Posts tagged with "UC Berkeley":

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Autodesk invests in prefab home startup to help with disaster housing

Autodesk is making a bet on the future of prefabrication for disaster housing with an investment in FactoryOS and the company’s California-based “Rapid Response Factory.” In addition to allowing the startup to begin experimenting with constructing post-natural disaster homes on the factory floor, the funding will reportedly allow the Bay Area startup to create a Factory Floor Learning Center that will focus on housing policy in partnership with UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation. FactoryOS founder Rick Holiday explained to Fast Company that after several major natural disasters in California, like the recent forest fires, he received requests to build disaster housing; however, the company was not equipped to meet that demand, nor to build the smaller homes required. Thanks to the investment from Autodesk, Holiday told Fast Company that FactoryOS is “going to explore if [they] can create a standardized unit that could be used for supportive housing, or could be stitched together to create a small-to-medium to a larger-sized building after a natural disaster quickly.” FactoryOS has been able to streamline homebuilding through vertically integrating the construction process and creating a factory floor that can be used in all weather by union labor while easily integrating digital design and manufacturing. They claim that this precision has allowed them to reduce waste over traditional construction by as much as 40 percent, and costs by over 30 percent. The company believes that prefabrication could be a major answer during this time of national housing crises, when productivity in construction is not only stagnating but decreasing. At the moment, FactoryOS reports that they can create four-to-six apartment units in a day, however, with their continued growth and the addition of the Rapid Response Factory, they are hoping to bring that number up to as many as 16 units in 2021. According to Fast Company, this new deal will also require intensive data collection and tracking of social impact metrics, as well as environmental impact and cost. FactoryOS, which previously received an investment from Alphabet, has also just received an influx of cash from a Citigroup-funded incubator focused on affordable housing, according to The Verge's weekly newsletter.
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Vishaan Chakrabarti named dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design

Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) founder Vishaan Chakrabarti is taking his ideas to the left coast.

Chakrabarti announced yesterday that he will be the next Dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design (CED) starting in July of 2020, a post that was previously held by Jennifer Wolch. He is founding an outpost of his PAU practice in California, and leaving the New York office in the hands of Ruchika Modi, the office's associate partner and studio director.

In a letter, Chakrabarti noted that the appointment would give "jet fuel" to PAU and enable it to go after institutional and cultural projects. The firm is behind the redevelopment of the Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn into high-end office space, a proposed Penn Station transformation, and a master plan for the sprawling Sunnyside Yard in Queens. "CED and PAU also perfectly mirror each other in terms of their twin pillars of design excellence and social impact," reads the open letter. "This is why Berkeley was excited at the thought of a practitioner dean consistent with the top design schools around the world." "Berkeley approached me about this in January, and after much discussion both at home and in the office, we all decided this would add jet fuel to our practice and our desires to design buildings for universities and cultural institutions, and would add adventure to our personal lives. California itself is extraordinary, and is also the gateway to all of the west coast and Pacific Rim. "One final note: I love New York and I always will. In my heart I am not going anywhere, and at the end of either a five or ten-year term as Dean, I may well be back ready to take on even bigger challenges here in the Big Apple."

In addition to running his firm, Chakrabarti is currently an associate professor of professional practice at Columbia GSAPP, a position he has held for the past decade.

Between now and 2020, professor Renee Chow will serve as interim dean of CED.

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Designing Justice + Designing Spaces cofounder wins 2018 Berkeley-Rupp Prize

