Intersecting Architectural Engineering and Public Health

After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architectural engineering at Chung-Ang University in South Korea, Insung Kang became interested in the projects at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Built Environment Research Group, led by Arthur W. Hill Endowed Chair in Sustainability Brent Stephens and Assistant Professor of Architectural Engineering Mohammad Heidarinejad

“I was highly motivated by their passion and dedication to research and teaching, which has made significant contributions to architectural engineering and environmental health,” says Kang.

Once he joined Illinois Tech as a Ph.D. student, Kang worked on the Breathe Easy Study, an intervention study funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and Commonwealth Edison Company, installing one of three common types of mechanical ventilation systems in 40 Chicago homes where adults with asthma lived.

“My main role was field data collection of more than 200 home visits to launch indoor and outdoor pollutant monitors, data analysis, and publications. My experience in field work, data analysis, and collaboration with other team members put my research journey on the right track,” he says.

Kang says he valued the unique blend of opportunities that Illinois Tech offers.

“I saw that a lot of students were given ample opportunities for hands-on projects, internships, and research that are crucial for understanding real-world applications of their studies,” says Kang. “The faculty at Illinois Tech, particularly in the CAEE department whom I know personally, are not only leaders in their respective fields but also deeply dedicated to student success. They are approachable, supportive, and eager to share their expertise, and they offer guidance, which is invaluable as you navigate your career path.” 

When he graduated in December 2022, Kang was offered a role as a senior research associate at Illinois Tech, where he continued his work with the Built Environment Research Group until October 2023, when he accepted a role as a tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington.

In his new role, Kang continues to do research at the intersection of building environmental and energy systems, indoor air quality, and occupant health and well-being—with a focus on the healthy and sustainable built environment.

He says the best part of his job is having the autonomy and intellectual freedom to design his own research initiatives, and that he also finds teaching and outreach highly rewarding.

“I aim to lead pioneering and interdisciplinary studies in architectural engineering, environmental engineering, and public health, securing recognition for contributing valuable insights and solutions to global energy, environmental, and health issues,” he says.

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