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A Wave of Sustainability College of Engineering’s sustainable infrastructure initiative gains energy


Electrical engineering students Colleen Cheung and Jacob Michener test some of the more than 1,000 solar panels donated to Cal Poly by SunPower.

SunPower Gift Promotes Sustainability in the Classroom


t Cal Poly, sustainability is about more than reducing the university’s energy footprint — it’s also about education, innovation and collaboration. A gift of more than 1,000 photovoltaic solar panels from SunPower, for instance, will add to student learning and provide opportunities for student projects in addition to reducing Cal Poly’s energy bill. Valued at almost $500,000, the panels are being used in a variety of ways across campus.


College News

• Sustainable infrastructure initiative energizes campus • Stantec gift funds Earn by Doing shop safety position • Ron Smith endows first named Cal Poly Scholar

• Cal Poly - Northrop Grumman Cyber Lab dedicated • Multidisciplinary grant to help student humanitarian projects • Cal Poly announces return to Solar Decathlon competition

“There are exciting plans to use the panels among a number of departments,” said Dale Dolan, electrical engineering professor and recently appointed co-coordinator of the College of Engineering’s initiative on sustainable infrastructure and energy. “My electronics class just finished a lab experiment, for instance, measuring IV curves for the SunPower panels,” he said. IV curves refer to the relationship between current (DC)

hether it’s solar panels, ocean energy or electric vehicles, sustainability is making waves in the College of Engineering. These and related endeavors are part of a new initiative that is committed to sustainable infrastructure and energy. The scope is such, in fact, that the initiative is led by not one but two coordinators: Dale Dolan, electrical engineering professor, and Dennis Elliot, Cal Poly’s assistant director of energy, utilities and sustainability. “Initially, the focus of this initiative was collegewide,” said Debra Larson, dean of the College of Engineering, “and there could be no better fit than Dale Dolan. Through his teaching and research, he is engaged in sustainable energy generation and energy efficiency on a daily basis. Through some serendipitous conversations with Dennis Elliot, however, all of us could suddenly see a larger opportunity. Dennis has vast experience in bringing sustainable energy projects to the campus as a whole. The dual position will produce tremendous synergy, which, in turn, will create unprecedented opportunities to link classroom curriculum and research with ‘living lab’ facilities.” And in its expanded context, the effort also aligns with a larger CSU initiative. “Chancellor Timothy White describes university buildings and infrastructure systems as ‘amazing and untapped resources’ for teaching, research and student projects in a living laboratory,” said Elliot, “and he has

Please see SOLAR PANELS, Page 2

Department News • Cal Poly announces online graduate certificate program • Center helps creative engineers • Mechanical Engineering offers manufacturing concentration

Please see SUSTAINABILITY, Page 8

Student News

Faculty News

Alumni News

• Cal Poly SWE honors five outstanding women engineers • Aerospace engineering student selected as NASA ambassador • Cal Poly students recognized by California Legislature

• Steffen Peuker joins Cal Poly as James Bartlett Professor • Saikat Pal joins faculty in biomedical engineering • Sam Vigil honored for paper on greenhouse gases

• Michael F. Cannon delivers Fall Commencement keynote • Mechanical engineering grad has the really right stuff • Rory Aronson helps start SLO Makerspace workshop

Invest in the Best

Professor Dale Dolan, second from left, and electrical engineering students test solar panels donated to the College of Engineering by SunPower.

Solar Panels From Page 1



Cal Poly Engineering alumni are making news — and we are posting and updating their stories daily. Stay in touch by logging on at:







ENGINEERING Advantage n TITLE: Engineering Advantage n FREQUENCY: Published biannually n ISSUE NO.: Vol. 11, Issue 2 n PUBLISHER: Cal Poly College of Engineering 1 Grand Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 Mechanical engineering student Sean Michel works on the Cal Poly Supermileage vehicle. For more on the Supermileage Team, see Page 13.

n TELEPHONE: 805-756-2131

through an electronic device and the DC voltage across its terminals, or the current–voltage characteristic. In the Construction Management Department located in the College of Architecture & Environmental Design, students in specialty contracting have developed a photovoltaic system that they installed at a remote off-the-grid school in Costa Rica. “This is an example of what we intend to develop using the SunPower panels,” said instructor Lonny Simonian. “The student groups will be prefabricating systems for potential installations in Ecuador.” Other areas on campus will benefit from installation of the panels. According to Jim Dunning, program manager at Cal Poly Technology Park, “We’re planning to work with Construction Management, College of Engineering faculty and students, national and local architects, professional engineers, and solar system component suppliers to develop system engineering requirements and construction plans for installation of the solar system on the Technology Park Building.” The BioResource & Agricultural Engineering Department (BRAE), meanwhile, plans to deploy panels on the BRAE building and on the Water Research Facility near Poly Canyon Village, as well as in several remote water wells on Cal Poly agricultural land. “With a maximum output potential in full sun of 435 watts each, we have enough to theoretically push 148 kW back to the grid, more than the needs of the entire department, even when the large machine tools are being used in the shops,” said Art MacCarley, interim department chair. n

Cal Poly Among Magazine’s List of Public Colleges for ‘Best Value’


al Poly has again been named among the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of 100 Best Values in Public Colleges for 2014. Cal Poly ranked No. 43 for in-state and No. 34 for out-of-state for its “high four-year graduation rate, low average student debt at graduation, abundant financial aid, low sticker price and overall great value.” The Washington, D.C.-based Kiplinger business publication develops its list based on measures of academic quality, including test scores and four-year graduation rates, as well as affordability. More than 600 colleges and universities are examined initially to develop the Top 100 ranking. n

The Center of Things Cal Poly dedicates the Warren J. Baker Center for Science & Mathematics


edicated on Nov. 1, the Warren J. Baker Center for Science & Mathematics is a six-story, state-of-the-art polytechnic facility located at the heart of campus. Every Cal Poly student will take a class in the 189,000-squarefoot, cutting-edge facility, where ample study spaces facilitate teamwork and studio classrooms integrate lecture and lab, encouraging students to actively discover science. Beyond the strictly academic, the Baker Center is designed to be a working model of sustainability and building Sandi and Paul Bonderson sit with a sculpture of Albert Einstein, not far performance for tomorrow’s from the Bonderson Lecture Hall shown below. scientists and engineers. Among the center’s many science-inspired works of art is a statue and bench featuring Albert Einstein. Sandi and Paul Bonderson (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1975), founding donors of the Baker Center, commissioned sculptor Gary Lee Price to create the piece. Einstein’s bench, which has quickly become a favorite spot for students to snap a selfie, is not far from the Bonderson Lecture Hall, a 132-seat amphitheater-style At top, electrical engineering student Chanel Crespin checks out space that is the largest of the new center’s labs and the periodic chart of the elements display in the Baker Center lobby. classroom facilities. n The center has a living roof on the western portion of the fifth floor that is visible from a study lounge.


Invest in the Best Ron Smith Endows First Named Cal Poly Scholar


hen she first came to Cal Poly, freshman Kai Ling Liang had no idea that she would be chosen as the first named Cal Poly Scholar. But the honor now drives her to excel. Established in 2012-13, the universitywide scholarship program is designed to attract high-achieving students from lowincome families to Cal Poly. The program now awards scholarships to more than 55 incoming freshmen. Raytheon Vice President Ron Smith (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1983) is the first donor to establish an endowment to fund a Cal Poly Scholar. Ron Smith (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1983) In recognition of his generosity, the university will select one student annually as the Ronald Smith Cal Poly Scholar. Liang, who imigrated to the U.S. from China when she was 7, is the first in her family to attend college. She chose Cal Poly because of its reputation for excellence and hands-on approach. “For my first class, we hauled out equipment and spent the day surveying,” she said. “I’ve had a great experience at Cal Poly so far — I’m very thankful that it’s giving me a practical view of civil engineering.” Other Cal Poly Scholar naming opportunities are available to donors who make a $100,000 gift. n

Conversation about Safety Leads to Earn by Doing Gift from Stantec


hen Alfonso Rodriguez (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1984) met over breakfast last fall with College of Engineering Dean Debra Larson, they discovered a shared commitment to safety. Fostering a culture of safety is one of the college’s strategic goals according to Larson. “As a world-class engineering college with a lab-intensive environment, Stantec Health & Safety Coordinator Tony Wong, left, and Cal Poly mechanical engineering student David Schaeffer go over safety procedures on a horizontal band saw in the Mustang ’60 shop. we have a duty to instill awareness of safety and to teach best skills while providing income for educational expenses. The practices to students, who will carry this knowledge with Stantec Safety Tech will undertake safety inspections of them into industry,” she said. labs and provide safety training, help ensure that protocols Safety is also paramount at Stantec, where Rodriquez are followed when incidents occur, share best practices, serves as vice president. “As one of our core values — we create safety-oriented content for lab manuals, and support do what is right — we continually look for ways to enhance events, such as the College of Engineering Project Expo. our safety culture within our workforce and industry,” said As part of its partnership, Stantec has offered a chance Rodriquez. As he and Larson spoke, they developed a donor for the sponsored student to spend time with the company’s opportunity focused on safety. national accounts health and safety coordinator, Tony “We launched an Earn by Doing safety tech employment Wong, who provides strategic guidance to the firm’s team opportunity for students,” explained Larson, “and we’re members on safety procedures — both in the offices and in grateful to Stantec for sponsoring the first safety position the field, working with clients. “We’re excited about assistwith a gift of $5,000.” ing the college in creating on-campus jobs that give students The Earn by Doing program sponsors student jobs — like greater insight to safety practices in the workplace,” said shop techs and, now, safety techs — that hone engineering Rodriguez. n

Quartus Engineering Helps Set Human Motion Biomechanics Lab Program in Motion


new Cal Poly Engineering initiative in human motion biomechanics (HMB) got a kick-start from Quartus Engineering with a gift of $25,000. Under the leadership of professors Steve Klisch in mechanical engineering and Scott Hazelwood in biomedical engineering, the HMB Lab program focuses on research in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of osteoarthritis in human hip and knee joints. Earlier this year, Klisch acquired a motion analysis system (MAS) for the lab with funds from the Constant J. and Dorothy F. Chrones Endowment. “With the MAS and, now, the Quartus gift, we can launch new


student projects over the next two years,” said Klisch. “Undergraduates will have the opportunity to undertake experimental studies of knee and hip joint biomechanics. Our goal is to help prevent or slow the progress of osteoarthritis in high-risk patients. “We will also be able to integrate the capabilities of the HMB Lab with the Kinesiology Department’s Cycling Biomechanics Lab in order to undertake research to optimize human motion biomechanics in performance bicycling,” he said. Cal Poly alumnus and Quartus engineer Matt Griebel (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2010) was happy to hear of his com-

pany’s support for Cal Poly. “I continue to see how well Cal Poly prepared me for a professional career,” he said. “I can’t wait to see the progress and contributions that the HMB team makes to the field of biomechanics.” In a letter with the gift, Quartus President C. Douglas Botos noted that the company hoped to directly support student projects. “We feel that the combination of classroom and theoretical learning, along with hands-on laboratory learning and experimentation for undergraduate students, is paramount to success in the workplace,” he said. “Keep up the great work!” n

Cycling biomechanics research by Professor Robert Clark in kinesiology contributes to the multidisciplinary collaboration with the HMB Lab program.

