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Meet the Team: CasitaDesign

Casita in Spanish translates as "small house," and with the project being heavily focused on design, it seemed only natural to also incorporate the word into the team name.
we felt having two separate words contradicted our motto "consider space as a resource," and thus the space between was eliminated without deterring the meaning behind our name.

Current members


Molly Baker
, Co-Project Manager                   

Chemical Engineering
Portland, OR

Molly is involved in ESW and band. Her hobbies include music, reading, arts and crafts, swimming, hiking, backpacking, and being busy.

Randy Waymire , Co-Project Manager    
Chemical Engineering
Hometown Denver, CO

Randy became interested in Tiny House because it showcases so many green technologies and can raise awareness with regards to energy efficiency.

Randy is also active on the Northwestern club Frisbee team and enjoys adventuring outside with his friends and family.

Andrea Morgan
Environmental Engineering
HometowLos Angeles, CA

Andrea is a  senior studying Environmental Engineering at Northwestern. She is also involved in Engineers for a Sustainable World working on improving a wastewater treatment system in Panama. Outside of ESW she is heavily involved in student theatre, enjoys kayaking, reading and cross-country skiing. She also has been known to win contests based on her amazing arm flexibility (she can touch her tongue to her elbow).

As long as she could remember, Andrea has wanted to live in a small house--as early as first grade, in fact. So it seemed only natural to join the tiny house team. And she was promised KitKats.

Kaycee Overcash[Former] Co-Project Manager     
Manufacturing and Design Engineering                             
Theatre Minor
Hometown Kansas City, KS

Kaycee's goal, being a part of this project, is to promote green technologies throughout the Northwestern University campus and local communities as well as introduce the tiny house concept to new audiences. She hopes to spread 
sustainable practices that 
can be easily implemented into our society. Even though she is a person who suffers from claustrophobia and gushes over three story houses, she still supports the Tiny House movement and would even love to live in one at some point in her life. 

She is also a stage manager with a theatre minor, and finds time to stage manage multiple projects a year. Her hobbies include babysitting and watching horror movies. She is also an avid animal-lover.

William Fan, [Former] Co-Project Manager

Mechanical Engineering
Environmental Policy and Culture Minor
Hometown Somerset, NJ

"When we become too comfortable with the status quo, we relax and no longer do innovative things. Tiny houses force an individual into a space that demands innovation.  It changes the individuals perceptions of necessity and it deconstructs the 
definition of living comfortably."
     -Will Fan

Will is passionate about the sustainability movement and was formerly co-president of Northwestern University's chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW). He also enjoys cooking and studying the subjects of civics and economics.

Favorite quote: "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you."     -Oscar Wilde

Nirajan Rajkarnikar 

Chemical and Biological Engineering
Biotechnology Minor
Kathmandu, Nepal

Nirajan joined Tiny House because he believes in living sustainably with minimal waste and minimal footprint and considersTiny House a great example of putting that in action. He also joined the Tiny House project because he considers it a fun opportunity for collaborative learning while spending time with friends and creating something educational for Northwestern University and the wider Evanston and Chicago communities.

Vincent Zhang                   

Industrial Engineering
Manufacturing and Design Engineering

Vancouver, Canada

Vincent believes tiny houses to be a cool concept. The idea of a standalone tiny house challenges us to think about environmental issues and energy problems. It brings 
awareness to our carbon footprint and encourages us to find ways to minimize it.
He enjoys traveling, swimming, sketching, reading, and music.                                                


Sharon Chen
Hometown Shanghai

Sharon loves painting houses! She is also very interested in environmentally friendly architecture.

Andrew Shiao
Hometown Shanghai

He joined Tiny House because the idea of a tiny, self-sustainable house is so novel and interesting. I love the focus on sustainability which is becoming an increasingly important aspect in new technologies and improvements on old technologies as environmental protection becomes more and more important. Tiny House is a cool and fun way to raise awareness about this issue and bring to light how wasteful we can be without realizing it.

Chris Chyung 
Industrial Engineering
Hometown Dyer, Indiana

Chris joined Tiny House his freshman year because he heard about the project in the local news before arriving on campus. It sounded fascinating, and he was amazed that on top of classes and other clubs, a group of NU students could build an entire house! The house is also incredibly functional as an off-the-grid structure, and its features make eco-friendly living a reality.

