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Welcome to the Tiny Research Station!

Operating as a "living lab," this structure's primary goal is to serve as an educational resource to the Dartmouth community—and beyond! A living lab is a space where students can learn about modeling, prototyping, and refining solutions in the context of a space that is in active use. To this end, the structure will also be used as a space for ecology and forestry research at Dartmouth's Second College Grant.

Background Information

In 2018, Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) awarded Engineering Sciences Professor Vicki May with an experimental learning grant of $45,000 to build a tiny house with students. 

It sought to provide hands-on experience and educational applications in ENGS-71 (Structural Analysis) and ENGG-173 (Energy Utilization) classes while providing a living space for students at the Dartmouth Organic Farm. However, logistical and permit complications prevented the project from continuing as an intended living space. 

Instead, the purpose of the tiny house shifted to serve as a mobile research space for forestry and ecology researchers in the Second College Grant (SCG) conservation area. They live in a shared cabin space called the “Town Office” where they cook, eat, and sleep when visiting the SCG. But, they do not have a designated research space to prepare samples, analyze specimens, and conduct meetings. The researchers need an alternative space dedicated to conducting research-only activities. 

Construction began in Spring 2020 but was soon halted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. This left an incomplete shell of only the exterior walls, floor, and roof mounted on a trailer. And $18,000 remained to finish the building. 

Exterior of the structure provided to the team in fall of 2020

In an effort to complete the structure while still providing educational experiences for students,  Professor May proposed it as a ENGS-89/90 project for Fall 2020/Winter 2021...

...And this is where we come in. To introduce ourselves, we are students at Dartmouth College's Thayer School of Engineering, and this project is being completed as a senior capstone experience for the classes ENGS 89/90 during 20F/21W. Team members include Emma Doherty, Bradley Hart, Jack Lipson, Andrew Moura, Grace Neiswander and Soon-Young Shimizu.

Meet the 20F/21W Team

Name: Emma Doherty

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Dartmouth College '21 (Engineering Sciences Major—Sustainable Design and Energy Systems Concentrations; Spanish Minor)

I am excited to grapple with the economic challenges of sustainable design in this project, such as making decisions around upfront costs and payback periods, etc. I am excited to iterate and hopefully optimize different designs in order to support making those decisions.


Name: Bradley Hart

Hometown: Wellesley, MA

Dartmouth College '21 (Engineering Sciences Major—Mechanical Concentration)

I am so excited about this projects for so many reasons, but mainly 1. To learn how to build a livable space 2. To come out with a finish product that I can call “mine” 3. Working closely with a team for an extended period of time.


Name: Jack Lipson

Hometown: Chevy Chase, MD

Dartmouth College '21 (Engineering Sciences Major—Mechanical Concentration)

Although my concentration is Mechanical Engineering, I’m interested in, and like to explore, all disciplines of engineering. That’s one of the aspects of the project that appealed to me; the project is very interdisciplinary.


Name: Andrew Moura

Hometown: Lakeville, MA

Dual-Degree Student from Wheaton College '20 (Physics Major; Math Minor)

Thayer School at Dartmouth College '21 (Engineering Sciences Major—Mechanical Concentration)

My experiences in the construction and painting industry will help greatly in constructing the tiny house. I have a deep understanding as to what needs to be put into a home, and the step by step process that most renovation/construction projects should follow.


Name: Grace Neiswander

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Dual-Degree Student from Vassar College '20 (Physics/Drama Majors; Math Minor)

Thayer School at Dartmouth College '21 (Engineering Sciences Major—Mechanical Concentration)

I’m excited to work on this project because of the opportunity to gain more hands-on experience with structural design/construction, a field I hope to enter professionally, and also to learn about the ever-important fields of energy engineering and sustainable design.


Name: Soon-Young Shimizu

Hometown: Tarrytown, NY

Dual-Degree Student from Amherst College '20 (Physics, STEM Education Interdisciplinary Majors)

Thayer School at Dartmouth College '21 (Engineering Sciences Major—Mechanical Concentration)

I’m excited about this project because it sits at the intersection of my interests: mechanical engineering and environmental sustainability. It also incorporates other areas and disciplines which make the project multifaceted and challenging.