Haas Lab Student Projects Can Be Real Page Turners


n its first year of full operation, what goes on inside the Gene Haas Laboratory for Robotics and Automation is a real page-turner. Really. Ask Melinda Phan, a mechanical engineering senior and violinist, who’s developing an automated page-turning device for performing musicians — with a little help from the lab’s PCL (programmable control language) programming and a bit of robotics know-how. The experience is also helping turn a page in her career. In a recent interview at Intuitive Surgical in Sunnyvale, Calif., it was Phan’s experience at Haas Lab that, in large measure, won her a summer internship. “Through the Haas Lab, classes and my own project, I’ve learned a lot about industrial manufacturing and how to apply those concepts on a smaller scale, which is a little more robotic-like. “Intuitive Surgical is a robotics company that specializes in minimally invasive surgery. They make robots that help surgeons. When I was describing my project, they were interested in my knowledge of automation processes, especially the robotic aspects.” Phan leaped at the new technical elective in manufacturing recently made available to mechanical engineering students.

Invest in the Best

an exciting, hands-on environment for “I am absolutely glad it’s there. students to fully engage in automated I love the manufacturing side. It’s systems and technologies. Our 12 workstamore people-oriented than mechantions were outfitted with state-of-the-art ics and design, and I was looking for hardware, software, precision tools and that human interaction matching advanced technology, including very up my technical and mechanical sophisticated motion control and visual background with people. When I systems, by industry leaders including started at Cal Poly I wasn’t aware of Yaskawa America, Rockwell Automation, biomedical engineering as a major, Keyence and Trust Automation.” but I really like the industry. You get Jose Macedo, chair of the Industrial and a real sense of doing good. I see so Manufacturing Department, marvels how many ways I can contribute to that the lab, coupled with its advanced automaindustry as a mechanical engineer. tion class, is acceleratings student learning. “What we have in the Haas Lab “What amazes me is how quickly and is more sophisticated than what I’ve easily our students can develop very seen in industry,” she said. “I was sophisticated applications. They definitely fortunate enough to have interned Melinda Phan, a mechanical engineering thrive in an environment that’s designed at another leading biomed company student, enjoys working with automation technology in the Gene Haas Laboratory. and built for complex applications. The in a manufacturing engineering students are exposed to the latest technology. In most role, but there was little automation there. The Haas Lab instances the students come in knowing virtually nothing reflects industry trends. Automation is where everything about automation, and over the course of 10 weeks learn is going — it’s safer, more efficient.” how to develop a working system.” n Instructor Nick Sweeney agrees: “The Haas Lab is

SUPPORT CAL POLY ENGINEERING NOW — AND AGAIN — WITH A RECURRING GIFT Make your giving simple and painless. Instead of making a one-time donation, become a recurring gift partner, and your predetermined gift amount will be automatically charged to your credit or debit card. Your recurring gift provides a steady flow of funds that Cal Poly Engineering will use to provide timeless opportunities for students today — and tomorrow. To set up your recurring gift, go to and click “Give Online.” Designate the fund, the College of Engineering or a program within the college. Choose the Recurring Gift option listed under Giving Preference. Recurring gifts can only be set up with an initial gift charged immediately. If you have questions or would like to modify or stop your recurring gift at any time, send an email to or call 805-756-1558.

College News Cal Poly - Northrop Grumman Cyber Lab

Students will be able to study malware, encryption, cyber attacks and other digital-age threats in new sponsored lab

Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush, above, chats with engineering students in the new Cal Poly - Northrop Grumman Cyber Lab. Supported by a $150,000 grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, the lab was dedicated in January.


hen it comes to training young, work-ready engineers in the critical field of cybersecurity, Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush believes Cal Poly “gets it.” Bush was on campus Jan. 23 for the dedication of the Cal Poly – Northrop Grumman Cyber Lab, a 32-workstation facility that is the centerpiece of the new Cal Poly Cybersecurity Center, a major new educational initiative encompassing a comprehensive and collaborative program that spans the polytechnic university and partners with public and private organizations. Bush said programs like Cal Poly’s are crucial in meeting the growing challenges to modern life. “Cybersecurity isn’t just about national security, it’s about economic security,” he said. “Clearly, there’s a lot of technology involved in this, but technology is not what makes it happen. It’s people.” Cal Poly students will now be able to receive intensive training in malware, encryption, cyber attacks and cryptogra-


phy in the new lab. The lab was built with the support of a $150,000 grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation and is connected to the defense company’s Virtual Cyber Lab in Virginia. Dale Griffiths, chief scientist at Northrop Grumman’s Intelligence System Division, helped configure the lab, which is equipped with specialized software, hardware and television monitors that rotate 360 degrees. Supported by gifts from Raytheon, Boeing, Parsons Corp., Pacific Gas & Electric and McAfee Corp., the cybersecurity program will utilize the new facility for a growing curriculum of undergraduate and graduate cybersecurity courses that Cal Poly president Jeffrey D. Armstrong said will allow students to “stay ahead of the curve” on cyber attacks. “The threats evolve faster than the textbooks,” Armstrong said. “This opportunity is unprecedented in higher education and particularly unheard-of at the undergraduate level. This is much more than a state-of-the-art lab. Cal Poly students will be able to

enter the workforce equipped and ready to handle the challenges they’ll face.” Computer science student Jessie Pease, president of the university’s White Hat Club, said the lab would help the club fight hacking and “make the Internet a safer place.” Pease, a junior who said her interest in cybersecurity drew her to Cal Poly, said the lab should make her major more popular. “It’s really exciting to see this dream become a reality,” she said. “I’m glad I will be able to take advantage of the new lab.” Bush, who joked he would “love to hire every one of the students,” said he knew Northrop Grumman will have to compete for them, adding, “This is going to be the place where people come to look for talent.” n

Industry Partners with Cal Poly on Cybersecurity


he Cal Poly – Northrop Grumman Cyber Lab represents one part of Cal Poly’s initiative in cybersecurity education. The Cal Poly Cybersecurity Center serves as the nexus for a wide range of activities that involve faculty and students collaborating with experts from other universities, private companies, government agencies and research labs. Programmatic and strategic direction is provided by the Cybersecurity Council. The Cybersecurity Council consists of individuals at the highest levels of cyber leadership in companies that include: • Boeing • Good Technology • McAfee • Northrop Grumman • Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) • Parsons • Raytheon • QL+ Both Raytheon and Boeing have been key supporters of Cal Poly’s initial efforts in cybersecurity; PG&E, Parsons and McAfee have provided recent major gifts to launch the Cybersecurity Council and develop curriculum. Cal Poly Computer Science Chair Ignatios Vakalis and Russ Bik (B.S., Industrial Technology, 1970), a member of the President’s Cabinet and Sun Microsystems’s original vice president of operations, serve as council cochairs. n

Cal Poly Engineering Presents Industry-Sponsored Faculty and Outstanding Staff Awards


ecipients of industry-sponsored faculty awards for 2013 included Biomedical Engineering Professor Lily Laiho and John Larson, instructor in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Jaime Carmo and Christine Haas received Outstanding Staff Awards. The $1,000 Raytheon Excellence in Teaching and Applied Research Award recognizes Laiho’s contributions, including teaching the mechanical engineering design series in which student team projects have received recognition at a national design competition for assistive technologies. Laiho also serves as the founding director of interdisciplinary projects, a position in which she

helps manage the spectrum of interdisciplinary project experiences, creates opportunities for projects and collaboration, and fosters connections with external partners. Active in funded research, Laiho played a key role in creating the master’s degree specialization in stem cell research, a program that spans three colleges and has attracted more than $3 million in external support over the past five years. Larson received the $3,000 Wingate Foundation HVAC&R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration) Award, which is presented annually to an outstanding student or staff member in the HVAC&R Program. Larson was cited for the award for voluntarily developing curriculum and teaching classes without compensation on computer-aided design for HVAC&R students. He provided these essential services from 2011 to 2013, when the program lacked instructors. During this period, Larson worked closely with industry experts to ensure the curriculum was current. Carmo, technician for the Electrical Engineering Department for 25 years, manages department labs and numerous student personnel. He is known for his attention to detail, prompt response to faculty requests and

College News

the development of sound policies. Haas, administrative support and budget analyst for the Mechanical Engineering Department, handles scores of department accounts, including faculty professional development accounts and senior project accounts. She also serves as co-editor of the department alumni publication, with responsibility for graphic design, layout and printing. n Clockwise from top: Lily Laiho (Biomedical Engineering), Christine Haas (Mechanical Engineering), John Larson (Mechanical Engineering) and Jaime Carmo (Electrical Engineering) received awards from the College of Engineering.

