Published: Aug. 6, 2019
Kyri Baker selfie in front of solar panels

Kyri Baker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. Her work focuses on how buildings and the grid can work together in order to improve renewable energy integration. She was previously at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), where she worked on developing optimization and control algorithms for improved power grid operations and smarter buildings. Now, she runs the GRIFFIN (Grid-interactive Frameworks for Intelligent Infrastructure) Lab, where students and postdocs from a variety of backgrounds develop methods and perform studies addressing sustainability and resiliency in our future buildings, grids, and cities.

What is your motto?

"Whoever dies with the most journal papers wins." This is a sardonic reminder for us to be humble despite being in academia, and that life is about more than work.

What's something most people don't know about you? 

I used to do competitive powerlifting, and I broke a CO state record for weightlifting - I deadlifted 2.5 times my bodyweight (over 300 pounds). I still lift now, but much more casually.

Who was the most famous person you met and where?

The most famous person I have met is my dad, and I met him when I was born. (He is the author of a well-known electrical engineering book).

If you were stranded on a deserted island, which coworker would you want to organize your rescue party, and why?

I've never actually met him in person, but Principal Proposal Analyst Steve Sheldon. Being an Assistant Professor and learning how to navigate the grant writing process is extremely stressful and confusing, and Steve, through his responsiveness, attention to detail, and simply being great at his job, has single-handedly significantly reduced my stress levels and anxiety when applying for grants. He is incredibly organized and would be able to organize a sufficient rescue party if seagulls hadn't already gotten to me.

Who would you most like to meet and why?

Ryan Martinie, the former bassist of nu metal band Mudvayne. He just seems like such a nice guy. Despite being extremely talented at playing bass, with a style that is all his own, and an on-stage presence that screams intensity, he manages to remain consistently humble and grateful for where his work and his life has taken him. I really admire that.

What do you most like to do to unwind?

Playing music (I play guitar and more recently have picked up bass guitar) is one of the few things in life that I have found completely engrossing, where my mind can truly shut off. Imagine how incredible it feels to listen to a song you really love, and then amplify that by ten - playing an instrument allows you to experience music on a whole new level. It is an emotional and indescribable experience.