Student Recaps from Winter Conference

We had a great Region X turnout at the Winter Conference last month, especially from Student Members! A couple students from the Golden Gate Chapter area have provided recaps from their experiences at the conference. If your Chapter isn't sending Student Members to Winter Conference it may be something you want to consider for next year, and asking those students to provide recaps is a great idea too. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me (

Alex Nutkiewicsz (left) and Megan Dawe (right)

Recap from Alex Nutkiewicz

Standford University, PhD student: Urban Informatics Lab

Hello fellow ASHRAE members!

I’m Alex Nutkiewicz, and I am a first year PhD student at Stanford working in the Urban Informatics Lab. It’s been about a month since I attended the ASHRAE winter conference in Chicago. As a Southern California native it seemed somewhat uncivilized to be walking on Michigan Avenue in 26-degree weather. Although the noise from my teeth chattering made it difficult to think, I was able to wonder why a scientific society whose mission is to advance human well-being would schedule a conference next to Lake Michigan in the dead of winter. I guess I have a lot to learn.

I sat in on many technical sessions trying to absorb the amazing research in thermal comfort and urban-scale energy modeling - my PhD area of focus. However, I came away from the conference experiencing so much more than that. I was excited to talk with ASHRAE members about how the field has changed over the years and what makes them enthusiastic for the future. I was especially able to visualize their passion at the AHR Expo where I barely managed not to get lost amongst the thousands of booths ranging from air handlers to zone control systems.

One of my favorite parts of the conference was being able to sit in on the Technical Committees. Erik Kolderup, who first taught me about energy modeling, and the rest of the 4.7 Technical Committee on Simulation & Component Modeling, made me feel very welcome, despite easily being the youngest, least experienced person in the room. And, despite my age difference, I didn’t shy from participating in a