Grad Student Draws on Love of Outdoors to Pursue Advanced Degree

By Amanda Brasier

Graduate student Sam Lee said although he was sad not to visit family, there was an upside to skipping his normal Thanksgiving gathering this year due to the pandemic.

“One good thing about not getting together for Thanksgiving this year, I didn’t have to try to explain to my family what I’m studying at Appalachian,” said Lee who is graduating with his master’s of science in technology with a sustainable building design and construction concentration at Appalachian State University.

 Based on his academic achievements, Lee was selected as the graduate commencement speaker for the College of Fine and Applied Arts’ fall 2020 commencement. 

 In 2017, Lee graduated from App State with a degree in sustainable technology, also part of the Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment department. After working for a couple years installing solar technology in residential and commercial buildings, he said he wanted to broaden his understanding of electrical systems, building efficiency and green building practices with his master’s studies.

Lee’s interest in studying more energy efficient construction is driven by a personal love for the outdoors.

“I grew up in Wilmington and would surf and fish. Here in the mountains, I spend a lot of my time mountain biking, snowboarding or fly fishing,” he said. “I want to try to preserve our natural world, our natural resources like the ocean, the forest, the mountains and creeks and rivers. Everything I enjoy doing depends on having these available natural resources and so that’s been important to me to orient my studies so that I can do my part to preserve that.” 

For his final research project Lee studied 174 LEED buildings around the country and was able to analyze the results of projects that were collaborative versus ones that were built with a non-collaborative approach. 

“Overall, I saw a significant difference in the projects that used collaborative project delivery,” Lee said. “I broke down my analysis into several different categories like energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality to take a deeper look at project outcomes.”

 After graduation Lee is planning to work on pursuing his electrician’s license while working for a solar construction firm based in Boone.

Sam Lee
Published: Dec 9, 2020 5:45pm