Bio


I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering working with Professor Rishee Jain in the Urban Informatics Lab. My research focuses on modeling the interaction between human and built systems through data-driven methods, with the goal of improving urban environmental performance and human well-being.

Honors & Awards


  • Stanford Graduate Fellowship, Stanford University (2015-2019)
  • Civil Engineering Senior Award, Northwestern University (2015)
  • Tau Beta Pi (elected junior year), Northwestern University (2014)

Education & Certifications


  • MS, Stanford University, Civil Engineering (2017)
  • BS, Northwestern University, Civil Engineering, summa cum laude (2015)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


I study the relationship between humans and the built environment. Using data from distributed sensors and other sources, I create models of human behavior in buildings and cities. By describing human activities and networks of relationships among people, my research aims to inform better design and management of urban systems in order to co-optimize human goals (e.g., productivity) along with environmental and social performance of built systems (e.g., energy efficiency).

Lab Affiliations


All Publications


  • Effect of Grain Crushing and Grain Size on the Evolution of Water Retention Curves Zhang, Y. D., Park, J. S., Gao, S., Sonta, A., Horin, B., Buscarnera, G., Hoyos, L. R., McCartney, J. S., Houston, S. L., Likos, W. J. AMER SOC CIVIL ENGINEERS. 2018: 268–78
  • OESPG: Computational Framework for Multidimensional Analysis of Occupant Energy Use Data in Commercial Buildings JOURNAL OF COMPUTING IN CIVIL ENGINEERING Sonta, A. J., Jain, R. K., Gulbinas, R., Moura, J. M., Taylor, J. E. 2017; 31 (4)
  • Towards Automated Inference of Occupant Behavioral Dynamics Using Plug-Load Energy Data Sonta, A. J., Simmons, P. E., Jain, R. K., Lin, K. Y., ElGohary, N., Tang, P. AMER SOC CIVIL ENGINEERS. 2017: 290–97
  • Evolution of the Water Retention Characteristics of Granular Materials Subjected to Grain Crushing JOURNAL OF GEOTECHNICAL AND GEOENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING Gao, S., Da Zhang, Y., Sonta, A., Buscarnera, G. 2016; 142 (9)