Here Comes the Sun (Again) Cal Poly to design and build a solar-powered house for the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon


al Poly has been selected to compete in the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, an awardwinning program that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. Besides Cal Poly, other collegiate teams selected for the competition included Stanford, UC Davis, Sacramento State, UC Irvine, New York City College of Technology, the University of Florida, the University of Texas, West Virgina University and Yale. “Cal Poly is uniquely qualified to participate in this project because of its strengths in engineering and architecture and its strong focus on project-based learning,” said Dean Debra Larson. “The College of Engineering is contributing a multidisciplinary team of students and four faculty advisors to work with colleagues from the Architecture Department. “Team advisors include Kim Shollenberger (Mechanical Engineering), Dale Dolan (Electrical Engineering), John Clements (Computer Science) and Art MacCarley

(Electrical Engineering and Bioresources & Agricultural Engineering). Sandy Stannard (Architecture) serves as the principal investigator on the project.” The Solar Decathlon enhances public understanding of how to save money at home with clean energy solutions available today, and provides students with training and hands-on experience to prepare them for Cal Poly’s last Solar Decathlon house was displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in 2005. the clean energy workforce. • Positively impacted nearly 20,000 collegiate particiSince 2002 the Solar pants. Decathlon has: • Supported the Obama Administration’s goal of • Involved 132 collegiate teams, which pursue a building a clean energy economy while saving families and multidisciplinary approach to study the requirements for businesses money by saving energy. designing and building energy-efficient, solar-powered The 20 teams will design, construct and test their houses. houses before reassembling them in fall of 2015 at the • Established a worldwide reputation as a successful competition site at the Orange County Great Park in educational program and workforce development opIrvine, Calif. n portunity.


College News Sustainability From Page 1

tion and operations. “The project has the potential to provide students with an exciting opportunity to explore one of the newest frontiers of renewable energy sources and to be a part of some breakthrough solutions,” said Dolan, who is the technical lead for Cal Poly. Cal Poly will lead the CalWave project under the direction of Blakeslee and project manager Bill Toman, with a team

made funds available to be used for that purpose — with a focus on sustainability. Cal Poly has been awarded a couple of these grants already, and I think support in this area will only grow.” In the first phase of their work, Dolan and Elliot are identifying faculty and other stakeholders involved in areas related to sustainable infrastructure or energy. “Students, faculty and industry are all focused on opportunities in the areas of sustainability and energy,” said Dolan, “and this initiative can serve as a way to facilitate the integration of these facets into the curriculum, research program and campus community.” “Sustainability is not a new thing for engineers,” said Elliot. “Solving the world’s technical problems in a manner Electrical engineering student Colleen Cheung plugs in the charger for a new Ford Focus Electric donated to Cal Poly. that most efficiently uses the resources available — that’s of industry leaders that includes Burns & something we’ve always done. This initiative only reinforces what engineering disci- McDonnell, CH2M HILL, the Electric Power Research Institute, Humboldt State Uniplines variously refer to as holistic design, versity, Kearns & West, National Renewcritical thinking, whole-systems thinking able Energy Laboratory, Oceanlinx, Pacific and life-cycle analysis.” Marine Renewables, Sandia National Laboratories, Science Applications InterSea Change in Energy national Corporation, Scripps Institution One of the newest and most promising of Oceanography and Virginia Tech. renewable energy sources — ocean waves — is also the most costly, primarily because the equipment involved must be able to withstand the marine environment. “The California coast is ripe for realizing the promise of ocean wave energy,” said Sam Blakeslee, director of Cal Poly’s Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy. The institute was recently awarded a $750,000 grant from the federal Department of Energy to assess the feasibility of a grid-connected wave energy testing facility in California. The selected site will be called the California Wave Energy Test Center or CalWave. The facility would allow equipment prototypes to be tested in a safe and controlled environment that replicates conditions at sea. Cal Poly’s yearlong study will involve evaluation of two potential sites, including cost of site development, facility construc-


Paving the Way: Ford Focus Electric and Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

The recent donation of a 2013 Ford Focus Electric by the estate of John Lake provides a “rolling lab” for Cal Poly’s Electric Vehicle Evaluation and Education Program. “The gift expands opportunities for students to work on state-of-the-art electric vehicle technology, supports their research and in-class work, and advances transportation electrification,” said Dolan, who runs the program with Cal Poly Scholar in Residence John Dunning. A pending proposal could bring 12 electric vehicle charging stations and a DC fast charger to university parking lots, which is expected to increase the use of electric vehicles on campus. n

Taking on Poverty Multidisciplinary grant to add innovation and entrepreneurship to student humanitarian projects


al Poly will add a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship to university programs that serve people living in poverty through a $10,000 Sustainable Vision grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA). The multidisciplinary grant proposal was developed by faculty members Kathy Chen in the Materials Engineering Department, Sema Alptekin Ervin Cal Poly student design projects that help in the Industrial and Manufacturing impoverished communities like this corn Engineering Department, and Jonade-kerneler will benefit from a new grant from than York, a professor in the Orfalea the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. College of Business and co-founder of Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & women painstakingly de-kerneling Entrepreneurship. corn, the group devised a low-cost “Faculty and students alike want to implement made from locally available apply their knowledge and education materials to improve the process and to assist underprivileged people,” said Chen. “This grant will enable two note- increase productivity. The NCIIA grant will enable Cal Poly worthy student groups students to investigate — Engineers Without “This grant will other innovative entreBorders (EWB) and Cal enable two noteworthy preneurship opportuniPoly Entrepreneurties like this.” ship — to collaborate student groups — The NCIIA is part of a to address poverty and Engineers Without cross-university effort sustainability in tarto incorporate humanigeted communities in Borders (EWB) and tarian projects into the developing countries.” Cal Poly Entrepreneurship curriculum. “We’ve EWB has four international engineering (CPE) — to collaborate found that many students, especially projects underway in impoverished comto address poverty and women and other underrepresented groups, munities in Nicaragua, sustainability in targeted are motivated by a India, Thailand and humanitarian focus,” Malawi. Through the communities in said Alptekin Ervin. NCIIA grant, EWB developing countries.” “When they apply their teams will assess the knowledge and skills needs of those commuKathy Chen Materials Engineering to helping others, they nities and share their gain valuable educaideas with the campus tional outcomes.” community. Based on these assessAccording to Alptekin Ervin, huments, Cal Poly students will have the manitarian projects inspire students’ opportunity to evaluate and develop creativity and professional developinnovative enterprise projects that can ment, preparing them for their senior raise the standard of living in EWB’s projects, graduate work and entreprepartner communities. neurial careers, and also make a real “The inspiration for this proposed impact on the world. “Projects like project comes from a successful experience of the EWB-India team,” ex- these introduce our students to topics such as cultural awareness, poverty, plained Alptekin Ervin. “Although the economics and sustainability in realteam’s primary goal was to implement world contexts,” she said. n a sanitation project, after observing

Student News

Simply Outstanding

Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers honors five Outstanding Women in Engineering recipients for 2013


he Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers (SWE) announced the recipients of the 2013 Outstanding Women in Engineering Award at this year’s Evening with Industry held Jan. 30 at the San Luis Obispo Embassy Suites. In addition, more than $30,000 in scholarships were awarded. The banquet was attended by close to 300 students, faculty, staff and representatives from 27 companies. The event highlighted students for their accomplishments. In addition to the six Outstanding Women in Engineering honorees, 31 students received scholarship awards from Amazon Lab 126, Boeing, Cal Poly SWE, Chevron, Eaton Corp., Fluor, Lockheed Martin, Mazzetti, NetApp, Orbital Sciences, Parker Aerospace, Phillips, Raytheon, Solar Turbines and Tory Bruno (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1985). The Outstanding Women in Engineering winners were chosen based on four criteria: faculty recommendations, demonstrated leadership, related work experience and GPA. Each of the winners is actively engaged in several extracurricular activities. The winners are:

n Kathryn Bohn

A mechanical engineering senior from Citrus Heights, Calif., Bohn founded an engineering sorority, Alpha Omega Epsilon, to assist female engineering students in

making professional contacts. Bohn has also presented research at the California Teaching Symposium and interned with Eaton Corp. and Phillips.

n Cecilia Cadenas

A computer engineering senior from Rio Vista, Calif., Cadenas moved to the U.S. from Mexico 12 years ago. Cadenas has been an active member and officer in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. She traveled to Malta and Sicily for an interdisciplinary project with the International Computer Engineering Experience (ICEX), and she also interned with Raytheon.

n Sara Hellstrom

From Santa Clara, Calif., Hellstrom is completing Cal Poly’s blended degree program to receive both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. She has interned at Thoratec and Pathwork Diagnostics and has been on the Dean’s List for 11 quarters. As the Nicaragua project manager for Engineers Without Borders, Hellstrom is leading a team of students to improve sanitation conditions in the small community of William Galiano.

to design and produce a solar rechargeable light and cell phone charger (LunaLight) for use in developing countries. She has held officer positions in Engineers Without Borders and the Engineering Student Council. She has interned with Solar Turbines and Parker Aerospace, and in India with Athena Infonomics and Yieldopia Energy.

n Sara Lillard

An aerospace engineering senior from Littleton, Colo., Lillard has held officer positions in SWE, Alpha Omega Epsilon, Tau Beta Pi (national engineering honor society) and several other organizations. She has interned at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Eaton Corp., and worked on two senior design projects: the Venus and CubeSat project missions. n

Below: The Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers Outstanding Women in Engineering recipients for 2013 included, left to right: Cecilia Cadenas (Computer Engineering), Gabby Igel (Industrial Engineering), Sara Hellstrom (Biomedical Engineering), Kathryn Bohn (Mechanical Engineering) and Sara Lillard (Aerospace Engineering).

n Gabby Igel

An industrial engineering senior from Encinitas, Calif., Igel is working with an interdisciplinary team


Student News

Cal Poly Students Recognized in Sacramento S

eventeen students received special recognition on the floors of the California State Senate and Assembly in early February. The leadership group included representatives of Cal Poly student teams that won national and international competition awards over the past year. Assembly member Katcho Achadjian presented each student with a certificate of recognition on behalf of the state legislature, and students met privately with Senator Bill Monning before being presented to the Senate. College of Engineering award winners included: • Ian Davison (Mechanical Engineering) representing the Rose Parade Float, which won the Crown City Innovation Award. • Trevor Goehring (Aerospace Engineering) representing Team Transformers Aviation, which won first place in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Undergraduate Team Aircraft Design Competition. • Jessie Klemme (Environmental Engineering), president, Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers, which won

Seventeen Cal Poly students received special recognition on the floor of the California State Assembly in Sacramento.

the national Gold Level Award. • Ann Livingston-Peters (Civil Engineering) representing the Cal Poly Supermileage Vehicle Team, which won first place for innovative design at the Shell Ecomarathon.

