Tianning Shao - 2020 President's Award for Outstanding Graduates

Tianning Shao - President Award


Tianning Shao, a graduate of Architectural Environment Engineering, received first prize with a paper that he selected and co-wrote in the just-concluded global authoritative academic conference of SDEWES (Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems). His excellent research collaboration has won him offers to study at Cambridge, Imperial College and University College London.

The most unforgettable and significant experience during Tianning’s undergraduate study was his summer school programme at University of California, Berkeley during year one. Exciting to know the numerous exchange and study abroad at UNNC, Tianning found a course about fluid mechanics and building energy analysis. “But I didn’t know that its difficulty was far beyond the knowledge of a year one undergraduate before I went there – it was actually for year four students,” he said.

The professor noticed this extraordinarily young student in the class and took him to answer questions after each session. Intensive lectures, experiments, exams and group work – within two months his English language and academic ability improved drastically.

During the four years, Tianning stayed among the top 1-2% of his class and won various scholarships. He was soon clear that his interest lay in scientific research and actively sought research opportunities on and off-campus. In his third year, he participated in a summer research project at the University of Nottingham, where he used CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) to research the impact of vegetation barriers on indoor air quality and ventilation.

Tianning and his fellow students wrote the research results into a paper “Impacts of Urban Vegetation Barriers on Outdoor-Indoor Traffic Pollution Dispersion in Naturally Ventilated Spaces Along Street Canyons”, which won the prize at SDEWES.

“The project was closely related to what I have learned, and it also required a combination of knowledge from multiple disciplines," said Tianning. “The research on architecture is focused more on the relationships between the building and the surrounding environment. An excellent building should not only consider the basic principles of architecture and aesthetics, but also its environmental performance and economic value.”

The sensitivity and insight that Tianning has made him stand out and finally enabled him to continue his research and academic pursuit at Cambridge University.


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