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Singapore provides Pullman student ‘eye-opening’ research experience

Zachary Colligan in Singapore
Zachary Colligan in Singapore.

Zachary Colligan began the first month of his master’s degree program in a unique way, immersing himself in a research abroad experience in the architecturally abundant city-state of Singapore. 

The program was sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s Center of Leadership Development in Built Environment Sustainability in partnership with Louisiana State University, the American Society of Thermal and Fluids Engineers, and the National University of Singapore.

Colligan, a WSU master of architecture student, was chosen as one of five students nationwide for the four-week program. The students were chosen based on their research proposals and then were connected with researchers in Singapore. 

“I had no idea that going to Singapore, helping with and presenting research and meeting people from around the world was a possibility,” he said. “It was a really cool experience.”

With an interest in occupant-building relationships, Colligan worked in the Building and Urban Data Science lab, a work environment rich in cultures and perspectives with students and faculty from several countries, including Switzerland, Peru and Malaysia. Working with a team from the lab, Colligan worked on a smart watch application for optimizing comfort in a built environment. The work aims to help people make their environment more comfortable while minimizing energy usage. 

He presented his research at the International Symposium on Occupant Behavior Research at the International Energy Agency (IEA) EBC Annex 79: Occupant-centric building design and operation workshop and expert meeting, an annual event that brings together experts in built environment design. He will also present at the Thermal and Fluids Engineering Conference in March, and possibly more conferences later this year.

Colligan works as a graduate research assistant in WSU’s Integrated Design and Construction Lab under the direction of Julia Day, associate professor of construction management, who co-leads Subtask 1 of the IEA EBC Annex 79. His WSU work focuses on interpersonal and person-to-building communication and its impact on occupant comfort. The Tenant Engagement Program, a campaign supported by Colligan’s work, helps to educate WSU faculty and staff on energy use of their buildings, foster sustainable building use practices, and empower individual comfort and well-being in the workplace. 

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