• Chris Pittner (Environmental Engineering) representing the Cal Poly team that won the International Environmental Design Contest sponsored by the Institute for Energy and the Environment/Western Ecological Research Center. n

CalGeo Club is Breaking New Ground


CalGeo officers, from left to right: Max Rossiter, vice president; Keegan Arnt, president; Jim Hanson, faculty advisor; Zech Alton-Szwabowski, treasurer; Olivia Davis, secretary; Ana Kirichuk, speakers coordinator; and Quintin Flores, tours coordinator.


al Poly CalGeo, the college’s newest club, is a student branch of the professional chapter of the California Geotechnical Engineering Association. The club members’ interests are grounded in one of the oldest forms of civil engineering: earthenworks. “Geotechnology engineering relates to the analysis and design of earthen structures and interactions of infrastructure components with soil and rock,” said Keegan Arnt, fourth-year civil engineering major and club president. “The discipline has existed in some form for millennia — it’s now embracing technological advancements.” Geotechnical engineers also investigate the behavioral dynamics of activities as varied as earthquakes, landslides and fracking, and help solve logistical challenges such as how and where to store hazardous waste, Arnt explained. “Some new areas of opportunity in the field include sustainable rehabil-

itation of our infrastructure, managing emerging wastes and byproducts, and optimizing design strategies to provide economical solutions to today’s challenges,” he noted. The club was started as a result of several students’ involvement with the GeoWall competition last year, in which Cal Poly placed second regionally and fifth nationally. The event challenges students to design a scale retaining wall made of two types of paper and packaging tape to hold back hundreds of pounds of backfill sand. “We were one of the few undergraduate teams, and also one of the few teams to do all of our own testing and designing on campus,” said Arnt. “We hope this club can help convey the possibilities of a geotechnical engineering career and further strengthen the reputation of Cal Poly’s civil and environmental engineering program,” said Arnt. n

Student News NASA’s Bright Stars

Cal Poly aerospace engineering senior selected for elite group of student ambassadors for NASA’s virtual community


the Langley Aerospace amantha Rawlins, a Cal Research Student Scholars Poly aerospace engineering Program, one of NASA’s senior, is among an elite group most prestigious and sucof interns inducted into NASA’s cessful student research Student Ambassadors Virtual programs. In 2012, she inCommunity (NSAVC). terned at the NASA PropulRawlins is the first Cal Poly sion Academy in Huntsville, student to receive the honor, Ala., where she joined a joining 104 other top-performteam made up mostly of ing interns selected to serve as college graduates and 2014 Cohort VI student ambasmaster’s-level students. sadors, representing the sixth NSAVC is an online netyear of the program. Aerospace engineering senior Samantha Rawlins was selected work designed to elevate “As a young female engineering student,” said Rawlins, for NASA’s Student Ambassadors the experiences, visibility Virtual Community. and contributions of the “I feel that it’s crucial for other interns, who are located young students, particularly across the U.S. young girls, to see role models in science, “I am delighted to welcome these bright technology, engineering and math fields. I students to the NASA education family want to show them that these are areas that as Cohort VI student ambassadors,” said are no longer defined by geeky personaliRoosevelt Johnson, NASA’s deputy associties and pocket protectors. Instead, these ate administrator for education. “They are fields are filled with people who have a love in a unique position to inspire their fellow of solving problems and a desire to advance students and the public and to help NASA mankind through technology and science.” cultivate the next generation of scientists, The new inductees were nominated by engineers and explorers.” NASA managers and mentors based on the NASA managers and mentors nominated students’ recent internship performance and involvement in other NASA-related activities. the new inductees based on their internship performance and involvement in other In 2013, Rawlins was a summer intern NASA-related activities. n at NASA Langley Research Center through

In a Galaxy Close to SLO... Just for fun, mechanical engineering sophomore Alec Bialek built his own R2-D2, the famous robot from the 1977 science fiction film “Star Wars.” Complete with all the bells and whistles, the robot was constructed and programmed in the Mustang ’60 Fabrication Lab by Bialek “with only a little welding assistance.” Above, Bialek takes his R2-D2 out for a spin near Dexter Lawn.

“As a young female engineering student, I feel that it’s crucial for other young students, particularly young girls, to see role models in science, technology, engineering and math fields.” Samantha Rawlins | Aerospace Engineering

The Art of Digital Media

“Simple” by Kevin Ubay-Ubay

Computer-generated artwork created by graduate computer science students from Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UCLA were on display in the Cal Poly University Art Gallery in March. The show, co-sponsored by the Computer Science Department, included work of Cal Poly exhibitors Ian Dunn, Chris Wallis, Forrest Reiling, Sean Risser and Kevin Ubay-Ubay. Describing the creative process used on his image at right, Dunn said. “This is based on the Mandelbrot set, an iconic fractal discovered by French mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot in the early days of computer visualization. It was rendered using custom-built software running on one of Cal Poly’s GPU workstations.”

“RedBlueJuliaFractal” by Ian Dunn


Student News

Concrete Canoe Team Aims to Harvest Another Victory


Biomedical engineering students Kenny Gouin, left, and Taylor Hinsdale examine blood vessels in a mouse model of vascular disease. Below: A montage of fluorescent-stained blood flow in a muscle microvessel network. Brighter red indicates more blood flow.



aused primarily by insufficient blood flow due to blockage in a major artery, coronary heart disease is often treated with invasive bypass surgery. In some lucky patients, however, natural bypasses form around blockages in blood vessels called “collaterals.” The nature of collaterals is the subject of a laser speckle flowmetry project by Cal Poly biomedical engineering student Kenny Gouin. With image-optimization help from biomedical engineering student Taylor Hinsdale, Gouin is snapping a series of laser speckle flow photographs of blood vessels in a mouse that model vascular disease involving restricted blood flow to a region of muscle. “One of the goals in cardiovascular regenerative medicine is to stimulate the growth and function of collaterals in patients as an alternative to bypass grafting surgery,” said faculty advisor Trevor Cardinal. “Kenny’s project is to evaluate the effectiveness of collaterals in increasing blood flow. The longterm goal would be to determine the conditions that are required to make collaterals function or dilate normally.” Gouin will present the research as a poster at the annual meeting of the Microcirculatory Society in San Diego in late April. n

Civil engineering student Derek Carpenter, who serves as project manager for the Cal Poly Concrete Canoe Team, dusts the bottom of the Ambrosia for sealing in the image at top, and, below, sets up the agriculture-themed display base.

al Poly’s Concrete Canoe Team will go for its 17th victory in 18 tries at the American Society of Civil Engineers Pacific Southwest Conference in April with a canoe called “Ambrosia.” The canoe, built with a new honey-combed mesh process, is designed with a SLO-grown agriculture theme. Team members for 2014 include civil engineering students Sean Pringle, Derek Carpenter, Raymond Qi, Mark Mueller, Chris Kehoe, Kristen Nugent, Ryan Morse and Susie White. n

Cal Poly Steel Bridge

Members of Cal Poly’s Steel Bridge Team carry their new bridge across Engineering Plaza after practice for the American Society of Civil Engineers Pacific Southwest Conference in April. The team includes civil engineering students Alan Blevins, Tyler von Iderstein, Drew Glover, Logan McNeil and Kevin Raives. The bridge, which weighs about 90 pounds, is designed to support 2,400 pounds.

Student News

Prepping for Battle Cal Poly’s Human Powered Vehicle and Supermileage teams gear up for competition The Aero Hangar Shop was humming in March with hundreds of engineering students working on projects. Both the Cal Poly Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) and Supermileage teams were busy working weekends for big competitions in April. The HPV Team will compete in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Human Powered Vehicle Challenge on April 25-27 in San Jose. On the same weekend, the Supermileage Team will compete in the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas competition in Houston, Texas. At right, HPV team members pose after sanding molds for the carbon fiber shell.

Working in the Bonderson Projects Center, mechanical engineering students Trent Hellmann, left, and Will Hilgenberg put together the two halves of the carbon fiber shell for the Cal Poly Human Powered Vehicle.

At right, the multidisciplinary Cal Poly Supermileage Vehicle Team includes Finley Marbury (Materials Engineering), Shota Watanabe (Aerospace Engineering) and Lucas Rybarczyk (Mechanical Engineering). The smiling trio was charged with dismantling the wooden framework for the molds. At left, mechanical engineering student Sean Michel works on the carbon fiber shell of the Supermileage vehicle. n


Department News Preparing Cal Poly Engineering students for careers in the space industry is the goal of a new online program from Extended Education. (Photos Space Systems/Loral)

Space Systems Technology Cal Poly offers graduate certificate to help prepare engineers for space industry


he new online offering from Extended Education prepares engineers to work in key areas of spacecraft technology. According to Eric Mehiel, chair of the Aerospace Engineering Department, the goal of the program is to educate working engineers with a system-level awareness in the complex technologies of spacebased systems. “These complicated systems require a multidisciplinary team of engineers to develop, deploy and operate,” he said. “The particular technologies involved also require engineers with a broad knowledge

base. Understanding the interaction of the functional units and technologies is exceedingly important.” The certificate program takes advantage of Cal Poly faculty expertise in areas such as spacecraft attitude control, modeling and simulation for systems engineering, astrodynamics, systems integration engineering, advanced product development and materials, and more. Students in the Space Systems Technology program will learn about all major functional units of a space-based system from spacecraft dynamics to software architecture. The certificate is designed with the non-aerospace engineer in mind, but is open to all those working in the industry. For more information about the program see n

Snapshot from Space


A camera aboard Cal Poly’s IPEX satellite snapped this view of the Australian coast on Dec. 6, 2013, one day after its launch from the Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. IPEX, short for Intelligent Payload Experiment, is the eighth CubeSat developed by Cal Poly and was sponsored by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The 10x10 cm, solar-powered CubeSat was designed to test onboard instrument processing for a proposed NASA CubeSat mission carrying a hyperspectral infrared imaging instrument. Meanwhile back on earth, Aerospace Engineering Professor Jordi Puig-Suari, right, explained the details of IPEX and the CubeSat program to KSBY-TV reporter Connie Tran during an interview at the Cal Poly earth station in Building 192. n

Creative Engineers Need Apply

Department News

Center for Creative Technologies connects engineering with humanities


hanks to the new Center for Expressive Technologies (CET), Cal Poly engineers with a creative bent — and artists with technological talent — will have new opportunities for interdisciplinary projects that focus on creative expression, technical innovation and community engagement. Initiated by faculty associated with the Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies Program (LAES) and approved by President Jeffrey D. Armstrong last fall, the new center engages students in projects that connect technology and

engineering to the arts and humanities. “The center’s mission is broad and it encompasses a lot of different activities — everything from the development of computer games and storytelling applications to the creation of expressive environments and interactive theater work,” said Elizabeth Lowham, CET director. One such environment was Area 55: Be Scared, an event last fall at Los Osos Middle School (LOMS). CET supported the design, creation and operation of Area 55, which challenged Cal Poly and middle school students to transform the campus into a fictional universe invaded by genetically engineered organisms. LAES and architecture students participated in a monthlong design/build process to create the centerpiece of the Area 55 experience. The student teams provided designs for the 6,000-square-foot area that included sound and light, creative direction, documentation and media. The winning design focused on labs and a nesting area created by the genetically engineered organisms after a mysterious crash. A

Photo: LAES student Jack Bowen oversees the construction of the genetically engineered organisms’ crash site and nesting area for Area 55.

