Our team is composed of Middlebury College students from a wide range of majors and backgrounds. As an interdisciplinary project, our team utilizes students from many academic departments and areas of interest. As an example, students from the Physics department have tackled much of the engineering work, while others from the Studio Art department have focused on Interior design. Architecture students have led the effort to produce a comprehensive design and floor plan, while students from the Economics department are performing a rigorous financial analysis. Meet our team members below!

Zach Berzolla, Project Manager ’18

Zach is a senior physics major with an environmental studies minor. He is the project manager for the team and is leveraging the knowledge he gained as an intern at the National Renewable Energy Lab developing the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy School Accelerator to help guide the Middlebury team to success. When he’s not dreaming up ZE school designs or modeling microgrids, he can be found skiing at the Middlebury Snow Bowl or in the kitchen baking some of his signature desserts.


Olivia Ryder, Architecture Team ’18

Olivia is a senior architecture major. Olivia actively worked to make sure that our spaces would meet the needs of various staff members. In particular, she communicated with Middlebury’s dining staff to learn the design constraints of a school kitchen. In addition, she worked hard on the site schematics for the building.


Emma McDonagh, Architecture Team ’19

Emma is a Junior Architectural Studies major and Environmental Studies minor. She primarily worked on the Architecture team to help create a design that was both physically and socially sustainable. She also helped out with the Interior design team and plans to work with them more this Spring to help evolve and finalize the teams vision of the interior spaces.


Elliot Friedman, Architecture Team ’18

Elliot is a senior Architecture major and worked primarily in designing the school’s educational spaces. Elliot’s attention to detail and spatial nuance has led him to find innovative solutions to design challenges. His careful and thoughtful design process has resulted in deliberate, concise architectural plans.


Jack Allnutt, Architecture Team ’20

Jack is a sophomore architecture major. Jack led the effort to design efficient, practical assembly spaces such as the cafeteria, gymnasium, and arts spaces. Jack made extensive efforts to combine and efficiently redesign spaces in order to reduce the overall footprint and cost of the school.


Priyanjali Sinha, Architecture Team ’18

Priyanjali is a senior from India and studies Anthropology and Religion at Middlebury College. She is excited to join the RTZ team and work on the landscape architecture team and use her knowledge of GIS. Previously she has participated in Island Design Assembly 2017 and was involved in the construction and design of a pavilion on Isle au Haut. She is interested in human-centered design and using ethnographic methods in the design process. She is currently working on creating the site plan for the school and looks forwards to working with teams across the RTZ project.


Evan Weinman, Architecture ’18

Evan is a senior architecture major, and has been focused on refining our team’s floor plans and perfecting the layout of the second story academic spaces. His attention to detail and sharp eye have proved very useful in finding and correcting design problems.


Amanda, Energy Modeling ’19

Amanda is a junior Physics major and the team’s energy modeler. There is perhaps no single more important task then energy modeling when designing a zero energy school, and Amanda has proven herself perfect for the job! Her background with the physics department has led her to use a critical eye when evaluating energy usage, and her strong foundation in mathematics makes her perfect for the position.


Max Lutzius, Financial Analysis / Envelope Design ’20

Max is majoring in Physics and Economics and is part of the Envelope and Financial Analysis teams. Excited to learn new concepts, he used the fundamental lessons of building science and expectations of a high-performance building to meet our design goals of a resilient and effective envelope. His favorite challenge was fulfilling these objectives while viewing decisions through environmental and economic lenses.


Gigi Miller, Interior Design ’18

Gigi is a senior Studio Art and Computer Science major with extensive knowledge of graphic and interior design. Drawing on her background with several types of design software, Gigi created invaluable renderings and plans for the interior layout of the school. Gigi is also actively involved in early education; last year she directed a student lead summer camp for local Middlebury girls to learn about science, technology, engineering and math known as STEAM Girls. Her passion for early education has actively influenced the team’s design of classroom and active learning spaces.


Thomas, Interior Design ’18

Thomas is a senior studying Conservation Psychology and Geography. He is a part of the interior design team, and is applying theories of behavior and motivation to create a learning space that promotes community between students and ownership over the system they live within. He has worked for a sustainable architecture non-profit in Georgia, and is looking forward to merging sustainable production of energy with conscious consumption.


Jessica Saunders, Interior Design ’20

Jessica is a sophomore pursuing a joint major in architecture and environmental studies. She is excited to work with the interior design team to develop thoughtful and flexible classrooms and community spaces. She is particularly interested in how the interiors of the school can shape the ways that students interact with teachers, each other, themselves, and natural resources.


Maria Celes Abragan, Interior Design ’18

Maria is senior at Middlebury College and worked on the interior design and layout of the building. Her attention to detail proved to be invaluable to the team when selecting interior furnishings and developing renderings for the various classrooms.


Ben Belinski, HVAC Systems ’18

Ben is a senior English major whose interest in physics and mechanical systems has pushed the team to new heights. Ben has lead the charge on designing highly efficient and functional ventilation systems for the school. In addition to working on the MEP team, Ben has shared his interest in micro-farming and helped lay plans to incorporate the school’s garden into the lunch program.


Bennett Dougherty, HVAC Systems ’18

Bennett is a senior Physics major and Spanish minor working on the Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing team for MiddZEST. His work has focused mainly on the HVAC systems within the building and has crossed over into  a variety of other teams as well. Outside of the project, Bennett really enjoys playing sports and is captain of Middlebury’s varsity golf team. He also loves other outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and gardening. Bennett is hoping to take much of the knowledge he has learned through this project into his future work as he is hoping to pursue a career within the renewable energy industry.


Alex Browne, Building Code Compliance / Plumbing ’18

Alex started out on the team tasked with researching building code compliance. As a volunteer firefighter, Alex is well equipped to understand the complexities of fire safe construction and building design. While the principle purpose of his position quickly became to say “no” to many ideas of the architecture and interior design teams, he grew to enjoy researching building and life safety codes and attempting to exceed their recommendations in our final design. As we exit the initial design phase, Alex plans to use his knowledge of physics to aid in the design of the mechanical and plumbing systems of the building.


Katie Aman ’19, Deliverables

Katie is a Junior English major as well as a pre-health student. She has worked on writing and editing the progress reports, as well as helping out with fundraising and our team’s social media presence.


Ry Storey-Fisher, Story ’18

Ry is a senior Environmental Policy major and has managed the competition deliverables for the team. Ry’s passion for environmental justice has made him an active and valuable contributor to the group. Not only has Ry actively written and polished our reports, he has been crucial in brainstorming and developing the themes and mission of our building. His efforts have given our team direction and guidance when making decisions on every level.


Colleen Gair, 19.5


Karen Kobayashi ’18


Meagan Tan ’22