For the third summer, we have enjoyed having our intern, Aaron Reed, working with the ELD team. This summer, he applied for the IES St. Louis Section Scholarship, and we are pleased to announce that he is a scholarship winner. Thank you to the St. Louis Section, and congratulations to Aaron!
See below for Aaron's winning essay.
Basically what I'm trying to say is I have been around the world of lighting my entire life."
I attended my first IES meeting when I was 18 days old. It was black and white night at the Los Angeles Lumen West Awards event and I was wearing black and white stripes. All I remember was my grandma holding me up when they asked everyone to stand up who dressed up for the event. (Okay, I don’t actually remember any of it. These are just the stories I’ve heard.) When I was eight, I sat in the corner during the St. Louis IES illumination awards judging, listening pensively, plotting my own award winning design. I have now been an intern at Envision Lighting Design for the past three summers. Basically, what I’m trying to say is I have been around the world of lighting my entire life. During this time I have learned an absurd amount about light and lighting design. Light is one of the most overlooked things in our daily lives. It is all around us in many different forms and is one of the most important ways we interact with the world around us. There are different wavelengths of light which we have called colors, artificial light created by releasing energy in the form of photons, and the natural sun and moon light that make our world turn. Yet no one really takes a moment to stop and appreciate this wonderful thing. Before we had figured out how to harness the power of light, humans were at a standstill of innovation. We were limited by the twelve hours of sunlight, this being the only time someone could see or make anything. Then in 1879, Thomas Edison produced the first electric light, forever changing the course of humanity. The number of productive hours had essentially doubled as people could now work and create throughout the night. It’s tough to imagine what life would have been like had the electric light never been discovered. It would surely not be as great as it is today. Today, innovations in light are continuing to affect all of us. A lot of people don’t know that lighting affects us medically. We all have a thing called circadian rhythm which is our sleep/wake cycle. The light around us can have a major impact on this rhythm and can be instrumental to our health. One of the most common ways our brains are affected by light is from our phone and computer screens. The large amount of blue light emitted from these screens can make it more difficult to fall asleep. We will surely continue to find new ways light affects us as more innovations are made. It’s easy to overlook the importance of light, but it has a profound impact on all of our lives.
Before...I thought lighting design was just installing a light bulb in a room. Now I know it is so much more than that."
Lighting has had a personal impact on my own life. I have interned at the world-renowned lighting design firm, Envision Lighting Design, for the past three summers. This experience has helped me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It has given me a look into the professional world; I’ve discovered how lighting design works, and I’ve learned many useful skills. Being able to have a close look at how a business really runs is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned. I now realize there are an unthinkable amount of factors in making decisions and an unbelievable amount of decisions to be made. It has shown me how important communication is in the workplace. It seems like most of what is done in the office is talking with architects and distributors, or networking to try to get new projects. While interning at ELD I have been given the opportunity to solve real life problems with light. Before I got my valuable experience at ELD I thought lighting design was just installing a light bulb in a room. Now I know it is so much more than that. I have learned about things like color temperature, CRI, beam spread, and luminosity, and how they can be changed to meet your design goals. I have also learned all about the design process. Seeing the space, figuring out constraints, meeting the budget, making it look good, and then finding out they decreased the budget. I have also been able to learn many useful skills like how to build a website, a computer, and how to use Revit and AGI.
Just having people more aware of light around them will lead to better, more intentional lighting."
While I don’t know exactly what I want to major in I know good lighting will certainly play a significant role in the rest of my life. If nothing else, I will always be an advocate of a high standard of lighting. I and my family have contributed a great deal to the lighting world. My mom has been a lighting designer her entire professional career and has served on many IES committees. Her volunteer work for the community even goes beyond the IES panels; she has given many different speeches and has taught others about light and lighting design. She always tries to provide the highest quality lighting at the lowest cost. My dad works for an electrical distributor, Graybar, which is also an integral part of the lighting world. I have worked with a lighting design business and have gained the experience to know what good lighting is. I hope I can take this experience and apply it to the real world no matter what career path I go into. I am attending the Missouri University of S&T in the fall and plan on studying some kind of engineering. I want people to be able to understand the significance of light and how much it affects our lives. Just having people more aware of light around them will lead to better, more intentional lighting.
Lisa J. Reed, lighting designer and Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC