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C o l l e g e o f E n g i n e e r i n g • C a l Po l y S a n L u i s O b i s p o • S p r i n g 2017

The 3-D Revolution Selective Laser Melting machine allows students to print in stainless steel HAVING REBOUNDED FROM THE 2009 economic downturn and experiencing ever-increasing levels of economic productivity, U.S. manufacturing remains one of the two dominant players in the world. This positive trajectory will continue, given advances in additive manufacturing along with development of the skilled engineering workforce needed. This is where Cal Poly comes in. The College of Engineering has made investments in faculty, technology and curricula that position the university as the nation’s premier provider of advanced manufacturing professionals. The positive equation includes Professor Xuan Wang. Hired in 2014 with more than nine years of industry experience, Wang strengthened Cal Poly’s expertise in 3-D printing, semiconductor packaging and cloudbased manufacturing information systems. This year, he offered a new course in additive manufacturing, a course he has dreamed of since his first day at Cal Poly. “This course includes students

HEAVY METAL Engineering students, from left, Moira Foster, Dominque Porcincula, Benjamin Murray and David Otsu work with the Selective Laser Melting (SLM) machine to 3-D print in steel. At left, the SLM printed parts of a prosthetic hand. (See page 7) At right, Foster brushes excess metal powder from the SLM. At far right, an example of how intricately the SLM can print.

Please see 3-D PRINTING, Page 8


College News

Department News

Student News

Faculty News

Alumni News

• Early corporate partner support for Engineering Projects Center • Autodesk donates five Ember 3-D printers to the College of Engineering

• Software Engineering ranked No.1 in the nation • ME’s Jim Meagher named interim dean of college • California Cyber Training Complex now open

• Materials engineering students thrive in EWB • General Engineering Club has diverse membership • Cal Poly adds UAV to the Autonomous Flight Program

• Cal Poly SWE names its five outstanding members • PROVE Lab names driver for its solar-powered car • Cal Poly ASCE team advances to nationals

• College of Engineering honors faculty, staff • Airflow measuring project receives key test at Boeing • Fire Protection Engineering Program adds faculty

• Alumnus named to Tribune’s ‘Top 20 Under 40’ list • Angie Simon named Contractor of the Year • College of Engineering mourns loss of oldest alum

ENGINEERING Advantage n ISSUE — Spring 2017 • Vol. 14, Issue 2 n FREQUENCY — Published biannually n PUBLISHER Cal Poly College of Engineering n ADDRESS — 1 Grand Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0350 n TELEPHONE — 805-756-2131 n WEB — n ALUMNI IN THE NEWS n CALENDAR OF EVENTS n GIVING TO THE COLLEGE n FACEBOOK n TWITTER — n INSTAGRAM — @polyengineering n FLICKR n YOUTUBE Opening in 2018, Student Housing South will house 1,475 freshman students.

PROVE Lab Solar Car Project a Proving Ground for Minova Product Foam employed to reinforce tunnels helps Cal Poly effort to set sun-powered record

Cal Poly Engineering students pour liquid foam from Minova into a mold to harden. The foam will then be shaped into molds for the carbon fiber composite body of Cal Poly’s solar car.

MINOVA PROVIDES PRODUCTS USED TO shore up underground mines and tunnels. By donating seven tons of its high-density geo foam to students building what they hope is the world’s fastest solar vehicle, the company not only shored up an exciting Learn by Doing project, but also seized an opportunity to explore a new use for its product. The PROVE Lab tested the foam, usually used to strengthen tunnels, and found that it was dense enough to machine. Under the supervision of Peter Mills, Minova’s lead technologist, the students mixed the foam components to make hard blocks. The blocks were then machined into molds to fashion the lightweight composite material used to construct the vehicle. “Minova is proud to collaborate with one of the world’s foremost technical universities on a project that advances environmentally friendly technology,” said Mills. “I was impressed with

how the students work as a team and take safety seriously, and as the company expert on polyurethanes, I am also researching ways to adapt Minova’s mining technology.” Scott Alexander, Minova president, explained, “Our specific interest in the PROVE Lab is to extend our chemical foams and Peter Mills adhesives expertise Minova’s Lead Technologist into new applications, particularly aerospace and automotive applications involving carbon fiber and solar.” “We have found, moreover, that Cal Poly is translating Learn by Doing into more capable students with real-world experience.” Alexander should know. His son David, an aerospace engineering senior, is co-lead and chief engineer for the PROVE Lab solar vehicle. n To meet the driver of the PROVE Lab solar car, see page 12

Invest in the Best

The future of making everything

Autodesk advancing additive manufacturing at Cal Poly Engineering “AUTODESK IS ALL ABOUT THE NEW paradigm in manufacturing,” noted Martin Koch, longtime lecturer and technician in the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department. That paradigm includes automation, system integration, collaboration, robotics and direct digital manufacturing from 3-D models, which significantly reduces the time needed for product development. Autodesk Inc. develops software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and enter-

Mechanical engineering student Ben Azevedo prints a part of his senior project on one of the five Ember 3-D printers donated to the College of Engineering by Autodesk.

tainment industries. The company also provides design software and creativity apps at no cost to students and faculty. Thanks to Autodesk software and a gift of five of its Ember 3-D printers, Cal Poly students will have an enhanced additive manufacturing experience as undergraduates.

Larry Coolidge, technician in the Mechanical Engineering Department, helped facilitate the $37,500 Autodesk gift, which provides state-of-the-art Ember printers to students in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Engineering, and Industrial and Manu-

facturing Engineering. “3-D printing collapses the designbuild-test process so that turbines, for instance, can be built in a day,” said Coolidge. “These printers will help our students build better projects and build them faster. We’re very grateful to Autodesk.”n

#GivingTuesday Donations Boost Club and Student Activities Funding Requests

Cal Poly student Juan Ortiz Salazar met with Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) at his Washington, D.C. office.

JUAN ORTIZ SALAZAR, A MATERIALS engineering and political science senior, hoped to attend Congressional Visit Days in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Material Advantage, a national student program for materials science and engineering, the event serves to educate Congress about the importance of research in materials science, engineering and manufacturing. Happily, Salazar was able to represent Cal Poly in the nation’s capital because the College of Engineering provided travel funds that came primarily from gifts made to the college on #GivingTuesday, the 24-hour national day of giving. In 2015-16, the college dispersed $15,000 in #GivingTuesday gifts to individuals and

groups, such as Engineers Without Borders, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Radio Frequency Identification Club, the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. The money helped fund student travel and registration costs for conferences and competitions. This year, a new online system makes it even easier for clubs and students to submit funding requests. Out of the $37,000 raised during #GivingTuesday and additional gifts this year, $18,000 has been awarded, including the travel grant to Salazar. “The kinds of expenses that we are targeting include travel, materials and supplies,” said Chris Apple, the student club liaison for the College of Engineering.

“Individuals, clubs and instructionally related activities may all apply for funds.” To make a request, students need only submit an application posted at “We have caps for disbursement to undergraduate students and larger groups because with requests running three times ahead of available donor-provided funds, we are shooting for as broad a benefit as possible,” said Apple. n For more information about the club funding program, contact Associate Dean Fred DePiero at 805-756-2131 or To make a gift to the Club Support Fund, go to: http:/



Invest in the Best The proposed Engineering Projects Center features advanced technology laboratories, ideation suites and state-of-theart fabrication shops.

Next Level Learn by Doing Corporate partners make early contributions to the Engineering Projects Center ACTUAL BLUEPRINTS HAVE NOT YET BEEN DRAWN for the Engineering Projects Center (EPC), but the planned new Learn by Doing epicenter already includes two named spaces: The Chevron Ideation Suite and a club working space named by the Parker Foundation. Longstanding partners Chevron and Parker have made early contributions to the estimated $40 million EPC project, naming two important areas of the facility. Ideation Suite “Chevron is excited to name an ideation suite in Cal Poly’s new Engineering Projects Center,” said Mark Nelson, vice president of corporate strategic planning and a Cal Poly alumnus (Civil Engineering, ’85). Ideation and design are essentials of Learn by Doing. The ideation space planned for the EPC will allow students to get a hands-on snapshot of the creative

development process in a collaborative arena. The space includes a meeting area, and design and open collaboration space. “At Chevron, we look for innovative solutions and projects that develop the energy needed to improve lives and power the world forward. Investing in an ideation suite not only strengthens our partnership with the university, but also encourages creative thinking in students. “Our goal is to see Cal Poly graduates help solve the world’s most challenging problems,” Nelson said. Engineering Club Spaces The Cal Poly Steel Bridge team, Formula One, Supermileage Vehicle, Cal Poly Frame Builders, Human Powered Vehicle, Space Systems, Baja, Robotics team, Society of Women Engineers Team Tech — these are some of the award-winning student teams that devote hundreds of hours to projects. In the spring, many of the teams fly, drive, pedal, float or otherwise race across finish lines in regional and national competitions. To meet the design and fabrication needs of these co-curricular Learn by Doing activities, the EPC will provide secure, flexible and easily reconfigured space for clubs across many majors. The Parker Foundation’s gift will allow the company to name one of the club spaces.