Today, the University of California, Berkeley, announced Deanna Van Buren, co-founder of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces (DJDS), as the recipient of this year’s Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Professorship and Prize. An award honoring architects or academics who show a commitment to sustainability and the community, it offers up the chance to teach and conduct research for a semester at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design (CED). Van Buren is the mind behind DJDS, an Oakland-based nonprofit aiming to holistically transform the American jail system through a vision called restorative justice. As a national leader and advocate for smart justice architecture, her work zeroes in on supportive justice interventions that can help solve the serious issues caused by mass incarceration. Her architecture and real estate development practice, which she launched with Kyle Rawlins in 2015, works with government, non-profit, and community partners to spread awareness and create design projects that address social justice needs. “Deanna is a visionary leader, whose design work and activism are reshaping the cultural construct of justice in the U.S.,” said CED Dean Jennifer Wolch in a statement. “Her support for underserved communities, and efforts to create spaces that cultivate diversity in our field, exemplify the values we strive to encourage with this prize.”
  Van Buren’s extensive background showcases her commitment to the role of architect-activist. Last November, she spoke at a TEDWomen conference where she challenged the audience to consider what the world would like without prisons, and what we could build in their place. Before beginning DJDS, Van Buren founded the public interest design studio FOURM, and earlier this year started BIG Oakland, a new co-working space for minority- and women-owned architecture, engineering, and construction companies. Van Buren previously held positions at Perkins+Will, The Buchan Group, and Eric R. Kuhn & Associates where she completed institutional, educational, and urban design projects around the world. Her portfolio with DJDS includes a handful of peacemaking centers, roving villages, and housing units for youth in both Syracuse and Oakland, among other places. Her latest project is Restore Oakland, a restorative justice and economics center in East Oakland that, when open next spring, will be the first of its kind in the United States. Her team also recently launched the Pop-Up Resource Village in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, which brings resources and dynamic programming to in-need communities of color via mobile architecture and nature. Van Buren believes in the power of design and creative placemaking as means to help keep people out of the jail system and provide room for healing as well as training on the systemic injustices that stem from inequality. “Architecture is a potent medium for shifting and solidifying and fomenting movements,” she said. “We can’t do much without space. We can’t launch movements without a place for us to gather that is safe and nourishing.” Among her many accolades, Van Buren is the only architect to have ever been awarded the Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship, and she’s also held the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. As part of the Berkeley-Rupp Professorship and Prize, she will be awarded $100,000 and the visiting professorship at UC Berkeley starting next fall. There she’ll focus on a book project and teach an intensive seminar that explores architectural responses for peace-building. She’ll also give a public lecture and hold a gallery exhibition. Past recipients of the Berkeley-Rupp prize include Carme Pinós in 2016, Sheila Kennedy in 2014, and Deborah Berke in 2012.
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Renee Y. Chow named new Department of Architecture chair at UC Berkeley

The College of Environmental Design (CED) at the University of California, Berkeley, has named professor of architecture and urban design Renee Y. Chow as its new Department of Architecture chair. Chow has taught at the CED since 1993 and was the associate dean for undergraduate studies at the college before beginning her current tenure in July. Chow held the Eva Li Chair in Design Ethics between 2005 and 2010 at CED, as well. Chow earned her M.Arch I and SBAD degrees from the Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT) and has also previously taught at MIT. Chow is also principal of Studio URBIS, an architecture and urban design practice formed in collaboration with her partner, Thomas Chastain. Projects completed with Studio URBIS include single- and multi-family structures, institutional and commercial buildings, and several development plans and studies. In a press release announcing her appointment, Chow remarked, "I hope to immediately strengthen our connections with the larger CED community—including professionals and alumni and with residents and agencies in the Bay Area." Chow added, "I want the Department of Architecture to be seen as a resource and a partner in exploring the future of architecture and environmental design." Chow has taught for over 25 years at the university. During this time, she has taught beginning and advanced design studios, design seminars, and housing seminars. Her practice and research focus on the “intersection between architecture and its locale,” according to the press release. Chow is the author of Suburban Space: The Fabric of Dwelling and Changing Chinese Cities: The Potentials of Field Urbanism, two works that interrogate the urban challenges of the 21st century and issues that arise from those challenges, including rising density in China, and environmental sustainability and urban diversity in the United States. CED dean Jennifer Wolch praised Chow in a statement as “one of the most highly-regarded educators in the field of architecture today.” Wolch added,  “At a time when technological innovation is reshaping the field, the design education and training of architects require clear vision and values. I'm delighted that Renee will be leading the College of Environmental Design's Department of Architecture."
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UC Berkeley suspends architecture professor for sexual harassment

