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Winter 2010
Lighting Research Center Announces Besal Lighting Education Fund Award Recipient

Sara NonakaSara Nonaka, a graduate student pursuing her Master’s of Science in Lighting at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center (LRC), was selected to receive one of five national scholarships from the Besal Lighting Education Fund, which aspires to encourage talented and committed students to pursue a career in the lighting industry.

As a 2009-2010 Robert J. Besal Fund Scholarship recipient, Nonaka will receive funds to support her graduate studies.  Funds are used to offset the cost of tuition for students that show a proficiency and appreciation for lighting-related topics. The scholarship is merit-based and is determined completely by academic excellence.

For the Besal scholarship application, Nonaka provided an energy-efficient lighting renovation proposal for a Fresno County School District elementary school in California, which currently has lighting that is over 15 years old.  Her work included conceptual renderings and luminaire selections for key areas of the K-12 schools, including classrooms, hallways, cafeteria, and the gymnasium.

Previously, Nonaka was a recipient of the Lighting Design Alliance Scholarship in 2009, from the International Association of Lighting Designers.  At the LRC she is studying the effects of daylight on the circadian systems of middle school aged students under the direction of Professors Russ Leslie and Mariana Figuiero.

“Sara Nonaka has demonstrated a strong enthusiasm and understanding for lighting research and design. The Lighting Research Center is pleased to work with her and support her as a future industry leader,” said Leslie, LRC associate director.

Nonaka is from Concord, California.  She has her Bachelor of Arts degree in design from the University of California, Davis.

About the Besal Lighting Education Fund
The Besal Lighting Education Fund has awarded over $500,000 in scholarships to students in order to encourage talented and committed students to pursue a career in the lighting industry.  The Besal Fund was established in 1983 as a nonprofit endowed fund, in honor of the late Robert J. Besal, whose 30 years of service in the lighting industry demonstrated knowledge, professionalism, and service. The Besal Fund is made possible by contributions from Acuity Brands Lighting, its sales representatives, and employees. Acuity Brands Lighting is North America’s largest manufacturer of lighting equipment for commercial, industrial, outdoor, and residential application.


About the Lighting Research Center

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world's premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master's programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. Visit

Contact:lrcnewsletter@rpi.eduPhotos & Graphics:Dennis Guyon
Editor:Dennis GuyonWeb Production: Christine Kingery
Contributing Writers:Christine Kingery, Mary Cimo, Dennis Guyon
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