“Investing in an ideation suite not only strengthens our partnership with the university, but also encourages creative thinking in students.” — Mark Nelson, vice president Corporate Strategic Planning, Chevron Corp.

“Going above and beyond outside the classroom has long set Cal Poly students apart,” said Mark Czaja, Parker Aerospace vice president. “From our view, a hardwon, prestigious competition teaches leadership and teamwork. Club activities also instill the value achieved in taking ownership of one’s work — these are the empowered and action-oriented traits we’re looking for in Parker engineers,” he said. “Parker has developed a great partnership with Cal Poly, and we’re happy to get on the ground floor of the Engineering Projects Center, which will serve as a project-based learning flagship facility.”n To learn more about the Engineering Projects Center campaign, contact Tanya Hauck at 805-756-2163 or

Highlights of the proposed student-operated facility include: • Advanced manufacturing and fabrication shops


• A design and ideation environment • Flexible workspaces for clubs, project design and assembly CAL POLY ENGINEERING

• State-of-the-art technologies • Faculty and student research • 24/7 access for all students and faculty

College News CENG Welcomes One of Our Own Mechanical Engineering Professor Jim Meagher named Interim Dean JIM MEAGHER, PROFESSOR AND CHAIR OF THE Mechanical Engineering Department, provides a smooth transition for the College of Engineering following the departure of former Dean Debra Larson, who recently took a position as provost at CSU Chico. Meagher joined the Mechanical Engineering Department in 1988 as an assistant professor. For the past three years, Meagher served as department chair. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Akron and his Ph.D. from the UC Berkeley. His areas of scholarship include rotor dynamics and modeling of high-speed rotating machinery. During his Cal Poly career, Meagher helped establish the Donald E. Bently Center for Engineering Innovation, the Bently CompuJim Meagher | Mechanical Engineering tational Facility, and the Solar Turbines/Bently Nevada Vibrations and Rotor Dynamics Laboratory. “It was a great privilege to work with Don Bently, a giant of industry,” said Meagher. “I am also gratified that my early collaboration with Munich University of Applied Sciences evolved into a rich exchange of students and faculty.” In addition to his teaching and research activities, Meagher served as faculty advisor to the Cal Poly chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for 25 years. “I’ve seen first-hand how Cal Poly engineering students collaborate on award-winning projects,” he said. “In fact, what brought me to Cal Poly in 1988 still motivates me today: contributing to student success along with a passion for the discipline. “As interim dean, I want to continue the positive trajectory set by Dean Larson. I hope, especially, to add momentum to the development of a new Engineering Projects Center, and to enhance diversity and promote inclusivity in the college.”n

Cal Poly Engineering professors Zachary Peterson (computer science), left, and Jose Macedo (industrial and manufacturing engineering) are Fulbright scholars for the 201617 academic year.

Cal Poly Named Top Producer of Faculty Fulbright Scholars CAL POLY HAS BEEN NAMED A TOP PRODUCER OF U.S. Fulbright scholars for the 2016-17 academic year by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Five faculty members, including three multi-year recipients, received Fulbright grants — more than any other public or private masters-level university in the nation. Cal Poly’s Fulbright scholars represent four of the university’s six colleges: Zachary Peterson and threetime Fulbright scholar Jose Macedo from the College of Engineering; John Battenburg, a three-time Fulbright award winner in the College of Liberal Arts; Chris Carr, a four-time Fulbright scholar from the Orfalea College of Business; and R. Thomas Jones of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, offering more than 500 teaching, research or combination teaching/research awards in more than 125 countries. Cal Poly Engineering’s Fulbright scholars for 2016-17 were: Jose Macedo From March to July 2017, Macedo, a professor and former chair of the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Digital Democracy Expands Reach Cal Poly Engineering students, faculty play key role in searchable database IN 2015, CAL POLY’S INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED Technology & Public Policy (IATPP) launched Digital Democracy, the landmark open government platform that provides a searchable database of California legislative hearings, legislators and campaign contributions. Now in its third year of operation, the tool has been

Department, is teaching and collaborating on research projects at the University of Technology and Engineering (UTEC) in Lima, Peru. A three-time Fulbright scholar, he was a reviewer for the Fulbright Scholar program for four years. His focus areas include quality, lean management, statistical analysis, automation, robotics and machine vision. He plans to conduct a benchmark study of Peruvian manufacturing industry practices in conjunction with UTEC students and faculty. Zachary Peterson An associate professor of computer science, Peterson visited last fall at University College London, the United Kingdom’s largest postgraduate institution and regarded as one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research universities. At University College, Peterson continued his ongoing research in the use of games and play for teaching computer security concepts to new, younger, and non-technical audiences. He said being named a Fulbright scholar was the result of a package of increased U.S.-U.K. cybersecurity cooperation. Peterson leads Cal Poly’s computer cybersecurity program.n For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

refined and enhanced — and in February, Digital Democracy expanded to include New York. Work is underway to bring Texas and Florida onto the platform as well. When that happens early next year, “. . . statehouse transparency will be available to one-third of U.S. citizens,” noted IATPP founding director and former State Senator Sam Blakeslee. Please see DEMOCRACY, page 6



College News DEMOCRACY

From Page 5

Contributors to the development of Digital Democracy include more than 30 Cal Poly students (20 from the College of Engineering) and five faculty researchers, three of whom teach in the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department: Foaad Khosmood, Alex Dekhtyar and Davide Falessi. Khosmood, IATPP senior research fellow and Forbes Professor of Computer Engineering, explained some of the enhancements coming to Digital Democracy: “We plan to launch a new product, ‘Engage,’ later this year,” he said. “This is a customized version of Digital Democracy for advocacy organizations, allowing them the ability to mobilize and share important news, alerts and activities from the legislative proceedings with their own members. “In addition, we are currently working on improved speaker recognition artificial intelligence using deep learning, behavioral prediction with respect to legislative action, organizational alignments with respect to legislators and legislative analytics.” Funded entirely by philanthropy groups, Digital Democracy’s software uses facial and voice recognition technology to automatically create a transcript of legislative hearings, which Cal Poly students watch and edit for accuracy. Blakeslee said the platform will help reporters, nonprofits and advocates better understand what’s happening at the state level. For more, see:

Battling Cyber Crime Cal Poly partners with the SLO County DA and Cal Guard at the new California Cyber Training Complex THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY Office reports that the United States has experienced a 1,121 percent increase in cybersecurity incidents since 2006. Those incidents range from identity fraud to human trafficking and terrorism perpetrated by nation states or violent extremist groups. To help combat cybercrime, Cal Poly worked on a joint initiative to develop Officials from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo County law enforcement and the California National Guard celebrated the California Cyber Training Complex the opening of the California Cyber Training Complex at the dedication at Camp San Luis Obispo on March 1. (CCTC), a new cyber education center “The CCTC is an extended Learn by and collaboration space located five “We want to start a cybersecurity Doing space,” said Cal Poly Cybersemiles from campus at the California certificate program through Extended curity Center Director William J. “Bill” National Guard’s Camp in San Luis Education, and I plan to offer a special Obispo. Founding stakeholders included Britton. “It offers Cal Poly students the topics technical elective that would be opportunity to train and test tactics side the San Luis Obispo County District open to both Cal Poly and non-Cal Poly by side with cyber students. The CCTC will provide many Attorney’s Office, the forensics experts California National opportunities for senior projects and “The CCTC is an extended and explore new Guard and other master’s theses. Eventually, we can see Learn by Doing space. It cyber technolostatewide partners. entire courses devoted to working on offers Cal Poly students the gies, enabling Serving as an one cybersecurity project — we can enviCal Poly to deextension of Cal sion a cybersecurity track to a major in opportunity to train and test velop cyber-ready the future. Poly’s Cybersecurity tactics side by side with cyber graduates.” Center, the CCTC “When we offer a cybersecurity forensics experts and explore CCTC has will serve as a statecourse now, we have a wait list that’s new cyber technologies.” already hosted wide hub providing about 100 deep. The interest is definitely its first training the latest training there, and it’s only going to grow,” said William J. “Bill” Britton Cal Poly Cybersecurity Center Director classes with curand facility support Oliver. riculum developed required to identify, During its first full year of operations, by Cal Poly computer engineering Profes- the CCTC is expected to train 1,000 first investigate and prosecute cybercrime. sor John Oliver, who outlined plans for Cal Poly students will be able to use responders at Camp San Luis Obispo. n Cal Poly’s cybersecurity initiative going the center alongside military and law For more information, visit forward. enforcement personnel.

Cal Poly(s) Roll to Another Rose Parade Winner Featuring three giant chameleons, Cal Poly universities’ 2017 Rose Float, “A New Leaf,” won the Founders’ Trophy in the 128th Rose Parade on Jan. 2 in Pasadena, Calif. The Founder’s Trophy honors the most beautiful float built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization. The Cal Poly universities entry — the parade’s only float that’s built entirely by students — reflects a time-honored collaboration between students at Cal Poly and their counterparts at Cal Poly Pomona. The 18-by-55 foot float was covered in more than 60,000 fresh flowers and earned the “California Grown” designation from the California Cut Flower Commission. Engineering students helped design and build an intricate mechanism that raised and lowered some of the flowers on the largest chameleon, making its stripes appear to change color from orange to yellow.



For more on the Cal Poly Rose Float, see:

College News

Breaking the Code

College Choice Best Software Engineering Degrees for 2017

Cal Poly Software Engineering ranked No. 1 in the nation

1. Cal Poly 2. San Jose State 3. Milwaukee School of Engineering 4. Penn State 5. University of Washington - Bothell 6. Iowa State 7. Miami University - Oxford 8. Oregon Institute of Technology 9. UC Irvine 10. Michigan Technological University 11 Auburn 12 Rochester Institute of Technology 13. Drexel University 14. University of Illinois at Chicago 15. Stevens Institute of Technology 16. Clarkson University 17. University of Texas - Dallas 18. Embry-Riddle Technology University 19. Brigham Young University - Idaho 20. University of Miami

Software engineering student Kairo Phan writes code on the glass walls of a study cube in the Kennedy Library. Also sharing the space are, from left, Erin Greenlee (computer science), Robert Mathews and Zack Cody (software engineering).

CAL POLY IS NO. 1 IN RANKINGS OF THE 20 BEST bachelors in software engineering degrees for 2017. The school “easily won the top spot,” according to College Choice, a leading authority in college and university rankings and resources. College Choice compiled and compared the academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability and average annual salary of graduates from software engineering programs across the country to create its rankings. Software engineers are on the front lines of U.S.

innovation, and in the next few years, the employment of software engineers is projected to increase by 22 percent. Typically, software engineers work in one of two capacities. Software applications engineers are at the front-end of the product, developing a specific software. A systems software developer helps organize all of the moving parts of a computer system so that they work efficiently and smoothly. Cal Poly’s bachelor’s in software engineering is a 60-credit-hour degree program that blends together core classes in mathematics, science and engineering.

Beyond the basic requirements, the program designs its courses around systems that address real-life issues in the environmental, economic, social and manufacturing sectors. Students must also fulfill 20 credits of technical electives, choosing from a robust list that includes game design, music programming, computer animation, cryptography engineering and more. n For more information on the Cal Poly Software Engineering Program, see:

Cal Poly Computing Power for Student Learning Gets a High Performance Boost “This grant represents a solution we can implement immediately. The cluster will do so much for our students from a research perspective and for all our engineering project teams that employ simulation.” Graham Doig Aerospace Engineering

SEVEN ENGINEERING PROFESSORS HAVE SCORED AN EQUIPment grant from Silicon Mechanics that brings the latest in high-performance, supercomputing technologies to campus for education and research. The high performance computing (HPC) “cluster” aggregates computing power in order to solve large engineering problems. Cal Poly’s award includes high-performance processing, networking, storage and graphics processing unit technologies, valued together at more than $130,000. The successful proposal team included aerospace engineering professors Graham Doig, Amelia Grieg and David Marshall; computer science and software engineering professors Chris Lupo and Maria Pantoja; electrical engineering

professor Andrew Danowitz; and Chris Pascual, mechanical engineering professor. “This grant represents a solution we can implement immediately,” said Doig, lead investigator on the grant proposal. “The cluster will do so much for our students from a research perspective and for all our engineering project teams that employ simulation. Ultimately, it brings our departments together by breaking down some of our computing silos.” Since 2012, Silicon Mechanics and its manufacturing partners have provided more than $700,000 worth of needed technology advancements to universities and institutions. The partners that donated product to this year’s grant include Intel, Please see COMPUTING, page 8




From page 1

from mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering, materials, aerospace and agriculture,” said Wang. “With Cal Poly’s signature Learn by Doing approach, the students will redesign and manufacture bicycle components, a hands-on experience that will put our graduates ahead.” As Wang and his cross-departmental colleagues build courses and lab experiences, their pedagogy is buttressed by the latest technology, “The SLM is the in particular, an overwhelmingly SLM 125 Selecdominant 3-D printing tive Laser Melting machine that can technology in use today fabricate parts — its only limitation is directly from your imagination. You digital files without the need of are able to manufacture tooling. any design you can think Provided of, enabling a new design by Lawrence Livermore Naparadigm that didn’t tional Laboratory exist even 10 years ago.” (LLNL), the SLM is Xuan Wang “the king of 3-D Industrial Engineering printing,” according to Wang. It uses a high power-density laser to melt and fuse metallic powders together. An anonymous donor also provided $100,000 for installation and setup costs and another $100,000 to fund student projects. “The SLM is the overwhelmingly dominant 3-D printing technology in use today — its only limitation is your imagination,” said Wang. “You are able to manufacture any design you can think of, enabling a new design paradigm that didn’t exist even 10 years ago.” For example, metal lattice structured parts manufactured by SLM can reduce the weight of parts by 70 percent without sacrificing mechanical performances. Other benefits include reduction in part count in assembly, reduced lead time and lower cost, especially for low-volume manufacturing. “These are huge deals for the manufacturing industry,” noted Wang. For LLNL, providing the SLM enhances the lab’s ability to attract top-notch Cal Poly graduates with


From page 7

NVIDIA, Mellanox, Supermicro, Micron, Broadcom Limited, Seagate, SanDisk, HGST and Bright Computing. “Silicon Mechanics and our technology partners take great pride in supporting the research cluster grant program to drastically alter the path for higher education research and curriculum advancements. In the case of Cal Poly, this award will bring forth the first dedicated cluster on campus,” said Sue Lewis, Silicon Mechanics’ chief marketing officer. “We are



FUTURISTIC 3-D PRINTING Industrial engineering students, from left, David Otsu and Dominque Porcincula, and mechanical engineering students Irene Yee and Carlos Esquivel (not pictured) have printed parts for their prosthetic hand.

Students Work in Service to a Soldier WITH THE AID OF STATE-OF-THE-ART ADDITIVE manufacturing, four Cal Poly students have taken a five-year prosthetic hand project to the next level. The prosthesis has been designed and developed on behalf of Tashiro “Tosh” Carrington, a recently retired U.S. Navy SEAL, who lost part of his hand in a firing cap accident. The four students working on the independent project sponsored by the Quality of Life Plus Foundation, include industrial engineering graduate students Dominique Porcincula and David Otsu, mechanical engineering graduate student Irene Yee and Carlos Esquivel, a 2016 mechanical engineering graduate now working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “I was attracted to this project because it exposed me to a unique processing and rapid prototyping method,” said Porcincula. The team members agreed

that the additive manufacturing focus of the project gave them experience that will set them ahead in the job market. In addition to the project’s technical side, the students found benefits in working in an interdisciplinary team and working directly with a client. “Combining different, discipline-based perspectives really contributed to a better product,” said Otsu. “Meeting the client made the project that much more meaningful,” said Yee. “None of us have disabilities,” said Porcincula, “but Tosh broadened our understanding of his challenges and needs. Our goal was to develop a metal prosthesis that was comfortable, more robust, and had greater wrist power and dexterity. Hopefully, we’ve succeeded with Tosh’s help and the advanced design and manufacturing tools available to us.” n

metal 3-D printing skills. “Our partnership with LLNL results in a strong pipeline of interns and permanent hires from Cal Poly,” said Wang, who served for two consecutive summers as a visiting faculty at LLNL under a fellowship from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. “Through my collaboration with LLNL, we both

recognized the urgency to educate the next generation of engineers with additive manufacturing skills,” said Wang. “With the SLM and additive manufacturing capacity and curriculum, we’re investing in the future and strengthening our position as a leader in manufacturing programs.” n

excited to see the positive impacts for Cal Poly student-involved research, hands-on coursework and project-based co-curricular experiences in applied engineering.” At Cal Poly, the HPC cluster will provide tools for sophisticated real-world applications that will ultimately help students integrate into the workforce upon graduation and allow graduate students to conduct research previously not possible. The areas of research the cluster will enhance or enable at Cal Poly span from computational fluid dynamics to fire dynamics to deep

visual learning and cybersecurity. It will also allow Cal Poly to collaborate with others in the California State University system on research projects.

About Silicon Mechanics Silicon Mechanics is a system integrator and custom design manufacturer that provides the expertise necessary to scale open technology throughout an organization, from building out HPC or storage clusters to the latest in virtualization, containerized services and more. n

Student News FIVE STUDENTS FROM THE COLLEGE OF ENGINneering recently received awards as Outstanding Women in Engineering from the Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers. The Outstanding Women in Engineering awardees were chosen based on faculty recommendations, demonstrated leadership, related work experience and grade point average. Recipients included:

Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers Names its Five Outstanding Members

Kate Cuddington (Boulder, Colo.) An architectural engineering senior, Cuddington led a trip to Nepal last summer. The group, all members of the Cal Poly chapter of Structural Engineering Students for Humanity (SESH) provides seismic rehabilitation and retrofits in areas of the world that lack the resources and expertise to respond to earthquakes or similar disasters. “Structural engineering is a field where I can help improve individual lives and communities affected by disaster,” said Cuddington. In addition to her active involvement with SESH, Cuddington has held top positions in the Cal Poly Structural Engineering Association of California, participated in a student exchange program in Lithuania and served as president of the College of Architectural and Environmental Design’s student ambassador program.

Katie Davis (Bellingham, Wash.) A computer science graduate student, Davis was in Malta last summer leading a Cal Poly team on an inter-

national research project to help map coastal shipwrecks and develop new technology for marine archaeology. Originally a math major, Davis chose to minor in computer science and subsequently “fell in love” with the discipline. “Katie’s thirst for technical mastery has made her an outstanding student,” said Zoë Wood, computer science professor. “Her strong academics led to two internships with Apple and another with Facebook.” As a research assistant to Wood, Davis helped develop a curriculum for fifth-grade students that has resulted in hundreds of San Luis Obispo County 10- and 11-year-olds being exposed to basic computer programming over the last three years.

Ashley Kim (Irvine, Calif.) Kim, a civil engineering graduate student specializing in transportation, is president of the award-winning Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) student chapter. Her projects in the field range from a six-minute

video, “A Guide For Bicycling Around Cal Poly,” to a term paper that focused on a set of myths about transportation planning, to a team proposal for a portion of Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo. She was honored by the ITE Western District in 2016 as the Outstanding Undergraduate and was part of Cal Poly’s championship Traffic Quiz Bowl Team. She is also active in the Mustang Marching Band as an alto saxophonist, the College of Engineering Ambassadors and the Women’s Transportation Seminar, an international organization dedicated to the professional advancement of women in transportation.

Myra Lukens (Vancouver, Wash.) Lukens, a computer science senior, has been active throughout campus. In her first year, she was elected to the board of directors of ASI, the university’s student government organization, and was appointed vice chair the following year. As a university student ambassador, or Poly Rep, she has represented Cal Poly at alumni and industry events. Lukens has also been dedicated to WISH (Women Involved in Software and Hardware), a group for female computing majors, serving as the organization’s secretary, treasurer and vice president. “Through my WISH involvement and by personal example, I have made a significant effort to rectify the gender gap in computing and create an inclusive community on campus and beyond,” said Lukens. Last fall, Lukens participated in a Cal Poly study abroad program at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Kristen Temnyk (Denair, Calif.) A biomedical engineering major, Temnyk is the student manager, researcher and team leader for Cal Poly’s Tissue Engineering Laboratory. Temnyk’s leading role in a diabetic blood vessel project won her a yearlong contract as a research assistant leader from Medtronic Neurovascular. The work caught the eye of a research group at Mayo Clinic, which resulted in Cal Poly becoming a part of a large National Institutes of Health grant in collaboration with Mayo Clinic. Temnyk’s numerous internships have included research work at UC San Francisco and Medtronic’s Interventional Therapies. Her research has been published at Cal Poly, as well as at UC San Francisco, where she made significant contributions to a work on bone regeneration for bone fracture repair. n The Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers Outstanding Women in Engineering recipients included, from left, Kristen Temnyk, Ashley Kim, Myra Lukens, Kate Cuddington and Katie Davis.



Student News

Overachieving and Under Par AFTER EARNING HIGH SCORES IN THE classroom and low scores on the golf course, Cal Poly industrial engineering student Jesse Yap was honored as the Mustangs’ 2016-17 Big West Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year in early March. Yap, who received the award at a honors banquet hosted by Wyndham Hotel in Orange County, ranks No. 4 in Cal Poly Golf Team history in career scoring average (73.4 over 42 rounds). He has carded three career top-10 finishes, plus five additional top-20 performances. A native of Singapore, Yap enrolled at Cal Poly after graduating from the Anglo-Chinese School and completing military service in the Singapore Armed Forces. Fluent in Mandarin, he has also volunteered for Overseas Community Involvement in Cambodia. “Jesse has been a delight to work

with throughout his time at Cal Poly,” said Carly Head, an academic advisor for Cal Poly’s Mustang Success Center. “Jesse’s demeanor, hard work and kindness shines through in all he does. Being a Cal Poly Engineering student-athlete is a challenging task, and Jesse has excelled from Day One.” Yap earned second-team all-conference honors as a sophomore (when he shot a 73.0 on average over 30 rounds, including three cards in the 60s), and he and teammate Jordan Wright qualified for the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. In addition to earning back-to-back spots on the Big West All-Academic Team, Yap also made the 2016 Cleveland Golf Scholar All-American Team. n Industrial engineering student Jesse Yap has averaged only 73.4 shots per round during his four years on the Cal Poly Golf Team.

‘Solar Ice’ Freezer Project Aims to Turn on the Cooling Power of the Sun

From left, senior mechanical engineering students Jonathan Lo, Luke Holmes and Tyler Batchelder are working on a solar-powered freezer out at the Cal Poly Student Experimental Farm. Xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx



LACKING AN EXPENSIVE GAS-POWERED GENerator for electricity, fishermen in developing countries have difficulty keeping their catch fresh long enough to get to market. Collaborating with Physics Professor Peter Schwartz and Physics lecturer Nathan Heston, mechanical engineering students Luke Holmes, Tyler Batchelder and Jonathan Lo are working on a possible solution: an inexpensive solar-powered freezer they have dubbed “Solar Ice.” Assembled out at the Cal Poly Student Experimental Farm, the team’s freezer works very well — with one catch. In order to maxamize efficiency, it uses the DC current produced by the solar panel. Compressors for common freezers or refrigerators use AC current. DC compressors are rare — and costly. “We have to balance cost and efficiency,” Holmes said. “We wanted to use DC power since you lose some efficiency in converting to AC, plus the converters add cost. If the price of DC compressors drop, we will be in business. The good news is we’re plenty cold enough.” n

Student News

Three Times the Effort CAL POLY COMES AT STUDENTS IN THREES: IT’S Learn by Doing through coursework, homework and projects. For engineering students on the Cal Poly Triathlon team — and the numbers are surprising — you can add three more words: swim, bike and run. “I’ve learned that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, and I have to pick and choose which workouts to attend and when to fit in homework and studying,” said Cal Poly Triathlon President Jake Pickett, a software engineering student. “Obviously, it takes a great deal of time management. But engineers are pretty good at that, and I would guess about 50 percent of the team are engineers. Definitely the majority.” Engineering students also helped coach more than 100 athletes on the team, which placed ninth overall out of 150 teams at the USA Triathlon Championships last summer. Materials engineering student Joseph DeCesaro is head bike coach while electrical engineering student Denis Pyryev is co-head run coach. “Everyone helps out, and working out with teammates naturally pushes you to the next level,” Pickett said. “Cal Poly Triathlon is a great way to experience the outdoors. When I’m not coding behind a computer, it provides an awesome balance in my life.” n

ENGINEERS WHO ALSO SWIM, BIKE AND RUN Cal Poly Engineering students, from left, Jake Pickett, Joseph DeCesaro and Denis Pyryev compete and help coach the Cal Poly Triathlon Team.

For more on Cal Poly Triathlon, see:

Six Cal Poly Engineering Leaders Honored in Sacramento TWENTY CAL POLY STUDENTS, INCLUDING SIX FROM the College of Engineering, were recognized for their awards and other accomplishments by state lawmakers on the floors of the state Assembly and Senate in Sacramento on Feb. 13. “I am so pleased to share with our state leaders the can-do ethos that this group of dedicated students exemplify,” said university President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “These young men and women from all six of our colleges will be future leaders in their respective fields.” The group was introduced in the Senate by Majority Leader Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and in the Assembly by Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, R-Templeton. The honorees have distinguished themselves as individuals or part of a team that has received a national industry award or was involved in other high-profile events, such as the Tournament of Roses Parade. The Cal Poly Engineering honorees included: • Dorian Capps, a mechanical engineering major, was part of Cal Poly’s top-scoring American entry that finished third overall at the Shell Eco-marathon Americas in Detroit. The 10th annual contest attracted more than 1,000 students and a record 124 teams from seven

Cal Poly Engineering students honored in Sacramento were, back row, from left: Dorian Capps, Rebecca Kandell, Nelson Lin; front row, from left, Elizabeth Coffey, Jennifer Tuttle and Salvador Cortes Soancatl.

countries who competed in energy-efficient gasolinefueled vehicles they designed and built themselves. He was the president and powertrain lead of Cal Poly’s entry that achieved 1,215 miles per gallon — the top-scoring

American entry and third highest overall in the Prototype class, which is for futuristic vehicles. • Elizabeth Coffey, a civil and environmental engineering graduate student, was a member of the Steel Bridge team that finished second at the annual American Society of Civil Engineers National Student Steel Bridge Competition. The contest brought together 48 student teams from across the world. Cal Poly’s strong showing marked the school’s sixth consecutive year of finishing in the event’s top 10 and second straight year as runner-up. Coffey served as the team’s machining lead. • Salvador Cortes Soancatl received the 2016 Cisco Scholar Award for Outstanding Achievement by the California State University Board of Trustees — one of the system’s highest distinctions given to a student who overcomes adversity. Soancatl was inspired to pursue electrical engineering after writing an essay on Nikola Tesla, whose experiences as a young immigrant in America resonated with the then-seventh-grader. • Rebecca Kandell, a biomedical engineering senior, was part of the team that received the Gold Award for outstanding overall programming from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). In addition, Kandell, the SWE Please see LEADERS, page 12



Student News

Cal Poly Cruises at ASCE Regionals


From page 11

chapter president, received the Outstanding Collegiate Member Award for her contributions to the organization, the engineering community and the Cal Poly campus. She credits her family’s strong work ethic, and her mother — a first-generation electrical engineer and Cal Poly alumna — with inspiring her advocacy for women in engineering.



• Nelson Lin, who is studying mechanical engineering, was part of the team that won the 2016 American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Student Design Competition. The five-member team, which also received the $4,000 top prize, displayed a battery-powered, modelsized manufacturing system that fired paper projectiles through the air. The team competed against some 200 engineering students from colleges and universities from 11 countries.


Led by the Cal Poly Concrete Canoe Team and Steel Bridge Team, Cal Poly was ranked first overall among 15 universities from Southern California, Nevada, Hawaii and Arizona at the annual American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pacific Southwest Regional Conference held April 6-8 at UC Irvine in Irvine, Calif. At right, Cal Poly paddlers (from left) Dylan Quigley, Grace Melgard, Hailey Bond and Scott Kaufman celebrated after the finals. Above, Quigley and Bond were among the engineering students who sanded and prepped the canoe during spring break. The Cal Poly team will compete for the national championship in the ASCE Concrete Canoe National Competition, June 17-19, at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo.

• Jennifer Tuttle, a civil engineering major, led a 20-member student team whose bicycle-powered maize mill won the 2016 Premier Project Award from Engineers Without Borders USA. The Engineers Without BordersCal Poly Malawi team designed the mill for residents of Kumponda, Malawi, who face a limited growing season and other food-production challenges.n For a complete list of Cal Poly attendees, see .

Student News

Rendering of Cal Poly PROVE Lab’s solar-powered vehicle.

On the Fast Track

“We’re aiming to go freeway speeds using the same kind of power it takes to run a toaster.” — Lacey Davis, Aerospace Engineering

Cal Poly freshman hopes to help team set international land speed record in PROVE Lab’s sun-powered car THE HOPE TO SET A NEW INTERNATIONAL LAND speed record for the world’s fastest solar-powered vehicle lies with first-year aerospace engineering student Lacey Davis. Davis will steer the ultra-efficient car designed and built by Cal Poly’s Prototype Vehicles Laboratory (PROVE Lab) to a new world record this summer if the final stages of funding can be secured. PROVE Lab launched a public crowdfunding campaign through its website to raise the remaining funds needed to complete construction of the car. “It’s such a unique, futuristic car, in fact it’s more like a spaceship,“ said Davis, who is also an Outreach Officer for PROVE Lab and works on its advanced manufacturing team. “We’re aiming to go freeway speeds using the same kind of power it takes to run a toaster, and I’ll be lying nearly flat inside to keep the car body as streamlined as possible,” added Davis, who wants to train as an astronaut after college. As part of a grant from the American Honda Foundation, Davis is also mentoring students at El Camino Middle School in Santa Maria, Calif., to design a min-

iature version of the full-size car. “It’s really amazing to me that I can be a role model for kids, especially girls, to show that you can do such cool things with science and engineering,“ she said. Over the last 16 months, the team has secured sponsorship from more than 30 companies, but building an ultra-lightweight car out of carbon fiber composites, and fitting it with more than 100 square feet of solar panels and efficient electric wheel motors remains a challenging and expensive task for the students. Given the necessary support, however, the PROVE Lab team is confident their design can smash the existing 56 mph record. They are offering donors 3-D printed models and souvenir solar cells, and donor names will also be listed on the side of the car. “We know from our simulations and testing that this thing should top 65 mph – fast enough to get a ticket on the freeway,” said project manager Will Sutton. To set the record, Davis has to complete two passes within an hour of each other, over a straight level, timed mile. Unlike a Tesla or other road-going electric car, the solar car has no batteries or any other form of energy storage.

“This is direct-drive, pure solar energy straight to the wheels,” said chief engineer David Alexander. “It’s less about what you might drive every day, and more about showing people just how far solar energy tech has come in terms of being able supply the electricity we need.” More than 40 Cal Poly students from 13 different majors are working on the solar car project. Graham Doig, PROVE Lab founder and faculty advisor, believes the car will help inspire the public to embrace renewable energy. “The cost of solar energy has fallen dramatically in the last 10 years, and efficiency is always increasing. But more than that, this project reminds you that students are up for any challenge you can throw at them.” Maybe there’s a future Elon Musk among this ambitious group, too. “If they can find enough funding to turn this idea into reality, they’re going to carve out a piece of automotive history, and then take their experience out into the world believing that absolutely anything is possible,” Doig said. n To find out more about the project and help the team meet their crowdfunding target, visit



Student News

Cal Poly Bike Builders President Chris Fedor holds up a track bike the club built for a national competition. Above right, Fedor works on a mountain bike frame in the Aero Hangar.

Building Bikes and Club Membership NOW THAT CAL POLY FRAME Builders has changed its name to Cal Poly Bike Builders, the point of the club should be clear to everyone, while the road ahead looks smooth. “Many students interested in building bikes had never heard of us,” said club President Chris Fedor. “I think most people assumed as ‘Frame Builders’ we were a civil engineering club. With the change, our numbers should go up pretty quickly.” Fedor, a mechanical engineering student who was building a fullsuspension mountain bike during spring break, wants to build the club’s membership, too. “Technically, we are a mechanical engineering club, but we encourage any student who wants to build a bike to become a member. It would be cool if we could attract students from other colleges, especially art students, because building bikes is an art, too.” Mechanical engineering student Wyatt Hall, the club’s vice president and lead machinist, said a student’s experience level in the shop shouldn’t be a barrier to participation. “The club was started for fun and as a way for students to develop skills that they normally wouldn’t get out of classes,” Wyatt said. “Up until last year, the club was really only focused on traditional bicycle frame building. Now we have begun to branch out more into bicycle component design and composites. There are a lot of opportunities.” Fedor said that in addition to working on their own individual projects, a group collaboration produced a bike that was displayed at the North American Handmade Bike Show last year. “We didn’t win, but we learned a lot and had fun. That’s the point, right?” n For more on Cal Poly Bike Builders, see:

Smart Gridders


Two engineering students, Grant Caraway (materials engineering), left, and David Chellsen (industrial engineering) were among a record seven Cal Poly football players that earned spots on the 2016 Big Sky Conference Fall All-Academic Team. To be eligible, a student-athlete must have participated in at least half of the team’s competitions, achieved a 3.2 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) at the conclusion of the most recently completed term, and completed at least one academic term at his or her current Big Sky institution. A redshirt freshman from San Luis Obispo, Chellsen was part of a Mustang offensive line that helped the team finish No. 2 in the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing. Caraway, a wide receiver who switched from quarterback, is a junior from Granite Bay, Calif.


Department News

Materials Engineering Students Lend Talent and Skills to Engineers Without Borders ENGINEERS TODAY CAN CHOOSE FROM a dazzling array of materials, but in many parts of the world, the best solution for supplying essential needs (electricity, water, food and sanitation) may lie in applying the materials at hand. That’s the philosophy of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), which promotes sustainable solutions based on appropriate technology that is designed for people to manage with the skills and tools available within their local community. As chapter members and leaders of EWB Cal Poly, materials engineering students Carolina Cleland, Erika Hansen, Katie Johnson, Abbie Nilan and Lydia Van Muckey feel equally at home with both advanced and appropriate technology. Cal Poly is one of EWB’s premier student chapters, with projects in India, Malawi, Nicaragua and Thailand that range from building bridges to improving sanitation. Although the projects typically involve essential infrastructure associated with civil and environmental engineering, project teams are increasingly multidisciplinary. “In Thailand, past teams have focused on a water-filter system,” said Nilan, an EWB Cal Poly officer. “The current project is working to improve the solar panel array in the community of Pa Kloi, which is a project that demonstrates the value

Materials engineering students, from left, Lydia Van Muckey, Katie Johnson, Carolina Cleland, Erika Hansen and Abbie Nilan are active in Engineers without Borders.

of a mix of majors. We’ve been doing a lot of circuitry design and researching components for a charging system, and my general physics and EE 201 classes kicked right in. The cool thing about EWB, though, is that so much of what you do is self-taught. “Materials may be scarce in Pa Kloi,” said Nilan, “but I’ve loved how EWB brings out the value of ingenuity, teamwork and knowledge we’ve gained in our Learn by Doing education.” “In EWB, you make a commitment with a community for at least five years,” said Cleland, who is project manager for

the Nicaragua team. “Our latest project is a water distribution system in the village of Cuajachillo. Currently, community members travel by horse or cart to a central well two or three times a day to collect water in 60-gallon barrels. When our new project is completed, everyone will have water piped to their house. “The project is very meaningful to me, knowing how it can change their way of life for the better. They will have more time for their family and gainful work.” EWB projects are interwoven with the community and its culture — even at home, said Van Muckey, who is an Impact

Club is Taking Campus by Storm(water) ONE OF CAL POLY’S NEWEST CLUBS, Cal Poly Rainworks, has already won $1,000 and the opportunity to present its creekside revival storm water management plan at the EWRI (Environmental & Water Resources Institute) Environmental & Water Resource Congress, May 21-25 in Sacramento, Calif. The students are finalists in the WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Student Design Competition, a key student event during the EWRI Congress. Leading the club’s site design team are Delaney Nelson and Patrick Nagle, both civil

engineering majors. The EWRI World Congress is one of the largest meetings of water resources specialists in the U.S. The student presentations will be the culmination of the annual Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Campus Challenge competition. Cal Poly Rainworks, founded last year by Nathan Hanson, was created to be competitive. “Last year, after returning from an internship project for the city of Aspen, Colo., that involved storm water management, I wanted to expand upon that experience at school, but found

that there were limited course options,” said Hanson, a civil and environmental engineering master’s student. “That’s when I found out about the EPA national competition, and it seemed like a great way to get students involved in a design project early on in their college career.” It’s the second year that the club has engaged in the competition, and the

officer for EWB Cal Poly. “Impact is the annual event that brings together EWB, Cal Poly and the San Luis Obispo community to build a larger, collaborative, volunteer community. It’s a great fit for me because I love connecting people to achieve common goals,” she said. “Engineering is not only about calculations, measurements and formulas, it’s also very much about people and our relations with them.” n For more information about EWB Cal Poly, visit

Members of Cal Poly Rainworks display a watershed demonstration table the club built.

second time it’s fielded two teams. In addition to the Site Design team, this year’s Cal Poly Rainworks entrants included a master plan team headed by Hillary Tung, a civil and environmental master’s student, and Arturo Zaragoza, a landscape architecture major. Rebekah Oulton, civil and environmental engineering professor, is faculty advisor. n CAL POLY ENGINEERING


Department News Cal Poly’s UAV Fleet Grows

General Engineering Club President Kendyl Cohn, center, is flanked by officers Josh Diaz (left) and Winston Wight.

The Multidisciplinary Face of Engineering KENDYL COHN, PRESIDENT OF CAL POLY’S NEW GENERAL Engineering Club, believes in general engineering’s multidisciplinary outlook. At the same time, because general engineering students pursue individual interests across a spectrum of disciplines, it is sometimes difficult to connect with fellow majors. “The goal of our club is to form a general engineering community,” Cohn said. “In a major where we don’t take many classes together, and there’s no flow chart of classes to take in a certain order, peer advising and interaction is particularly valuable. Upperclassmen have learned a lot that can help younger students effectively chart their personal pathways, make the best use of their time and maximize the rewards.” In addition to Cohn, club officers include Winston Wight, vice president of external affairs, and Josh Diaz, vice president of internal affairs. “My interest in renewable energy has helped connect me with a couple of like-minded students, but networking within the major as a whole is difficult,” said Diaz. “That’s what led us to establish a club within general engineering and to improve student support, especially in the form of peer support.” “Members are taking a big role in shaping the club,” said Cohn. “Our first meeting was an open forum in which students expressed an interest in design competitions, Startup Weekend and partnering with the Innovation Sandbox, among other ideas.” Cohn chose Cal Poly because of its general engineering program. “In selecting a college, I was looking at chemical engineering programs — but nothing quite fit. When I visited Cal Poly, I saw that it didn’t have my major, but it had the means for me to make it myself. And that clicked with me. I like to do my own thing. I chose a bioengineering course of study, and now, in my senior year, it’s exciting and rewarding to see the many choices I’ve made and courses I’ve taken fall into place.” n For more info, see:



Aerospace engineering graduate student Shaun Wixted unveils the newest addition to the Cal Poly Autonomous Flight Program’s fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles — a Vapor-55 electric helicopter capable of carrying a 10-pound payload aloft for about an hour. “The Vapor gives us a very versatile platform that is easier to fly than the larger Yamaha RMAX helicopter we have,” said Professor Aaron Drake. ”It will be used immediately in multiple projects we have going in remote sensing.”

Mastering the ‘Soft’ Crash Daimler Trucks sponsors Cal Poly senior projects in safety systems AN ENTIRE SECTION OF SENIOR PROJECT students in the Mechanical Engineering Department are getting a real-world opportunity to work with Daimler Trucks North America researching testing devices and set ups for safety systems. Alumnus David Smith (B.S./M.S., Mechanical Engineering, ’11), a systems engineer at Daimler, worked with Professor Charles Birdsong to facilitate the collaboration. “Three student teams are working on a mobile soft crash target vehicle, which Daimler will use to test its collision mitigation system for commercial vehicles,” explained Birdsong. “A fourth team is designing a pedestrian crash dummy with articulating limbs that moves across a roadway. “The truck radar system should identify the dummy as a pedestrian and automatically stop. If not, the dummy is designed to absorb the collision so that it can be reset for more testing. Each team is reporting to different Daimler engineers.” “Daimler intends to use the work being developed by the students as part of our ongoing efforts in the area of active safety systems,” said Smith. “The research the students have done as background to their own

projects is valuable as well. The student-designed systems will help guide our evaluation of next steps for the company. “My fellow Daimler colleagues, also Cal Poly alumni, are enjoying working with students on such creative projects,” said Smith. “The senior projects give us a chance to think about purely design work. Going forward, Daimler would like to continue building our relationship with Cal Poly.”n

A pedestrian crash test dummy is part of a radar safety test study sponsored by Daimler Trucks.

Simply Outstanding College of Engineering award winners THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND THE ENGINEERING STUdent Council (ESC) named outstanding teachers and staff members at the collegewide meeting in December. ESC president Zach Sharpell presented outstanding faculty awards to William Murray (Mechanical Engineering) and Paul Choboter (Mathematics) in the College of Science and Mathematics. “Dr. Murray has been a leader in updating the mechatronics concentration to reflect current technology,” said Sharpell. Amro El Badawy (Civil and Environmental Engineering) won the ESC Outstanding Lecturer Award for inspiring students with his knowledge of nanoparticles. Tracy Thatcher (Civil and Environmental Engineering), faculty advisor to the Society of Environmental Engineers, received the ESC award for outstanding club advisor. She is known for her contagious passion — she helps organize industry events, networking opportunities and field trips. As administrative coordinator for the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Kay Kibbe, recipient of the ESC Outstanding Staff Award, serves as the first point of contact for the department’s 1,000 students. “She supports students with their advising efforts, graduate program questions, scheduling and webpages,” said Sharpell. College of Engineering awards and recipients included: Raytheon Excellence in Teaching & Applied Research Award Kira Abercromby (Aerospace Engineering) has developed excellent laboratory facilities, including a space environment lab and vacuum chambers, and she has led efforts to develop an astronautics focus in the aerospace engineering curriculum. An exceptionally active researcher, Abercromby has published dozens of NASA and technical meeting papers, and several journal articles. She has been awarded research grants totaling more than $500,000.