UC Berkeley has suspended Nezar AlSayyad, professor of architecture, city planning, urban design, and urban history as punishment for "a pattern of sexual harassment," in the words of Benjamin Hermalin, vice provost at the school. The decision was reported today by the San Francisco Chronicle, after apparently having been made public by the school this month. The professor will remain on leave for three years and is planned to return to the school in the fall of 2021, according to his profile page on the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design website. As the Chronicle reported, AlSayyad's suspension centered around his abuse of his former student, Eva Hagberg Fisher. She originally brought forth accusations against him in 2016, and it has taken three years for the school to make a decision about the case. AlSayyad has been barred from teaching since Hagberg Fisher came forward, but the Chronicle says that he had continued to receive his six-figure salary since then. The faculty senate at Berkeley decided the case, and they originally recommended that AlSayyad be suspended for one year after finding that the professor had indeed harassed Hagberg Fisher and created a hostile environment for other faculty and students at the school. Carol Christ, chancellor of the school and the last word on disciplinary measures, decided to triple the length of the leave. Because AlSayyad is a tenured faculty member, it would likely be difficult to fire him or suspend him indefinitely. The Chronicle reports that AlSayyad and his lawyer are considering retaliatory legal action.
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In memoriam: Landscape architect Ron Herman

The award-winning San Francisco Bay Area landscape architect Ron Herman has passed away.  The University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design (CED) announced Herman’s passing in a post on its website earlier this week. Herman, an alumnus of the school, graduated in 1964 with a Bachelors in Landscape Architecture. The designer practiced in the Bay Area for over 35 years and created over 400 full-scale gardens during this time. Herman’s designs included some of the country’s largest and most intricate residential gardens, including Japanese garden-inspired designs for the 25-acre site surrounding the home of Silicon Valley billionaire Lawrence Ellison. Herman grew up in Hollywood, where his father owned a plant nursery. As a child, Herman helped his father install gardens at the homes of rarefied clients, including celebrities Phil Silvers and Steve Allen. After graduating from CED, Herman studied Japanese garden design at Kyoto University in Japan for three years. While there, Herman grew inspired by the tension between regimented and organic forms inherent in traditional Japanese garden design. Herman brought this sensibility back home, imbuing his works with a mix of formal and informal sequences of spaces and plantings.  Like his father, Herman’s list of clients included a whos-who of celebrities and prominent individuals and companies, including the professional football player Joe Montana, Neil Young, and Ellison’s company, Oracle. Herman also designed the garden for the East Wing addition by I.M. Pei to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. In a 2002 profile, Herman summed up his philosophy to SF Gate: “A successful garden doesn't show itself all at once...there needs to be an integration or relationship between indoors and out—such as a room that opens onto the garden."
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Sightings at the Venice Biennale and news from the UC Berkeley expansion

