to all of you.