Kimberly Huang                    
Manufacturing and Design Engineering
Brookfield, WI

Kimberly feels extremely fortunate to be a part of this wonderful project. As someone who had no knowledge of the Tiny House movement before becoming a part of team CasitaDesign, it has been not only an eye-opening experience, but a rewarding challenge and good cause. She is proud of how far the Tiny House project has come 
and hopes it continues to see more success in the future. 

In addition to studying engineering, Kimberly loves to draw in her free time as well as taking power naps to energize herself. She also loves to eat, but sadly, is terrible at cooking.

Alejandro Sklar

Electrical Engineering
Hometown Miami, FL

is interested in applying his skills in engineering towards useful and impactful projects. With our society at a major cusp, this generation has such an opportunity to thrive and really make some amazing changes in this world. He believes there is nowhere better (and more fun) to start than with something almost every human being inhabits, a home. Through this project, he hopes to provide an example that inspires people to design elegant, interesting, and smart homes that are inherently sustainable. "DOWN WITH THE MCMANSION!"

His other interests include skateboarding, slacklining, photography, lightshows, and lasers.

Laurel Lau, [Former] Co-Project Manager

Manufacturing and Design Engineering
Hometown Hong Kong

Having lived in apartments her entire life, Laurel was surprised to find that her aunt from Maryland lived in a 5000sqft house with two other family members. In Hong Kong, this could easily fit six families. Smaller spaces are not meant to be restricting and living well is about what you do with it. The tiny house is a refreshing idea and the project appeals to her because it is meaningful. It is an answer to the needs of users in the US. The Northwestern Tiny House Project can demonstrate that sustainability and high mobility can be incorporated into a comfortable lifestyle.

The deepest level of compassion you can have is the care you show for the environment. 

Other things she enjoys include outdoor sports, cooking, design, and people-watching. 


Civil Engineering Advisor:

Professor Karen Chou
Assistant Chair and Clinical Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Northwestern University

Hong Kong, China

Visit Professor Karen Chou's Faculty Page Here

Faculty Advisor:
Professor Bruce Ankenman
Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences,
Director of Master of Engineering Management Program,
Director of Undergraduate Programs for The Segal Design Institute

Visit Professor Bruce Ankenman's Faculty Page Here

Faculty Advisor:
Professor Stacy Benjamin              
Senior Design Engineer

Visit Professor Stacy Benjamin's Faculty Page Here

Awesome Past Members

Zachary Patterson                 

Materials Science and
Sherborn, MA

Zach has been on three service-learning ASB trips, which have all been life-changing experiences shared with unbelievably cool people. He's interested in sustainability because it's "important to ensure that [his] grandchildren get to explore this hip planet without us ruining it first!"

In his free time, Zach brews tasty beer and participates in the
professional finger painting circuit.

Conor Cameron
Communication Studies

Hometown Glenview, IL

Having graduated in 2009 with a triple degree, Conor joined team CasitaDesign in Fall 2010, bringing his many talents to the project. His interest in the Tiny House project stems from his belief that "non-
sustainable systems are in-elegant." 

Conor also has a deep interest in cars.

Taylor Lee 
Biomedical Engineering
Princeton, NJ

Taylor is interested in learning about, and eventually sharing, green engineering and hopes that the Tiny house Movement becomes a revolution in today's changing world. He enjoys eating, playing tennis, and playing the violin. Taylor is also a proud member of ESW.

Kevin Yngve

Mechanical Engineering
Hometown St. Paul, MN

Kevin is interested in tiny houses in general because it aligns with his goal of applying engineering design for sustainability in the Third World. His hobbies include intramural sports and robotics and his favorite countries are Lebanon, India, and the US.  

Consulting members

Mert Iseri Industrial Engineering
Alexandra Letuchy Environmental Engineering

Original team CasitaDesign

From left to right:

Mert Iseri
Kaycee Overcash
Kimberly Huang
Alejandro Sklar
Alexandra Letuchy
William Fan

Spring 2010