Eavesdrop from Venice We were wondering if we would see any celebs in Venice this year—perhaps Brad Pitt and Neri Oxman would be strolling the Giardini, or maybe Kanye West would show up at the Arsenale. But instead, AN editors ran into none other than legendary comedian and actor Chevy Chase, who was spending the week at the Biennale. Chase was in town because his old friend, photographer Peter Aaron, was showing a series of pictures about pre-Civil War Syria. Aaron’s wife wasn’t able to make the trip, so Chevy—an old college friend—came with him. The pair was spotted dining with the Architectural League’s Anne Reiselbach at a small osteria in the San Polo neighborhood. What national pavilion at the Venice Biennale seemingly featured more Americans than the U.S. Pavilion? The Dutch! With GSAPP’s curatorial program—including Mark Wasiuta, Felicity Scott, and Dutch Pavilion curator and CCCP grad Marina Otera—talking to themselves and their friends, as well as Beatriz Colomina in bed with other (mostly New York) friends, it seemed more like a U.S. academy than the actual U.S. pavilion. Now that Eva Franch i Gilabert is packing up her paella pans and heading to Brexitland, the Storefront for Art and Architecture needs a new director. It is currently assembling a list of prospective directors from over 100 applicants. A new director will need to be in place by early fall. In the world of architects’ archives, two of the biggest have recently been promised to major collecting organizations, and we will reveal them shortly. Stay tuned. People's Park No More
The University of California, Berkeley recently announced intentions to make good on a 70-year-old plan to convert the university’s People’s Park into a student housing site. The school hopes to replace the notorious park—site of the 1969 “Bloody Thursday” police violence incident—with new student housing structures containing up to 1,000 beds. The move will displace many of the people currently living in and around the park, which officials have likened to a “daytime homeless shelter.” Plans for the site are still in the works, but the university is considering dedicating a portion of the site to supportive housing and social services. The housing is due to be completed by 2022, according to a UC Berkeley spokesperson.
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Hans Hollein's son is tapped as the Met's new director

Max Hollein, an Austrian-born museum director, is set to take over the Metropolitan Museum of Art's directorship. Hollein's appointment follows the tumultuous departure of Thomas P. Campbell in 2017, a period noted for lagging financial growth and deferred maintenance. Since Campbell’s departure, the Met has been led by interim director Daniel H. Weiss, who will retain his position as the museum’s CEO. As the Met's tenth director, Hollein will be the first recruited from outside the Met's curatorial ranks in over six decades. Hollein's new job managing the largest art museum in America entails a broad set of responsibilities. The Wall Street Journal describes the position as a mix of "curator, lawyer, and diplomat," charged with managing a 2,200-person staff, overseeing maintenance of the Met's millions of objects, and leading approximately 40 exhibits annually. The new director’s proficiency in both modern and classical art may be partially influenced by his father, the late Pritzker-Prize winning architect Hans Hollein. Hans, who graduated from the University of California Berkeley in 1960, was a world-renowned postmodern architect. As noted by The Guardian, the Austrian architect was known for mixing forms and materials with overstated historicist references, creating one-of-a-kind projects such as Vienna’s Haas Haus. As reported by the New York Times, Max Hollein has worked as a museum director since the age of 31, stacking his directorship credentials with tenures at Frankfurt’s Stadel Museum, Schirn Kunsthalle and Liebieghaus. Hollein will be departing his position at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, where he has served as director since 2016. While his tenure at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco lasted just two years, Hollein has received praise for his leadership there. In a profile of Max Hollein published by The New Yorker, the young director is cited as boosting the museum’s digital programs through free online courses, as well as through more outlandish schemes such as creating a crossover between the popular video game Minecraft and the former exhibition “Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire.”
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The Graham Foundation announces 2017 Carter Manny Awards for architectural scholarship

The Graham Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Carter Manny Awards. Founded to recognize promising doctoral students engaged in advanced scholarship in architecture, the awards are given to two recipients for writing and research each year. Since 1996, the award has provided over $775,000 to PhD candidates. This year’s winners are James Graham of Columbia University for writing, and Razieh Ghorbani of UC Berkeley for research. James Graham’s dissertation, "The Psychotechnical Architect: Perception, Vocation, and the Laboratory Cultures of Modernism, 1914–1945," examines the influence of psychology on architectural pedagogy and practice during the period between the world wars. The research focuses on the rise of the interrelation of psychology, vocational education, and occupational therapy, all of which saw a rise in the mid-20th century. Comparisons are also explored as these fields are applied to architecture in the Soviet Union, the United States, and Germany. Ghorbani’s dissertation, entitled "The Space of Sanctions: Architecture and Construction in Contemporary Iran," looks at the “culture of sanctions” and its effect on architectural practice in Iran. Rather than a strictly political or economic understanding of sanctions, Ghorbani’s work explores the material and special implications of forced austerity. In particular, the research looks at how sanctions have transformed the way in which the design and building industries perform culturally and socially. This year the awards were also extended to three citations of special recognition. These three awards went to Kera Lovell of Purdue University, Nikki Moore of Rice University, and Matthew Mullane of Princeton University. The Graham Foundation awards three categories of grants each year to dozens of architects, designers, historians, and academics. Over the past 60 years, the foundation has awarded millions of dollars to support research in architecture.
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A forgotten psychology study of famous midcentury architects gets its due in new book