Faculty News

neering Department who oversees the Hangar shop. Over 16 years at Cal Poly, he has researched best practices for every type of tool used in the shop, and continually posts testing procedures and safety tests to ensure student proficiency on shop tools. Because of Leone, Cal Poly’s mechanical engineering shops are compliant with CAL-OSHA and Environmental Health and Safety Department rules, including maintaining current SDS and hazardous materials information. College of Engineering Outstanding Staff Award

A faculty nominator said that Larry Coolidge, a mechanical engineering technician, “might be the top performer in the Mechanical Engineering Depart ment in terms of dedication, knowledge, ability and contributions to the program.” His efforts to identify cost-effective solutions have led to numerous Jackie Duerr | SHPE Advisor upgrades of department computing equipment, and he provides extensive after-hours assistance to faculty and students alike. n

The Don and Paula Heye Award for Outstanding Teaching Jean Lee (Materials Engineering) was recognized for her dedication to equipping the next generation of engineers through her extensive work preparing curriculum and thorough understanding of course material. She also brings valuable industry experience relevant to students and their career pursuits. One student nominator noted that Lee “constantly pushes students in the Microsystems and Technology Club to do projects that are interdisciplinary, and that require us to use what we have learned from coursework and apply them to real problems.”

Kira Abercromby Raytheon Excellence in Teaching Award

Tracy Thatcher | Outstanding Advisor

Larry Coolidge | Staff Award

William Murray | Outstanding Faculty

The Don and Paula Heye Award for Outstanding Club Advisor Jackie Duerr, advisor to the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), is known for her commitment to making engineering more diverse. The SHPE officers commented that Duerr has had a tremendous impact on the club. A club leader said, “Jackie always continues to strive to find new ways for members of SHPE to become involved and take advantage of different opportunities. The Don and Paula Heye Annual Safety Award The inaugural safety award winner is George Leone, a technician in the Mechanical Engi-

George Leone | Safety Award Amro El Badawy ESC Outstanding Lecturer

Jean Lee Outstanding Teaching

Kay Hibbe ESC Staff Award



Faculty News

Faculty Notes n Multidisciplinary Kathy Chen (Materials Engineering), Helene Finger (Women in Engineering), Lanaya Gaberel (Human Resources), Emily Liptow (AmeriCorps) and Kari Mansager (Office of University Diversity and Inclusion) led efforts to promote STEM faculty diversity and inclusion as part of a collaborative partnership with the University of Washington on a National Science Foundation program, LEAD-it-Yourself. The Cal Poly team organized two workshops on unconscious bias in the faculty search process, which attracted 50 faculty and administrators from the College of Engineering.

n Aerospace Engineering Kira Abercromby received the Raytheon Excellence in Teaching and Applied Research Award. Abercromby has developed a space environment lab and vacuum chambers, and she has led efforts to develop an astronautics focus in the aerospace engineering curriculum.

n Biomedical Engineering Kristen Cardinal published “Human Umbilical Versus Coronary Cell Sources for Tissue-Engineered Blood Vessel Mimics” in Applied In Vitro Toxicology (Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 175-182). Her seven Cal Poly student co-authors included Scott Herting, Alex DiBartolomeo, Toni Pipes, Shelby Kunz, Kristen Temnyk, Jakub Truty and Sarah Ur. Lanny Griffin co-authored “Acute Forces Required for Fatal Compression Asphyxia: A Biomechanical Model and Historical Comparisons,” published in Medicine, Science, and the Law (2017).

n Civil and Environmental Engineering




Robb Moss was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was also appointed a Fulbright Specialist

Led by Mechanical Engineering Professor Russ Westphal, left, the Boundary Layer Data System project team includes undergraduate and graduate engineering students Andrew Elliott, Julia Roche, Thomas Niemisto, Paul Kujawa, Jakob Graf and Winthrop Townsend.

Airflow Measuring Project Soars Boundary Layer Data System receives first test on a commercial aircraft SINCE 2008, AEROSPACE ENGIsupport from NASA, the Air Force neering professor Russ Westphal Wright Aeronautical Labs, the Air has led dozens of students in deForce 412 Test and Engineering veloping a family of small, self-conGroup and Boeing.” tained, autonomous instruments The BLDS development effort has capable of measuring the airflow led to applications supporting nine within the boundary layer near a flight test programs on six different surface on a full-scale operating subsonic aircraft at altitudes above aircraft or vehicle. Weighing less 40,000 feet and flight speeds up to than a pound, the devices, known 0.8 Mach, as well as ground-based as the Boundary Layer Data System measurements. (BLDS), can be flexibly configured In the recent EcoDemonstrator with a variety of probes and sensors The Boundary Layer Data System project employs small test, the BLDS was used to provide autonomous instruments to measure surface airflow for different measurement tasks. low-cost data to measure boundary around aircraft or vehicles. BLDS was one of the safety and layer health on both laminar wing environmental performance improvement technologies and vertical tail surfaces. Because BLDS improves the efrecently tested during an EcoDemonstrator flight test proficiency of flight-test data acquisition, its use saves fuel and gram conducted by aircraft manufacturing giants Boeing lowers emissions. Co. and Embraer. The test marks the first use of BLDS on a “Cal Poly’s BLDS project will continue to further develop commercial jet aircraft. and improve these instruments, and to apply our existing, “This is a big milestone for the long-running BLDS projflight-proven instruments to solve clients’ problems involvect,” said Westphal, the Donald E. Bently Professor and ing difficult in-flight or ground-based measurement requireConstant J. and Dorothy F. Chrones Professor in Mechanical ments,” explained Westphal. “In the end, this project is all Engineering. about students. These tasks give students a fantastic array “We have received well over a million dollars in sponof challenging and exciting technical problems, augmenting sored BLDS work,” said Westphal. “Northrop Grumman has their classroom education while providing very marketable been our biggest sponsor, and we have also had contract experience for their resumes.”n

Faculty News for 2017-20, with a focus on engineering education affiliated with Chile. He co-authored “Advances of Cone Penetration Testing in Earthquake Engineering Applications” presented at IX Congreso Chileno de Ingenieria Geotecnica in Valdivia, Chile. He published “Strain Compatible Site Period, a New Perspective in Site Response Analysis” in Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering (92C, pp. 551-560, DOI: 10.1016/j.soildyn.2016.10.010). Amro El Badawy won the Engineering Student Council Outstanding Lecturer Award for inspiring students with his knowledge of nanoparticles. Tracy Thatcher received the Engineering Student Council award for Outstanding Club Advisor for her support of the Society of Environmental Engineers.

n Computer Engineering / Computer Science Bruce DeBruhl and Foaad Khosmood collaborated with an interdisciplinary team to organize the Interdisciplinary Research Forum on Autonomous Vehicle Systems held at Cal Poly. The conference brought together faculty from across campus to discuss ongoing research activities and opportunities for collaboration on the subject of autonomous vehicles. Graham Doig (Aerospace Engineering), Zoe Wood (Computer Science and Software Engineering) and Tali Freed (Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering) presented at the event. Foaad Khosmood, the Forbes Endowed Professor of Computer Engineering, helped organize the second International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons and Game Creation Events held in San Francisco. For the conference, he coauthored “Social Network Analysis of the Global Game Jam Network” with Austrian colleagues Johanna Pirker and Christian Gutl from Graz University of Technology. See Chris Lupo and Gavin Baker (B.S./M.S., Computer Engineering/Computer Science, ’16) published and presented “TARUC: A Topology-Aware Resource Usability and Contention Benchmark” at the eighth Association for Computing Machinery / Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation International

New Professor Aims to Spark a Fire in Cal Poly Engineering Students

as a FIE New Faculty Fellow. The FIE fellowship program helps expose outstanding young faculty to engineering education best practices and innovations

Richard Emberley has joined the Cal Poly Fire Protection Engineering program.

WITH A JOINT APPOINTMENT IN Cal Poly’s Fire Protection Engineering Program (FPE) and the Mechanical Engineering Department, Richard Emberley hopes to introduce fire protection engineering to a much broader range of undergraduate students. Emberley joined Cal Poly in January after earning his Ph.D. at the University of Queensland in Australia. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in civil engineering and fire protection engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. “I went to Australia to get on the ground floor of Queensland’s new program,” said Emberley. “My experience in helping to set up their lab gives me perspective on developing student projects and applied research. “I’m interested, for instance, in studying the self-extinction properConference on Performance Engineering in L’Aquila, Italy.

n Computer Science / Software Engineering David Janzen, a Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow, developed Pitch 2 Programmers, an event in which students, faculty and community members pitch senior project ideas to computer science and software engineering students. More than 30

ties of timber. Already in my first quarter, I’ve had a steady stream of students asking questions and seeking projects.” “Rick not only has broad knowledge of fire science but he also has practical knowledge about the application of fire protection in industry,” said Professor Chris Pascual. “These dual strengths make Rick an ideal fit for Cal Poly.” n