Cal Poly Announces Online Graduate Certificate for Engineering Professionals

Mechanical Engineering Manufactures a New Concentration



new manufacturing concentration in the Mechanical Engineering Department (ME) equips students to incorporate manufacturability concerns into product and component design decisions. “We want to increase students’ knowledge of manufacturing methods, so they practice ‘design for manufacturing’ best practices,” said Industrial and Manufacturing Professor Dan Waldorf. “This new concentration will make our graduates even more productive because they will engineer products and systems that have the highest quality and lowest cost.” Offered for the first time this year, the goals of the concentration include the ability to design processes, plan and interpret production testing, and demonstrate hands-on knowledge of manufacturing practices. Members of both the Mechanical Engineering and the Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Industrial Advisory Boards voiced strong support for the program. The industry partners indicated that manufacturing concentration graduates would be in high demand as employees. “Especially in small companies, engineers often perform both the product

separate group of students worked with professor Michael Haungs (Computer Science and LAES) to design a prequel experience through PolyXpress, a web app that allows participants to create and share location-based, multimedia stories on mobile devices. Cal Poly senior Ethan Lockwood commented, “Working with LOMS and its students as a real-world client and partner — as part of a large interdisciplinary Cal Poly team — pushed our endurance but also enhanced our creativity and problem-solving capabilities.” During 2013-14, CET is also supporting student projects in conjunction with the San Luis Obispo Mini Maker Faire, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, a Des/Dev Hackathon and Re/Collecting. “We’re constantly seeking great opportunities for students and faculty from across the university to explore the interactions between expression and technology in ways that provide real-world experiences and skills,” Lowham said. n

Mechanical engineering student Andrew Wood works in the Mustang ’60 Project Shop.

design/development role, and the manufacturing engineer role,” explained Waldorf. “ME graduates from the manufacturing concentration will be uniquely suited for this career path. “They will also have the background to move into manufacturing tool design careers. Moreover, manufacturability is one of the most important criteria driving product design. By completing the manufacturing concentration, ME students will have the specialized skills to be manufacturing-savvy design engineers,” he added. n

ration platform used in the course. al Poly’s College of Engineering anSIE’s main curriculum consists of nounced the establishment of the three, 10-week graduate-level courses Systems Integration Engineering (SIE) program, a new online graduate program delivered fully online during Cal Poly’s fall, winter and spring academic quardesigned for working engineers aspiring ters. Course content will be accessible to take on additional technical responsionline anytime through Cal bility and leadership. “Students Poly’s learning management “Students obtaining the system, PolyLearn, while 13-academic-unit graduate obtaining the synchronous class meetings certificate in SIE will develop 13-academic-unit will be held live using the a holistic view of systems graduate university’s online collaboradevelopment and integration certificate in SIE tion platform. from a multidisciplinary perwill develop a holistic “The goal of the SIE prospective,” said Kurt Colvin, gram is to prepare disciplineprogram director. “Approachview of systems specific, working engineers ing systems, products and development and for additional responsibility services from the top down integration from a and leadership positions in is often a different perspecmultidisciplinary socio-technical organizative for engineers working in perspective.” tions,” said Colvin. “We domain-specific disciplines, expect those who complete such as mechanical engineerthe certificate to have broad knowledge ing and aerospace engineering.” in many diverse, technical disciplines The program begins with a two-day, that will allow them to integrate system on-site orientation at Cal Poly, where elements into a set of solutions that satenrollees meet fellow students, staff and isfy customer needs within budget and faculty; review the program’s learning schedule constraints.” objectives; and complete distance educaFor program details and to apply, go tion technology training — the learning to: n management system and online collabo-


Project News To the Very Core: San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Project is Real World — and Real Deep


s the demand for downtown living escalates, cities are growing both skyward and below the ground. Urban deep space is the new frontier — and for an urban excavation of unprecedented scale, few projects can match the Transbay Transit Center (TTC) in San Francisco. Over the past three years the massive “big dig” near First and Mission Streets has provided several civil engineering undergraduate and graduate students a big picture of the distinct challenges of underground construction projects in heavily built, highly seismic areas. One of the largest transportation projects in the nation, the TTC is the future hub of 11 transit The Transbay Transit Center features levels for trains and buses and is topped by a 5-acre park. At left, Cal Poly civil engineering student systems including Bay Jason Auyeung unloads geophysical testing equipment used to study real-time changes in soil stiffness in the massive excavation. Area Rapid Transit, the Science Foundation to study performance of deep and wide team members included Justin Martos (B.S./M.S., Civil & Muni, a regional Caltrain excavation in congested urban areas. The team included Environmental Engineering, 2012), Jason Auyeung (B.S., Civil commuter rail and California Engineering, 2013), and graduate student Jasper Jacobs. High Speed Rail. It is the center- students and researchers from Cal Poly, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Berkeley, University of Texas at Austin “By measuring and monitoring the changes in soil stiffness piece of an overall vision that and industry partner ARUP North America Ltd. due to the massive excavation the students and I produced includes the city’s new tallest “Cal Poly’s research contribution — collecting real-time data beyond what’s currently available,” said Moss. “In the building, the 1,070-foot Transdata on soil conditions and behavior — was critical,” said process, they had a front-row seat to a transformative project bay Transit Tower. Moss. “Our research, like the excavation itself, has had to be that will create a world-class transportation system. The enormity of the plan conducted with minimal disruption to surrounding infrastruc“Demand for underground space is only going to grow — can be seen in the TTC’s monumental footprint — 185 feet ture and economic activity. Add to that, San Francisco is a city it’s a key to sustainable urban living. This research project is a wide, 60 feet deep and more than 1,500 feet long — in the that’s non-stop. As my colleague says, ‘It’s like conducting wonderful example of how real-life experiences are preparing heart of San Francisco’s financial district. open heart surgery on a patient running a marathon.’” our students for the future,” Moss said. “The excavation is unprecedented in scale on the West “Every year I have had one or two graduate and underSee for more on the Transbay Transit Coast,” said Robb Moss, Cal Poly civil engineering associate graduate students involved on the team. Recent Cal Poly Center. n professor. Moss was part of a team funded by the National

Fuels Rush In: Class Studies Alternatives


Methanol, “multi-fuels” and electricity-powered motorcycle projects were on display in professor Art MacCarley’s “Alternative Fuel Vehicles” (EE/BRAE 434) class during winter quarter. Supported by a $3,500 grant from Chevron, the class had projects that ranged from a solar-powered centrifuge that cleans kitchen grease for use as recycled fuel to a batteryswap system for an electric van. At right, electrical engineering student Antonio Rodriguez demonstrates the centrifuge.

Project News

Robot Control

Holding Melfred Borzall’s Steep Taper Ultra Bit 3s in the company’s Santa Maria warehouse are, left to right, Cal Poly engineering students Kyle Robertson, Marc Jones and Brandon Fiorucci. Pictured at the far left is Melfred Borzall engineer Eric Garcia, and at right, Tom Rockwell and Eric Melsheimer.

Santa Maria drill manufacturer enlists Cal Poly engineers to help maximize robotic welder efficiency


elfred Borzall, a Santa Maria company, has a plan to increase throughput, develop shorter lead times and manufacture the highest-quality horizontal directional drilling parts on the market. They invested in a robotic welding cell and called in a Cal Poly industrial engineering senior project team to help assess the most efficient ways to use it. Seniors Brandon Fiorucci, Marc Jones and Kyle Robertson worked closely with Melfred Borzall engineers, including Tom Rockwell and Eric Melsheimer. Melsheimer is the grandson of the company founder, Fred Melsheimer, and son of alumnus Richard Melsheimer (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1961), company president. Faculty advisors included Kurt Colvin and Liz Schlemer, industrial and manufacturing engineering professors. “We started our project by shadowing the company engineers to understand the flow of material throughout the factory and the various processes to create a finished product,” Jones explained. “We then began working with the robotic welding cell and assisted Mr. Rockwell in designing experiments on the different robot weld settings that tested for penetration depth, arc, impurities and quality of weld.”

The Cal Poly students focused on welding Melfred Borzall’s highest-volume product, the Steep Taper Ultra Bit 3. “Part of the manufacturing process involves embedding tungsten carbide into the welds to prolong the life of the blade, during which the highly expensive material falls all over the floor,” said Jones. “We came up with a carbide recovery system that we built and installed with Mr. Rockwell.” Because the installation of the robotic welding cell altered the layout of the warehouse, the project team was also charged with designing storage areas for work in progress (WIP). To save floor space in the limited area, the team designed a stand to hold the cell fixtures

above the WIP. They also calculated the most efficient and convenient layout for pallets of customer orders. The final phase of the project will include time studies on the robot’s entire welding process and providing a cost analysis on the manual welding vs. robotic welding process in order to provide the company with an analysis of return on investment, payback period and other financial metrics. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with Cal Poly students,” said Eric Melsheimer. “Brandon, Marc and Kyle have brought technical expertise, fresh perspectives and a willingness to get their hands dirty. We are looking forward to seeing the results of their project.” n

Let It Flow: Research Project Measures the Air Flowing Over Aircraft Surfaces


orking as a research assistant with Professor Russell Westphal on the Boundary Layer Data System (BLDS) project was a “huge confidence builder” for mechanical engineering undergraduate Rachael Schelley. Schelley recently assembled, programmed and tested the BLDS-Rake, a new version of the Cal Poly BLDS, a small autonomous instrument that measures the air flow within the boundary layer near a surface on a full-scale operating aircraft or vehicle. Boundry layer measurements are important in the determination of an aircraft’s overall resistance or drag caused by friction as it moves through the air. “Rachael’s instrument allows for measurement of 16 separate pressures from probes located within a boundary layer,” said Weshphal. “This system allows for much more rapid measurement of the near‐surface flow than had been

possible with the previous approach that employed a single probe that used a motorized stage to make measurements at successive locations.” BLDS‐Rake was extensively evaluated in the Cal Poly 2x2-foot wind tunnel and under simulated altitude conditions in the Cal Poly thermal‐vacuum chamber. It was subsequently installed and flown successfully on a subsonic aircraft for in‐flight boundary layer measurements. Other students involved in the BLDS‐Rake project include Brittany Kinkade and Spencer Lillywhite. BLDS team consultant Don Frame completed the electronic design and assembly. The BLDS‐Rake project was completed with sponsorship from the Lockheed Martin Professor endowment. The BLDS development effort, undertaken with extensive support and collaboration from Northrop Grumman, has led to applications in eight flight test programs on five

Rachael Schelley (Mechanical Engineering) uses a wind tunnel to test air flow over aircraft surfaces.

different subsonic aircraft and ground‐ based measurements in wind tunnels and on vehicles. “My initial learning curve with the project was steep,” commented Schelley. “But it was really interesting to go from

theory to actual practice, and because of the variety of skills and issues involved, I know that I can adapt in a professional environment. The work confirmed that fluids and aircraft are areas I want to pursue.” n


Faculty News

Faculty Notes n Dean’s Office Debra Larson, dean, and co-authors Ron McKean, interim associate dean of operations at Ferris State University’s College of Engineering Technology, and Steven Cramer, associate dean of engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, published “Learning Outcomes: Less is More” (ASEE Prism Magazine, Vol. 23, no. 6, pg. 54, February 2014). The article advocates streamlining ABET’s Criterion 3. nnn Rakesh Goel, associate dean, was elected a fellow of the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI). The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) SEI Fellowship recognizes a select group of distinguished SEI members as leaders and mentors in the structural engineering profession. Goel was appointed chair of the Dynamic Effects Technical Administrative Committee of the ASCE SEI. In this position, he provides leadership to three committees and several subcommittees with focus on seismic, blast, shock, impact and multi-hazard mitigation.

n Multidisciplinary Scott Hazelwood (Biomedical Engineering) and Steve Klisch (Mechanical Engineering) published “Integrating qPLM and Biomechanical Test Data with an Anisotropic Fiber Distribution Model and Predictions of TGF-β1 and IGF-1 Regulation of Articular Cartilage Fiber Modulus” with mechanical engineering students Mike Stender and Kevin Yamauchi; colleagues Chris Raub, Reza Shirazi and Robert Sah from UC Davis; and Pasquale Vena from Politecnico di Milano. The article appeared in Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology (Vol.12, no. 6; pp. 1073-1088, 2013).


Rack ’em

Engineering instructor’s unique bicycle rack design may be two times better


hen Cal Poly industrial and manufacturing engineering instructor Rod Hoadley was looking to design a more space-efficient bicycle rack about 12 years ago, he hit on a simple solution: Two is better than one. “Our bike racks have two tiers, so there are no handlebar conflicts,” said Hoadley, founder of Peak Racks in San Luis Obispo. “The vertically staggered design eliminates handlebar tangles and achieves tight density parking. That makes them popular for city sidewalks, in small garages or anywhere space is at a premium.” Hoadley, an avid cyclist who learned to weld as a Cal Poly engineering technology student in the early 1990s, said his patented bike racks are now all over campus and downtown San Luis Obispo. “I can lock up on one of our racks at Campus Market or by my office and then ride downtown to Linnaea’s for coffee and park at another of our racks,” Hoadley said. “They are especially popular on college campuses. We’ve sold racks to universities across the country — from the University of Florida and Vanderbilt to Texas A&M and UC Santa Barbara.” Hoadley, who employs dozens of Cal Poly

n Aerospace Engineering Eric Mehiel, chair, co-authored “Modeling and Simulation of Autonomous Thermal Soaring with Horizon Simulation Framework” presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Conference on Modeling and Simulation Technologies in National Harbor, Md.

students during Peak Racks’ more intense spring-to-summer manufacturing season, said his innovative two-tiered system also allows for easier locking. “The bigger guys don’t have to bend down quite so far, and there’s a little more there to put a lock on,” he said. “We wanted to make cycling fun for everyone and finding accessible parking and racks that are easy to attach a lock to makes that possible.” For more on Peak Racks, see n

n Biomedical &

General Engineering

Kristen Cardinal has coordinated MEDITEC projects with Edwards Lifesciences for seven years. MEDITEC is the Cal Poly consortium that connects biomedical engineering students with projects generated by top biomedical companies. Edwards has funded $350,000 in projects

Rod Hoadley, an instructor for the Cal Poly Industrial & Manufacturing Department and founder of Peak Racks, parks his bicycle in front of Linnaea’s Cafe in San Luis Obispo. Peak Racks can be found all over downtown and the Cal Poly campus, above left.

to date, supporting five to 10 student and team projects a year. This year, Cardinal is faculty advisor to eight such projects, which include students majoring in biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, general engineering and industrial and manufacturing engineering. The students will present their final projects to Edwards engineers and managers.

Faculty News

New Faculty Member Believes in Predictive, Personalized and Preemptive Health Care


loskeletal biomechanics, medis a research associate cal device design, biomedical at Stanford, Saikat Pal imaging, statistical analysis in developed predictive and design and design for extreme personalized methods for affordability. diagnosis of musculoskel“I am working on compuetal disorders. “I discovered tational algorithms to analyze new relationships between the terabytes of data we are quadriceps muscle activation generating every day in health imbalance and joint malcare, often referred to as Big alignment in patients with Data,” he said. “These data knee pain, and developed Saikat Pal will be instrumental in uncovcomputational models to Biomedical ering the mysteries of many study the underlying mechaEngineering diseases, streamlining treatnisms,” he said. ment pathways and shaping policies in Pal joined Cal Poly this winter — he the 21st century.” teaches in biomedical engineering, where he brings his passion for develPal earned his bachelor’s, master’s oping technology to improve lives and and doctorate degrees in computer reduce health care costs. His research engineering and mechanical engineering interests are in the areas of neuromuscu- from the University of Denver. n

nnn Trevor Cardinal co-authored “Smooth Muscle Cell Dysfunction Reduces Functional Vasodilation in Pre-existing and Newly Formed Arterial Collaterals” with Ryan Gallagher (B.S./M.S., Biomedical Engineering, 2012), and current B.S./M.S. students Sara Hellstrom, Joshua Cutts, and Jennifer Go. Cardinal presented the abstract at the Microcirculatory Society fall meeting in Hyannis, Mass.

n Civil & Environmental Engineering Tryg Lundquist gave talks on the biofuel potential of waste-grown algae and improved wastewater treatment sustainability using microalgae at the Algae Biomass Summit in Orlando, Fla., and at WEFTEC, the water quality event™ conference sponsored by the Water Environment Federation in Chicago.

n Computer Science

& Software Engineering

Foaad Khosmood co-authored “The Global Game Jam as a Venue for Teaching and Learning” presented at the 26th Computing and Information Technology Research and Education New Zealand (CITRENZ) Conference in Hamilton, New

Zealand. The paper won the 2013 CITRENZ Award for Collaborative Research. Khosmood was named the first senior research fellow at Cal Poly’s new Institute for Technology and Public Policy (IATPP). Alexander Dekhtyar and Franz Kurfess were named faculty scholars for the institute. Khosmood co-organized the 6th annual Global Game Jam (GGJ), the world’s largest game development activity, involving more than 480 locations in 72 countries. Local participation was hosted by the Cal Poly Game Development club (CPGD). Forty participants from Cal Poly created 10 games. 2014 games made at Cal Poly can be viewed from the GGJ website: nnn Zoe Wood co-authored “Surface Reconstruction of Ancient Water Storage Systems: An Approach for Sparse 3D Sonar Scans and Fused Stereo Image,” published in Proceedings of International Conference on Computer Graphics Theory and Applications (GRAPP) held in Lisbon, Portugal. She gave a presentation at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Minneapolis on “The Blessings of a Broken Robot: Valuable Lessons for Computer Scientists about International Engineering, Field Research and Outreach.” Wood and computer science instructor

Environmental Engineering Professor Sam Vigil, above, and Cal Poly research assistant Neal Adler look at methane and carbon dioxide readings during a Remote Air Sensing Campaign at the Cal Poly Dairy.

Vigil Honored for Paper on Sensing Greenhouse Gases and Takes Part in Study at Cal Poly Dairy


nvironmental Engineering Professor Sam Vigil, a fellow of the Air and Waste Management Association (A&WMA), received the Best Paper Award at the A&WMA Regional Specialty Conference on Sustainable Resources and Air Quality Management in Yilan, Taiwan. The conference was the first joint meeting of the China, Hong Kong and Taiwan Sections of the A&WMA. Vigil was one of four American engineers to present at the event. His paper addressed “Remote Sensing of Greenhouse Gases from Landfills,” research that Vigil has undertaken on ground- and aircraftbased greenhouse gas monitoring. The practical application of his research proved valuable in early March when Vigil participated in a Remote Air

Sensing Campaign at the Cal Poly Dairy. Coordinated with Cal Poly Farm Operations, the College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences and the Cal Poly Dairy Science Department, the effort included researchers from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Bubbleology Research International. Vigil said the researchers employed new sampling instruments on the ground and in a NASA AlphaJet flying overhead that measured the amount of methane and CO2 in the air above the working dairy. “The Cal Poly Dairy is a unique site for this research because it is isolated from other methane sources,” Vigil said. “NASA and private resources were supplied at no cost to Cal Poly and the data collected will be used for peer-reviewed papers.” n


Steffen Peuker Joins Cal Poly as the James L. Bartlett Jr. Endowed Professor

Faculty News Julie Workman also conducted a workshop at the conference on “Computational Art Using Processing for CS0.” In conjunction with Kari Friedman, president of the Computer Science Industrial Advisory Board (CSC-IAB), Wood launched the CSC-IAB mentoring program, which matches female students with board members.

n Electrical Engineering Dennis Derickson, chair, and graduate student Desmond Talkington presented “O-Band (1310 nm) Vernier-Tuned Distributed Bragg Reflector (VT-DBR) Laser Device Characterization for Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)” at the 2014 SPIE Biomedical Optics Conference in San Francisco. The paper discussed a new technology laser that promises higher performance solutions for tissue imaging. nnn Taufik was invited to participate in the Indonesia Summit 2014 organized by the Economist and held in Jakarta, Indonesia. He served as a panelist in a session on “Eastern Indonesia” to discuss rural electrification using his research work on DC House technology that he is developing at Cal Poly. He published “Rural Electrification: The DC House Solution” in Powering Up: Perspectives on Indonesia’s Energy Future published online by the Economist ( analysis/powering).