In his new book The Creative Architect: Inside the Great Midcentury Personality Study, Pierluigi Serraino writes about a forgotten psychology study of well-known creative people that U.C. Berkeley’s Institute for Personality Assessment and Research conducted in the late 1950s. In addition to writers and scientists, participants included Eero Saarinen, Louis Kahn, I.M. Pei, Philip Johnson, and dozens of other major architects of the day.

The Architect’s Newspaper: How did you find out about the studies that became the basis of this book?

Pierluigi Serraino: From different sources. A large part of it was a result of spending time with Don Olsen when I was working on NorCalMod: Icons of Northern California Modernism and then on my monograph on him. Also, Jack Hillmer told me Charles Warren Callister was in the creativity study. The daughter of Fred Langhorst told me about her dad coming home from participating in the study and telling them about this absurd problem the study posed, how to put a third arm to use. Raymond Neutra told me that he had seen the study’s files about his father and that he knew where they were.

Where was the material stored?

U.C. Berkeley has a large storage facility in Richmond, California. The archives are in a little room filled with file cabinets.

When I ran into Neutra, he told me that he had met Wallace Hall. Hall was the right-hand man to Donald MacKinnon, the director of the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research, a research institute at U.C. Berkeley, better known as IPAR. I called Hall. He was very old and in declining health. He said that they had wanted to do a book.

Hall was the gatekeeper of everything IPAR. He wouldn’t give access to anybody. So when he died, no one had a vested interest any longer.

Why do you think the well-known architects of the day participated in the study?

It was largely due to the political clout of William Wurster, whom MacKinnon asked to reach out to the architects. Wurster was an important architect himself, and he was dean of the College of Environmental Design at Berkeley.

Who funded the study?

The Carnegie Corporation. IPAR applied for a large grant in November of 1955. The people who were at the top of the funding agencies for these kinds of studies were in the Office of Strategic Services [OSS, a precursor to the CIA] and worked at the same OSS station together during the war, performing assessment studies of troops. They assessed candidates for very delicate missions.

Why did the Carnegie Corporation want to do this study?

It was the result of the Cold War. The researchers changed gears completely. There was a shift from studying human effectiveness to studying creativity in general. There was a desire to identify the folks who were going to be the most creative people, so that the U.S. could have a competitive advantage against the Russians. It was deeply nationalistic, if you think about it.

Why was the study not published?

That is the biggest mystery of all. Territoriality and politics about authorship of the study, perhaps. I think they strung this thing along too long and they lost the momentum.

Also, in the 1970s, there was a shift in the conception of personalities: Maybe it’s not just about the person, maybe it’s also the environment. Psychologists started thinking they were giving too much credit to the individual.

Describe the Mosaic Construction Test.

The architects were given tiles and told to create an eight-by-ten-inch mosaic. They also had a form that they had to fill out, answering questions about the intentions behind what they were doing.

The mosaics reveal that the creative person explores colors and fields in a non-formulaic approach. Some very creative architects did some rather dull mosaics, so it’s an imperfect procedure. For example, John Funk, who did the Heckendorf house in Modesto, did a very uninteresting mosaic. Victor Lundy’s was really superb, just very lyrical. He was a fantastic architect. Louis Kahn used some rather gloomy colors—there’s some darkness in it. I have to say, Neutra’s wasn’t interesting.

There is the famous story, reported by Charles Eames in 1963, about why Eero Saarinen used only white tiles. Apparently, Saarinen said, “I use only white, because I’m interested in texture.”

Did the researchers come to a conclusion about creativity as a result of this study?

