Q & A with Kate Goldstein, NESEA member and Emerging Professional

Kate Goldstein, NESEA member, BE11 Planning Committee Member and current PhD candidate in engineering at MIT

Today we’re talking to Kate Goldstein, a young NESEA member from Providence, RI, and a PhD candidate at MIT, about how she came to be involved with the organization and what NESEA has meant to her professionally and personally. This is part one of a two part conversation with Kate (pictured, right). In part two, she’ll talk about her efforts on behalf of Emerging Professionals at the BuildingEnergy Conference.

As always, we hope these Q & As will provide you with some insights about what you can expect from this year’s conference and the people who are making it happen.

Q: What are you studying at MIT, Kate?
A: Very broadly I study energy in buildings. I am in the Building Technology graduate program which is housed in the architecture department but is essentially a cross between a traditional mechanical engineering and architectural engineering department. Most of my class-work, and the core of my research, is in heat transfer and fluid mechanics.

Q: How did you first come to know about/hear about NESEA?
A: My earliest email concerning NESEA is dated early March of 2008, which was right before the BuildingEnergy Conference during my junior year of college at Brown University. Kurt Teichert introduced me to NESEA, and the NESEA community.

Kurt is a professor at Brown in the Environmental Studies department, and he was the first person to get me passionate about energy in buildings. I am actually quite indebted to him, since when I entered his classroom I wasn’t quite sure where I was going or where I belonged. Kurt always stresses to his students the importance of developing relationships within the field. He strongly encourages networking and grounding oneself in the community around what you do. In my couple of semesters with him at Brown I attended two BuildingEnergy conferences and one Greenbuild conference and met a wide network of local community members in Providence who were really implementing what we talked about it the classroom.

Q: What are you gaining from your association with NESEA?
A: That’s a pretty loaded question and the simplest answer is that NESEA makes me really happy. I am on the planning committee for the BuildingEnergy Conference and I can honestly say that I have not regretted one moment of time I have spent there. I have had the opportunity to meet the best and brightest and funniest and warmest in the field from all over the Northeast. I have been given the great gift of feeling appreciated; whatever I do for NESEA, large or small, I am thanked by a network from NESEA staff to architects, engineers, builders, business people, and so many more. This is one of the most gratifying feelings as my everyday life is fairly stressful, and research is a long road that requires a lot of patience and a lot of tolerance for confusion. I get whatever I give at NESEA. I can’t say that about any other organization for which I’ve worked.

Q: You wrote an article for Northeast Sun recently. What made you decide to write it, and what was it about?
A: I wrote the article because of what I saw personally in the field, and what I heard talked about time and again at NESEA: the great barrier in communication between architects and engineers. At the time, I was living with and dating an architect, and we were thus living the “crossing of the streams”. I thought I could offer an interesting perspective about the importance of giving all you had to making things work. From learning to listen, to learning to be patient, to learning to be able to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

I think the Sun is a great magazine, but I would really love to see more personal essays and articles within it so that the rest of NESEA can be exposed to the amazing people I have the opportunity to work with and talk to every day.

(In part two next Wednesday, Kate talks about Emerging Professionals at the BuildingEnergy Conference.)

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