n Materials Engineering Kathy Chen, chair, was named a fellow of the Alpha Sigma Mu (AΣMu) Materials Honor Society at the MS&T Conference in Montreal. She presented “Living in a Material World: Materials Engineering as a General Education course on Technology” at the Materials Research Society (MRS) fall meeting in Boston, Mass. She joined members of the Materials Engineering Student Society at TMS (The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society) Annual Meeting in San Diego, where she also hosted a materials engineering alumni dinner. Chen led numerous outreach efforts:


The Materials Engineering Department was selected as one of 75 NOVA Making Stuff outreach sites for Engineers Week during which Cal Poly materials engineering students made pinewood derby cars with the Oceano Boys & Girls Club. As a project in a materials engineering freshman course, students held a Materials Mini Maker Faire at the Los Osos Middle School. Chen also facilitated the College of Engineering’s co-sponsorship of the SLO Mini Maker Faire. nnn Trevor Harding was selected by the National Science Foundation to participate in an IdeasLab in Leesburg, Va. that addresses the problem of social inequity in the access to and use of new technology. A methodology developed in the UK, the IdeasLab is a novel approach to brainstorming transformative strategies for addressing significant social problems.

n Mechanical Engineering Mohammad Noori was invited to become a founding member of the U.S. Advisory Board, Indo-U.S. Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE). The goal of the IUCEE is to improve the quality and global relevance of engineering education and research in India. Noori was also invited to become a founding advisory council member for the New Engineering University, a practical, private engineering school founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Scott Kauffman. Noori co-authored “Precautions to Consider in Using Wavelet Transformation for Damage Detection Analysis of Plates” published in Smart Structures and Systems (Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 63-81, 2013) and “A Finite Element Model Based on Coupled Refined High-Order GlobalLocal Theory for Static Electromechanical Analysis of Embedded Shear Mode Piezoelectric Sandwich Composite Beams with Various Widths” published in Thin-Walled Structures (Vol. 72, pp. 139-13, 2013). He co-authored “WaveletBased Techniques for Structural Health Monitoring,” a chapter in Health Assessment of Engineered Structures (World Scientific, ed. Achintya Haldar, Chapter 7, pp. 179-199, 2013). n


teffen Peuker’s interest in enhancing student success through projectbased learning makes him a natural fit at Cal Poly. He joined the Mechanical Engineering Department in winter 2014 as the James L. Bartlett Jr. Endowed Professor. “My current research emphasis is on the scholarship of teaching and learning,” said Peuker, who Steffen Peuker, the James L. Bartlett Jr. Endowed Professor, will has work underway in teach and conduct research in the HVAC&R lab. the implementation Hochschule Mannheim University of of team-based learning in engineering Applied Sciences. He earned a master’s courses. He is also investigating whether degree and doctorate in mechanical scifirst-year engineering students have ence and engineering from the University higher rates of academic success when of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. they design their own individually tailored learning process. About the James L. Bartlett Jr. En“I am interested in incorporating acdowed Professorship tive learning into heating, ventilation, air The Brown Family Foundation estabconditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) lished the James L. Bartlett Jr. Profescourses,” added Peuker. “Cal Poly offers sorship to promote multidisciplinary a unique opportunity to further expand project-based learning. James L. Bartlett my research in this area as a result of Jr., mentor to Ross Brown, is an engineerits HVAC&R concentration and stellar entrepreneur, who transformed technical laboratories. Plus, Cal Poly’s relationship expertise and business experience into with the HVAC&R industry allows me to pioneering developments in a wide range actively pursue industry-relevant student of technical fields, the founding of six busiand research projects.” nesses and a remarkable career. n Peuker has a bachelor’s degree from

Helene Finger Honored by Cuesta College


elene Finger, director of Cal Poly’s Women’s Engineering Program, is one of four recipients of the 37th Women of Distinction awards sponsored by Cuesta College and Women’s Legacy Fund of the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County. The award honors women from throughout the Central Coast for their professional and civic contributions. Finger was recognized with the Progress for Women Award for her directorship of the Women’s Engineering Program, a position she has held for 15 years. She also serves as faculty advisor to the Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and she received the Outstanding SWE Counselor Award at the 2013 SWE national convention.

Under her mentorship, the Cal Poly chapter has received the national Gold Level Outstanding Collegiate Section Award for the last three years and 10 times since 2002. Helene Finger A Cal Poly alum- Civil & Environmental Engineering na, she earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1988 and her master’s in civil and environmental engineering in 1989. Finger has taught in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department since 1997. n


in the news

2000s Andrea Gardiner (B.S., Environmental Engineering, 2001)

Cal Poly Alumna Enrolled in Ph.D. Program at Vanderbilt Andrea Gardiner is working toward her doctorate in environmental engineering at Vanderbilt University. She is focusing on projects related to nuclear environmental engineering, including fuel cycle evaluation decision framework. She also works for Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, and Cannon as a staff engineer. nnn

Mark Paddon and Aaron Rivera (B.S., Computer Science, 2012)

New App for Hearst Castle Cal Poly grads have made taking a tour at Hearst Castle as easy as taking along your smart phone. They developed an app for mobile devices that makes it easy to explore and educate yourself at the same time. Your phone keeps track of where you are, and what notable pieces of history you’re approaching on your stroll. nnn

Aaron Peckham (B.S./M.S., Computer Science, 2005)

Cal Poly Computer Science Grad Turned Modest Website into the Internet’s Lexicon of Slang Aaron Peckham started Urban Dictionary in 1999 when he was a freshman at Cal Poly — and he’s now mulling the crowdsourced dictionary’s next phase. Continued on Page 23

Tres Clements: Prototype Maker Not Your Prototypical Engineer


Faculty Alumni News Cal Poly manufacturing engineering graduate Tres Clements is now working in prototyping at specialty photographic equipment manuafacturer Really Right Stuff in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

urt Colvin, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, remembers Tres Clements (B.S. Manufacturing Engineering, 2007) as a remarkable student from day one. “I first encountered Tres when he was a freshman in my IME 144 manufacturing and design course. In the first class of the quarter, I outlined what would be covered. Afterward, he came up and said, ‘I’ve done all that. When can I start using the CNC machines on my own projects?’ breakthrough design and speed. designer was developing aerospace and He was, in effect, asking for nothing less “It was so impressive to see how hard new-concept aircraft — most famously than to take on one of Cal Poly’s most Burt worked. Even on the last project I the Voyager and, later, SpaceShipOne. The advanced manufacturing areas. worked with him on, I couldn’t beat him Voyager, the first plane to fly around the “Tres is fearless — not at all shy about to work, and he wasn’t leaving if I was still world without stopping or refueling, was taking on very demanding engineering there.” produced by Burt Rutan and his brother projects if he finds them interesting. And It was a unique experience and relaDick Rutan at the Rutan Aircraft Factory. I think that’s why he later clicked with the tionship that led to Clements inheriting SpaceShipOne, the world’s first privately legendary Burt Rutan (B.S., Aerospace the Boomerang, an asymmetric twinbuilt manned spacecraft to reach space, Engineering, 1965),” said Colvin. engine aircraft that some consider to be came out of Scaled Composites, the experiAviation interests and a talent for Rutan’s most unconventional work — and mental aircraft company founded by Burt making things have figured prominently one the maverick designer considers his Rutan in 1982. in Clements’ life from an early age. best general aviation aircraft design. “I caught the tail end of Burt’s time at “I got my first hot “He didn’t want to sell or donate it, Scaled,” said Clements. “It was a tremenair balloon license he wanted to keep it before my driver’s “Tres is fearless — not at all shy about taking on flying, and I was in the license,” recalled Cleright place at the right ments. very demanding engineering projects if he time,” said Clements. “At Cal Poly, I was “Burt technically still finds them interesting. And I think that’s why involved with the owns it. The agreeflight simulation, moment is that I operate he later clicked with the legendary Burt Rutan.” tion simulation and it as if I own it. I’ve asKurt Colvin | Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering lots of club activities. sumed all its expenses I bought a Cessna 150 and have done quite a at Cal Poly’s public surplus auction and dous experience working on projects bit of work on it. It has its own website at earned my pilot’s license here.” with him. His passion, his excitement, is” Following graduation, Clements unmatched — as is his ability to motivate When Rutan sold Scaled Composites worked at AeroMech, a manufacturer of people. Like many innovators, he underto Northrop Grumman in 2007, it gave unmanned aerial vehicles. stood his own strengths and weaknesses, Clements an opportunity to work for “There, I was more of a design engiand he surrounded himself with individuyet another innovation and engineering neer than a manufacturing engineer,” als who brought diverse and complementrailblazer, though this was a giant of a said Clements, “taking projects from tary skills — and then he brought out different scale. concept to completion. It expanded my their best. He was also remarkable for “Just the sheer size of Northrop Grumsense of what I could do and my interest how fast he made things happen. With man made for a significant cultural shift,” in seeing what else was out there.” Burt, we built prototypes, start to finish, said Clements. “I was going from a small, For some time Clements had been an in months not years. Throughout his no-rules operation to assimilating into avid follower of Rutan’s work in Mojave career, he produced a plane a year. It was See CLEMENTS, Page 22 Desert, Calif. That’s where the visionary a culture based on visionary concepts,


