Volunteering with IBPSA-USA for Career Development and Outreach in the Industry

IBPSA-USA is the U.S. regional affiliate of the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA). The mission of IBPSA-USA is to advance and promote the science of building simulation to improve the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of new and existing buildings in the United States. Membership mainly comprises practitioners (engineers, architects, consultants, etc.), researchers, and academics. A Board of Directors leads IBPSA-USA with admin support from the staff of Nonprofit Resources. There are also many committees to help move the mission and vision forward.

How I Joined

I joined IBPSA-USA in August 2021 when I started college. I found IBPSA-USA since it was listed on my department’s website and one of the professors, Mohammad Heidarinejad, is a member. I joined IBPSA-USA because it is a dedicated professional organization for energy modeling.

Volunteer Work

I’m super involved in IBPSA-USA! I serve as the current Student Director, a member of the EPSI (Emerging Professionals and Students of IBPSA-USA) Organizing Committee, and a CHIBPSA (Chicago chapter) Auxiliary Board member. I also was an event organizer for the 2024 Career Fair. I initially wanted only attend local Chicago chapter meetings and the virtual webinars hosted by IBPSA-USA. Over the first couple years of membership, I slowly became active with the community on LinkedIn. Ajit Naik, an active member of the IBPSA-USA Chicago chapter, involved me when creating the CHIBPSA Auxiliary Board. From this experience, I started interacting more with IBPSA-USA nationally and soon pursued an opportunity to engage as the IBPSA-USA Student Director. Thanks to the support from fellow IBPSA-USA members, including Jayati Chaabra, I had the chance to get involved in the planning of larger events too, such as the 2024 Career Fair.

The role of the Student Director on the Board of Directors is to serve as the main voice for student needs and perform necessary promotions. Besides board duties, the Student Director must be an active member of EPSI by serving as a member of the Organizing Committee. The EPSI Organizing Committee leads the overall group by planning events, creating resources, and doing necessary outreach. My first couple months of being Student Director have been impactful. I have helped IBPSA-USA realize the need for membership promotion and retention to grow the membership size and encourage everyone who interacts with the association to apply for paid membership.  I also helped increase the size of EPSI’s professor mailing group.

As an event organizer for the 2024 Virtual Career Fair, I was responsible for student outreach and user experience during the career fair. I reached out to 30+ professors to promote the career fair and its benefits to students interested in a career in building simulations like energy modeling, daylight analysis, LCA, etc.

The CHIBPSA (Chicago Chapter) Auxiliary Board serves to support the main chapter board with communication among members, planning a conference-style event, and interacting with young members.

Why Join an Outside Organization or Get Involved Out IIT Chapter

There are a lot of professional association student chapters on campus you can get involved with. Most of them have a local city chapter and committees at the national level. If you are passionate about your industry and IIT has a relevant student chapter join that first. Once you get a feel for it get more involved outside the student chapter. Attend local chapter meetings, sit on a committee, and join the national student and young professionals group. If Illinois Tech doesn’t have a professional association for your industry don’t get let down. Join that association and get involved with the student and young professional arms to make yourself known. I know joining IBPSA-USA has provided me with the ability to interact with professionals in the industry. This activeness has helped me secure an interview and consideration for a Summer 2024 internship. During that interview, the interviewers noted my activeness with IBPSA-USA  and LinkedIn.



Jason Zhou (Architectural Engineering, Minor in Sustainability 3rd Year)

Peer Career Coach

Student Director, IBPSA-USA

By Jason Zhou
Jason Zhou Peer Career Coach