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Troy, N.Y. -  6/7/2013

LRC Student Receives Illuminating Engineering Society Graduate Grant

Photo of ErinErin Ryan, a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in lighting at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the recipient of a $15,000 Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Graduate Grant. The grant program encourages advanced scholarly work in the field of lighting design and illuminating engineering by funding student research projects leading to advanced degrees.
Ryan will investigate the relationship between daytime light exposure and performance, and look at the effects of chronic daytime circadian light deprivation on performance.
“We all know through personal experience that our environment impacts our behavior and mood,” said Ryan. “Humans spend considerable time indoors where environmental factors such as lighting are often not taken into consideration. We as humans can be impacted negatively when designs do not take into account these environmental factors.”
LRC Light and Health researchers have studied the effect of light on alertness both during the day and at night. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects are not fully understood.
“Erin has proven herself as an excellent student and intuitive researcher. As her advisor, I have been impressed with her enthusiasm, interest, and understanding of the subject matter and her willingness to assist in the research and design work that we are doing,” said Mariana Figueiro, LRC Light and Health Program director and associate professor at Rensselaer. “I expect her research to yield interesting results that will ultimately help us to design better working environments for people.”  
“IES has a strategic goal of promoting lighting research in order to advance the art and science of applied lighting,” said Rita Harrold, IES Director of Technology. “This year the Society has initiated a Graduate Student Grant Program to provide funding support for student research projects leading to advanced degrees. Congratulations to Erin for receiving one of the first awards to be granted.” 

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.