Alumni News Clements From Page 21

one of the world’s largest companies. But it was also an amazing job. I was assuming whole new levels of responsibility, including serving as lead engineer for one of the largest projects Scaled was working on at the time.” At about the same time, Clements married a Cal Poly graduate, and they found their paths leading them back to San Luis Obispo. Their return to the area coincided with the expansion of Really Right Stuff, a local company that takes “Made in America” pride in its locally manufactured, high-end camera support gear — from tripods to clamps, brackets and iPhone cases. The company, which started out in a garage, now resides in a sleek, modern, 90,000-square-foot facility across from the county’s regional airport. The new space, which features the company’s first in-house prototyping shop, presented a ground-floor opportunity that intrigued Clements. “That,” he laughed, “and the view of the airport it would give me — the Boomerang and my Piper Pacer airplane are in a hangar there, not far from Kurt Colvin’s. “I arrived at a time when Really Right Stuff was looking for someone who would be all about prototypes, and I’ve found that I thrive on the design and manufacturing involved. “For the first time, my work is much more aligned with what Cal Poly taught me. I learned how to machine when I was in high school, and it’s stuck with me. Not that Cal Poly makes machinists — and I’m not one — but I’m being one here in the sense that I can design the part and I can make the part. That’s the biggest key to prototyping, and it’s why it’s such a good fit for me. “If I hadn’t done everything else, I wouldn’t appreciate this job as fully as I do. The mix of design and prototyping involves me fully in the design cycle, which I really enjoy. “I work directly with Joe and Joan Johnson, the owners. With only about 22 employees, it’s much more like a family operation. We’re all working toward the same goal — perfection.” For more on Really Right Stuff, see: n


Making It

Mechanical engineering grad Rory Aronson helps found SLO MakerSpace community workshop


Mechanical ory Aronson (B.S. Mechanical Engiengineerneering, 2013) is busy making things. ing graduate “That’s what a facility like this is for,” Rory Aronson said Aronson about the just-opened SLO displays a robotic arm MakerSpace that he helped found in San project being Luis Obispo. worked on at Makerspaces are, in effect, “a commuSLO Makernity center with tools” where members — Space, a new typically a mix of artists, crafters, invencommunity workshop he tors, innovators, do-it-yourselfers — can helped found meet, collaborate and socialize. Over the in San Luis past 10 years, makerspaces have sprung Obispo. up in large urban cities and small towns as Aronson is people rediscover the simple joy of making developing a robotic farm things. machine at SLO MakerSpace, which is fairly typical the shop. of the genre, is a 3,300-square-foot facility in a small industrial area. Its eclectic inventory of tools, equipment, classes and resources reflect a mix of traditional arts and crafts and 21st century technology and industrial design: 3-D printers, laser cutters and computer-aided design machines there full time, but for myself,” he said. “FarmBot is my first major contribuseem right at home with classic handtools, Aronson explained that the move was tion in that area. Everything about it will sewing machines, routers and saws. the result of his being accepted into a be open source — from the hardware Aronson first heard about the makerfellowship program by the Shuttleworth design and software source code to the space concept last summer at Cal Poly’s Foundation. He will be working under a public plant data.” SLO HotHouse, an incubator program for $123,000 grant for full year and hopes to Since September, when he published entrepreneurs. bring FarmBot to market in that time. an online white paper about FarmBot, “I immediately turned around and said, “I had an idea for a new type of tracAronson has been building an interdisci‘Hey, I’d love to be involved because it tor, a new type of agriculture system. plinary, international team of software sounds really fun, a concept that I personThe result was FarmBot, an open-source, engineers, mechanical engineers, graphic ally would utilize and a resource I want scalable, automated precision-farming designers and agricultural specialists to to be available in this develop the project. community.’ That got me He’s exploring partner“I had an idea for a new type of tractor, on the ground floor, and ship possibilities with a new type of agriculture system. The result was the BioResource & here we are, a year later, and SLO MakerSpace is Agricultural EngiFarmBot, an open-source, scalable, automated open for business.” neering Department In fact, Aronson and the Strawberry precision-farming machine.” recently left his shop Sustainability Research management position at SLO MakerSpace and Education Center. machine,” Aronson said. because he, too, is opening a business “After graduation last spring, I real“Think of it like a giant 3-D printer, but called FarmBot — in a space he’s renting ized I had my degree, I could go anywhere instead of wielding a plastic extruder, its right upstairs. It’s one of several spaces tools are seed injectors, watering nozzles, — and entrepreneurship was definitely available to startup ventures like his. something I wanted to pursue,” Aronson plowers, sensors and more. Because it’s The arrangement enables him to said. “I consider myself a social entreprecomputer controlled, and each plant is remain on the board of directors and neur, and I intend to use business, engisowed and tended to individually, it’s a continue to teach classes as a volunteer. neering and design to tackle some of the precision-farming machine.” “Essentially I will be running FarmBot projAronson also considers himself part of biggest challenge we face today. FarmBot ect out of SLO MakerSpace and be working the open-source movement. is a step in that direction.” n

Alumni in the news Jackie Yee (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2000)

California Community Hikes Recycled Water Usage Jaclyn Yee, an associate civil engineer in Dublin, Calif., was featured as the cover story of PM Engineer Magazine for leading a major project as the local water district expanded its recycled water system to retrofit potable water irrigation at the city’s parks and schools. P65jwU

1990s Jonathan Moss Becker (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1999)

Becker Passes Engineering Doctorate Prospectus Exam Jonathan Becker passed the electrical and computer engineering Ph.D. prospectus exam at Carnegie Mellon University in October. His doctoral degree will be awarded following the defense of his thesis, “Dynamic Beamforming Optimization for Anti-Jamming and Hardware Fault Recovery.” nnn

Michael F. Cannon, founder and president of Cannon, a multidisciplinary engineering consulting firm in San Luis Obispo, spoke on the importance of teamwork, hard work and Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy as the keynote speaker at Fall Commencement. The 1983 civil engineering graduate has remained close to his alma mater, serving as a Founders Circle member of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and an Industrial Advisory Board member for the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department.

an MBA with a finance concentration and real estate specialization from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999. nnn

Craig M. Murray (M.S., Civil & Environmental Engineering, 1996)

Local Official Named Special District General Manager of the Year The Santa Barbara County Chapter of the California Special District’s Association selected Craig Murray of the Carpinteria Sanitary District as its General Manager of the Year for 2013. Murray joined the district as its general manager in 2004; he is a registered professional engineer.

John Cole (B.S., Environmental Engineering, 1992)

Alumni News

Cannon Delivers Support to Cal Poly


Novogradac Elevates Four to Partner

David Woodard

San Francisco-based accounting and consulting group Novogradac has welcomed John Cole of the Austin office to the partnership. Cole oversees the government consulting and valuation advisory services group. In addition to his bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly, he earned

Cal Poly Alum Named New Manager at East Bay Municipal Utility District

(B.S., Environmental Engineering, 1991)

David Woodard recently took a new position as the manager of workplace health and safety for the East Bay

Municipal Utility District in Oakland, Calif.


lished by Pearson/Prentice Hall. Cummings taught in Cal Poly’s Aerospace Engineering Department from 1978-2005.

(B.S., Transportation Engineering, 1977)


Caneer Named ASCE Fellow

John S. Mattis

David Caneer

David Caneer, P.E., QSD/QSP, F.ASCE, a senior supervising civil engineer with Parsons Brinckerhoff in San Francisco, has been recognized as an American Society of Civil Engineers Fellow (F.ASCE). His election to F.ASCE is based on his more than 36 years of continuous service to the public and the civil engineering profession on more than 200 site development, transportation and public works projects across seven states. nnn

Russell M. Cummings (B.S., Aeronautical Engineering, 1977; M.S., Engineering, 1985)

(B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1962)

Mattis Enjoying Retirement After retiring in 2001 from a 40-year career in engineering at Raychem Corp. and Tyco Intl., John Mattis remains active in the field. He currently has applications for 30 patents. In his leisure, Mattis is dedicated to duplicate bridge, as well as biking, hiking and being a regular at the gym with his wife, Linda. “And I still downhill ski,” he noted.

1950s Alvin Trivelpiece

Cummings Promoted at the U.S. Air Force Academy

(B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1953)

Russell M. Cummings was named head of the Department of Aeronautics at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He also co-authored the sixth edition of “Aerodynamics for Engineers” pub-

A summary of an oral history of Alvin Trivelpiece, when he was director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1980-2000), was featured in the Oak Ridger. n

Trivelpiece Oral History Featured


California Polytechnic State University College of Engineering 1 Grand Ave. San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0350 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

Join us for the


PROJECT EXPO Saturday, May 31 • 1 – 5 p.m. Featuring more than 200 individual and team projects, the event represents the culmination of one to two years of student-led project innovation. It’s an ideal time to interact with project sponsors, faculty and especially students. n SCHEDULE OF EVENTS 1 - 2 p.m. Outstanding Graduation Senior Awards 2 - 5 p.m. Project Exhibition n CONTACT n RSVP 805-756-2131 To learn how you can work with student teams or sponsor projects, contact Associate Dean Rakesh Goel at


Parents please note: If your son or daughter is no longer at this address, please report his or her current address to the College of Engineering


Dean’s Office (805) 756-2131 Debra Larson, Dean Fred DePiero, Associate Dean Rakesh Goel, Associate Dean College Advancement Richard LeRoy, Asst. Dean (805) 756-7108 Amanda Oeser, Dir. of Development (805) 756-5711 Casey apRoberts, Corporate Partnerships (805) 756-6040 Brenda Flood, Admin. Support (805) 756-5374 College Publications & Communications (805) 756-6402 Amy Hewes, Director Miles Clark, Web Administrator (805) 756-6582 Galen Ricard, Writer (805) 756-6623 Engineering Advising (805) 756-1461 Kim Marsalek, Coordinator Multicultural Engineering Program (805) 756-1433 Maria Manzano, Coordinator Women in Engineering Program (805) 756-2350 Helene Finger, Director DEPARTMENTS Aerospace Engineering (805) 756-2562 Eric Mehiel, Chair Biomedical & General Engineering (805) 756-6400 Lanny Griffin, Chair Civil/Environmental Engineering (805) 756-2947 Daniel Jansen, Chair Computer Engineering (805) 756-1229 John Oliver, Director Computer Science/Software Engineering (805) 756-2824 Ignatios Vakalis, Chair Electrical Engineering (805) 756-2781 Dennis Derickson, Chair Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering (805) 756-2341 Jose Macedo, Chair Materials Engineering (805) 756-2568 Kathy Chen, Chair Mechanical Engineering (805) 756-1334 Andrew Davol, Chair Fire Protection Engineering (805) 756-7834 Fred Mowrer, Director Engineering Advantage is a biannual publication of the College of Engineering, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Editorial Staff: Amy Hewes | Publications Director • Galen Ricard | Staff Writer • Dennis Steers | Photography & Design

Profile for Engineering Advantage

Cal Poly Engineering Advantage-Spring/2014  

Cal Poly College of Engineering Alumni Newsletter

Cal Poly Engineering Advantage-Spring/2014  

Cal Poly College of Engineering Alumni Newsletter


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