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Olivia Birritteri won first place and the $5,000 prize for her “Umbrella” concept. Olivia Birritteri won first place for her “Umbrella” bus shelter concept.

Jefferson Students Earn Top Spots in National Lighting Design Competition

Tasked with designing a functional and attractive light fixture for a bus shelter, two Jefferson students earned top spots in the prestigious Robert Bruce Thompson Student Light Fixture Design Competition.

Olivia Birritteri won first place and the $5,000 prize for her “Umbrella” concept. The motion-sensored structure fades from a cool blue to a warm white light when occupied to indicate to the bus driver that passengers are waiting.

“Umbrella creates a soothing experience for the stressed transit user while increasing transit efficiency,” she describes.

Birritteri, a fourth-year architecture student, wanted to participate in lighting courses within Jefferson’s industrial design program to expand her skill set. “Working with professor Lyn Godley and speaking with lighting professionals through her luminaire design class sparked a whole new world of opportunity for me in design,” she says.

Recent industrial design graduate Peter Holderith placed third and won $1,000 in the competition for his “Sprout” concept.

“Sprout is a calm refuge in the chaos of a city,” he wrote of his design. “It’s a welcome, warm, peaceful point for the time you spend waiting to be whisked away. Ambient light envelopes the arches and surrounds the space in a sense of security. The glow helps guests focus on finally reaching today’s finish line.”

The country’s best lighting design programs have dominated the Robert Bruce Thompson Student Light Fixture Design Competition since its inception in 2003, Godley explains.

“Taking first and third place by students in Jefferson’s relatively new luminaire design course positions our lighting design curriculum among the best,” she says. “I’m very proud of the work our students produce to develop lighting design solutions.”