Yes, but the conclusions were broad. One of them was that the creative person is not teamwork material. And in corporate society, this doesn’t sit well. What are we going to do with that? Are we going to have a bunch of people who do whatever they want?

Courage may be the great differentiator. You can have the intelligence, the talent, the intuition. But you have to have the courage to act on your instincts. You have to create conditions to do the work that you deem necessary, based on your aspirations, your vision. The condition of creativity is that you have to sustain the vision that you have for very long time, because you have a very long period where people resist you.

So who is the creative person?

Everybody has a capacity to be creative. This is a capacity that we always have at birth and we lose. We lose the authenticity of who we are. In a way, the message of this book has to do with life choices. What do we want to do with our lives? The creative person is someone who picks one field and explores it to its full extent.

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Carme Pinós awarded Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Professorship and Prize

Carme Pinós, the award-winning Spanish architect and academic, has been named the recipient of this year’s Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Professorship and Prize. The award, bestowed by the University of California, Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design (CED), highlights the accomplishments of a “distinguished design practitioner or academic who has made a significant contribution to advancing gender equity in architecture, and whose work emphasizes a commitment to sustainability and community,” according to a press release by the CED. The prize includes a $100,000 award, a one-year professorship at the school, and a public lecture and gallery exhibition also to be held at the school. In announcing the prize, CED Dean Jennifer Wolch praised Pinós’s studied and broadly-based portfolio of work, stating, “Her outstanding design, vibrant intellectualism, dedication to public architecture and landscape in the public realm, and support of women-led economic development embody all that we strive to cultivate with this prize.” Pinós founded her namesake firm in 1991 after garnering high regard with the designs for the Crematorium at Igualada Cemetery in Barcelona, Spain with Enric Miralles. Recent works include the Caixa Forum Zaragosa in Zaragosa, Spain as well as the Cube I and Cube II office towers in Guadalajara, Mexico. Among many other projects, Pinós’s office is currently designing a master plan the French town of Saint Dizier. Pinós will begin her residence at CED during the spring semester of 2018 and will utilize a semester-long graduate research studio to conduct inquiries into one of her latest projects, which, through a partnership with Albert Faus and support from the Ministèrie de L’Habitat et de l’Urbanisme du Burkina Faso, will look into the development of a new, low-cost, sustainable thermal insulation made from peanuts. The project aims to utilize formal associations among the mostly-female peanut farmers of Burkina Faso to develop a production plant to produce the insulation. The project also aims to erect an agricultural training and investigation center to fuel the effort. In 2012, Deborah Berke, founder of the award-winning firm Deborah Berke Partners and current Yale School of Architecture dean, was awarded the inaugural Berkeley-Rupp Professorship and Prize. Sheila Kennedy, founder of Portable Light Project, a venture that aims to bring solar textiles to the developing world, received the prize in 2014.
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Department of Energy names Solar Decathlon teams, but mum about competition site

Brace yourself O.C.: It’s unclear if the battle of the Solar Decathlon will return to Irvine’s Orange County Great Park in 2017. This week the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced 16 participating teams who are gearing up for the task of designing and building a solar-powered house, but the feds have yet to announce the competition site. Hailing from colleges and universities across the United States and around the world—from Rolla, Missouri to Utrecht, Netherlands—the teams have nearly two years to develop an affordable and energy-efficient design strategy. According to the DOE, the Solar Decathlon teams compete in 10 contests that range from architecture and engineering to home appliance performance. Judges are looking for “[T]he team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.” In past years, teams had to cover some hefty research, design, construction, and shipping costs. But for one team the gamble will pay off. The winner takes home a whopping $2 million prize. (That’s a pretty huge PV array.) Homes will be showcased and on view to the public for free tours in mid-2017. The Solar Decathlon 2017 teams are:
  • École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Daytona State College
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • HU University of Applied Science Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Northwestern University
  • Rice University
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of California at Davis
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Washington State University
  • Washington University
  • West Virginia University