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Troy, N.Y. -  5/28/2013

LRC Student Receives Sylvan R. Shemitz Memorial Scholarship

Therapy pool rendering; click for larger image.
Besenecker’s therapy pool lighting design creates a relaxing and soothing environment with white, light blue and blue-green tones. The ceiling glows and wave patterns are projected on the back wall.
Ute Besenecker, a graduate student pursuing her doctoral degree in architectural sciences with a concentration in lighting at Rensselaer’s Lighting Research Center (LRC) is the recipient of the Sylvan R. Shemitz Memorial Scholarship. This is the third year in a row that an LRC student won the first prize in this national competition. Kate Sweater won in 2011, and Anna Lok in 2012.
The Lighting Quotient, a leading architectural lighting manufacturer, announced that Besenecker won the annual scholarship, awarded in conjunction with the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). The award grants $2,500 to one student who demonstrates creativity, vision and knowledge in the field of architectural lighting.
“Ute’s scholarship submission was selected due to her appropriate fixture selection and creative design,” said Allison Schieffelin Walker, President and CEO, The Lighting Quotient.  “The results of her work are perfectly illuminated spaces that are also visually comforting and pleasing, and a perfect example of the important role lighting plays in any environment.”
To enter, students crafted complete lighting design plans based on specifications provided by The Lighting Quotient and IES, for four areas of a polytrauma rehabilitation center: the exterior entry canopy, the entrance lobby, the therapy pool area, and the rehabilitation gymnasium.
Besenecker’s design objective was to create a nurturing atmosphere that encourages physical and emotional healing. She designed lighting to support visual performance for people with impaired vision, and avoid glare and harsh visual distractions, by using indirect, diffuse and shielded fixtures. She also incorporated lighting for wayfinding which helps people to orient and reduces falls and other injuries. 
Dimmable long-life fixtures were selected to provide high illumination during morning and daytime, and lower light levels in the evening to support the circadian system and reduce energy use. Her design also incorporated daylight harvesting for energy savings. 
About the Sylvan R. Shemitz Memorial Scholarship
A scholarship in the amount of $2,500 is awarded annually to one student who demonstrates creativity, vision and knowledge in the field of architectural lighting. This award honors the legacy of lighting pioneer and IES member Sylvan R. Shemitz, FIES. As founder of Sylvan R. Shemitz Designs, Inc., now known as The Lighting Quotient, Shemitz patented many major innovations in asymmetric lighting, including elliptipar, and then invented tambient, the first single-source task/ambient lighting solution. Throughout his career, Sy was a mentor to many young designers. This scholarship is offered in an effort to perpetuate his passion for good lighting through the practitioners of the future.

About the Lighting Research Center
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the world's leading center for lighting research and education. Established in 1988 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC conducts research in light and human health, transportation lighting and safety, solid-state lighting, energy efficiency, and plant health. LRC lighting scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in research, technology, design, and human factors, collaborate with a global network of leading manufacturers and government agencies, developing innovative lighting solutions for projects that range from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to U.S. Navy submarines to hospital neonatal intensive-care units. In 1990, the LRC became the first university research center to offer graduate degrees in lighting and today, offers a M.S. in lighting and a Ph.D. to educate future leaders in lighting. Learn more at

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America's first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.