About the Cal Poly Fire Protection Engineering Program The Cal Poly Master of Science degree in Fire Protection Engineering is only the third graduate program in Fire Protection Engineering in the United States and the first one on the West Coast. Cal Poly offers a master’s degree in FPE as well as two graduate certificates: FPE Science and FPE Applications. There are currently 39 students enrolled in the FPE program. For more, see:

pitches were presented this academic year. Individuals can submit ideas for the next pitch event in September 2017 at

n Electrical Engineering Andrew Danowitz published “Leveraging the Final Project to Improve Student Motivation in Introductory Digital Design Courses” in Proceedings of the 2016 Frontiers in Education (FIE) Conference held in Erie, Pa., where he was selected

Taufik served as a Visiting Professor at University of Padjadjaran Bandung, Indonesia. He delivered keynote speeches and published papers at the following conferences: • The International Seminar on Application for Technology of Information and Communication Science and Technology. Co-authored papers included “Analysis and Review of DC Microgrid Implementations” and “Power Quality Analysis of Variable Frequency Drives Connected to a Reactively Compensated Mixed Load System.” • The Sixth International Annual Engineering Seminar. Co-authored “‘Development of DC House Prototypes as Demonstration Sites for an Alternate Solution to Rural Electrification.” • The International Seminar on Intelligent Technology and Its Applications. Co-authored papers included “Development of Arc Fault Interrupter Laboratory Testing for Low Voltage DC Electricity” and “Optimum Control Strategy of Grid Connected PMSG Wind Turbine Based on Energy Storage System.” • The International Conference on Applied Electrical, Electronics, and Informatic Engineering. Co-authored “Design Considerations of Diode Source Protection in Multiple Buck Converter.” Taufik also co-authored “Phase Shifted Boost-Cuk Converter for Renewable Energy Applications” published at the third ICNERE & 8th EECCIS Conference; “Modeling and Simulation of Solar Powered DC Water Pump” published at the 2016 FORTEI National Seminar; and “WIP: International Partnership on the DC House Project for Rural Electrification” published at the ASEE PSW Conference, April 2016.

n Mechanical Engineering Mohammad Noori was invited to join the external advisory board of Da Vinci Schools which operates three public charter high schools: Da Vinci Communications, Da Vinci Design and Da Vinci Science. n



Alumnus Makes Tribune List of ‘Top 20 Under 40’ Alumni in the News

2010s Esha Joshi (Software Engineering, ’16) facilitates a Girls Who Code club in Sunnyvale, Calif., where she teaches programming to low-income middle school female students. She also mentors students from a nonprofit school in East San Jose for children at risk. Kyle Koon (Civil Engineering, ‘16) was hired by Metrix Engineers, an engineering consulting firm based in Renton, Wash. Robert Harvey and Jorge Navarro (Civil Engineering, ‘16) and Leonel Arjon (Civil Engineering, ‘15) are among the “top talent” new hires announced by Jensen Design and Survey, a full-service civil engineering, surveying, planning and construction administration firm based in Ventura County, Calif. Matt Erich (Materials Engineering, ’15) works in research and development at Abbott Laboratories Medical. He founded Crosslink Labs to bring free 3-D printing to educational organizations, local schools, and nonprofits. He has designed and printed medical models, retractable prosthetic hands for children and affordable prototypes for aspiring innovators. Wyatt Nelson (Aerospace Engineering, ’15) is CEO and founder of Higea Technologies, a company dedicated to developing a safer, cleaner, more effective method for cleaning up oil spills.



assistant, he is investigating the management of infrastructure reconstruction following large-scale disaster events. Doug Howe (Aerospace Engineering, ‘14) is stationed in Antarctica as a research scientist supporting a variety of physical and astrophysical research projects for the Science Support Department at AmundsenScott South Pole Station. About the U.S. Antarctic Program: Adam Eberwein (Mechanical Engineering, ’12) lives in Haiti where he works at EarthSpark International in collaboration with local communities to install desperately needed microgrid systems. Since

Cal Poly computer science graduate Chet Brandenburg was in New York when his San Luis Obispo-based software company MINDBODY became a publicly traded listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange. MINDBODY serves the wellness industry with cloud-based software.

Haiti was hit by Hurricane Matthew, many homes have been without power, and those with access to electricity pay steep prices for spotty service. Eberwein is working to install resilient solar systems in order to solve the country’s energy poverty crisis.

she serves and coordinates K-12 STEM outreach to thousands of girls annually. She also visits middle school, high school and college classes in Colorado to speak to girls and women about STEM careers and to reinforce the importance of diversity and inclusion in industry.

Patrick Quinn (Biomedical Engineering, ’12) works for Medtronic in research and development creating delivery systems for coils to treat brain aneurysms and prevent strokes.

Chris Ringer (Environmental Engineering, ’10) manages multiple water, sanitation and hygiene projects in Za’atari Refugee Camp, Jordan, serving 80,000 Syrian refugees. He built a smartphone-based information management system for tracking water distribution and enabling rapid response to distribution irregularities in the camp.

Megan (Adams) Schulze (Mechanical Engineering, ’12) serves as president of the Rocky Mountain Professional Section of the Society of Women Engineers, where


Aaron Opdyke (Civil Engineering, ’13) is doctoral candidate and USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements Fellow in the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As a research

CHET BRANDENBURG (COMPUTER SCIENCE, ’01) helped put MINDBODY, one of the fastest-growing companies in North America, on the fast track. Brandenburg was honored by The Tribune newspaper for outstanding contributions in his career field and the community of San Luis Obispo, Calif. “Chet joined me in my garage in 2002, fresh from completing his degree,” said Rick Stollmeyer, co-founder and CEO of MINDBODY, which provides cloud-based business software in the wellness industry. “Right away, seeing new opportunities for our business software, Chet built web-scheduling tools that enabled our appointment-based customers to take reservations and payment from their websites. In 2004, he introduced our groundbreaking product, MINDBODY Online, a pure cloud-based business management software, which gave us a strong first-to-market advantage.” The company now serves more than 51,000 businesses globally and has surpassed $100 million in revenue. “Chet’s unique talent, efforts and dedication has directly contributed to the more than 1,000 head-of-household jobs that MINDBODY has created on the Central Coast,” said Stollmeyer. Father of a 2-year-old daughter, Brandenburg is passionate about women in technology, championing MINDBODY’s involvement in the National Center for Women in Technology and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. He is also involved in outreach activities that introduce elementary and middle school children to engineering and technology. Brandenburg serves on the Cal Poly Computer Science Advisory Board. n

Contractor of the Year Alumna Angie Simon honored by Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association with how buildings worked as she got older. At Cal Poly, Simon “thrived on all the practical aspects of the HVAC/solar option in mechanical engineering — from working with solar panels to running loads on a building and designing our own HVAC Angie Simon Mechanical Engineering system.” Simon also played four years of National Collegiate Athletic Association softball at Cal Poly. “My senior design classes and many hands-on opportunities prepared me well for working in this industry,” she said, “and my three years as captain of the softball team was one of the best kinds of leadership training experiences there is.” Going forward, Simon foresees a distinctly higher percentage of women and minorities going into engineeringrelated professions, including HVAC. “The entire HVAC industry still excites me,” she said. “In addition to the constant challenges that come with the changes in the industry, I love being able to say, ‘Hey, I worked on that building.’” n

W6NKT Goes Silent

Harry K. Wolf’s interest in ham radio began in 1922.

Sarah Shackelford (Manufacturing Engineering, ’10) lives in Katmandu, Nepal, where she performs language surveying. “I am working on the daunting task of cataloging all the languages in the world,” she said. “This lays the groundwork for literacy programs in many areas of the world.”

2000s Paul Breithaupt (Manufacturing Engineering, ‘09) is the new director of engineering for SSI Shredding System, an Oregon-based equipment manufacturer. Aaron Lichtner (B.S., Materials Engineering, ‘09), always drawn to both art and engineering, has applied his understanding of materials, coding and product design to the high fashion and art world as a data scientist. Andrea Mueller (Mechanical Engineering, ‘03) made her first appearance at the NASCAR Cup race as lead engineer for Wood Brothers Racing driver Ryan Blaney at the Daytona 500. See related story, page 23. Jay Schultz (Computer Science, ’09) works at Workday and volunteers for PulsePoint, an organization committed to saving lives through technology. He helped develop the PulsePoint Response Android app, which has been adopted

by fire departments across the country to decrease the time it takes for a victim to receive CPR. He also developed the PulsePoint automated external defibrillator (AED) app to crowdsource locations of AEDs that can be used in emergency situations. Between these two apps, PulsePoint has developed the largest AED database in the U.S. Tracy Van Houten (Aerospace Engineering, ‘04) and Natalia Sanchez (B.S./M.S., Aerospace Engineering, ‘08) were featured in The New Yorker as examples of how their political engagement reflects a long tradition of American engineers and scientists being drawn into the public arena. Van Houten is running in a special June primary for California’s 34th Congressional District, with Sanchez working on her campaign. Kristin Zaitz (Civil Engineering, ‘03), decommissioning engineering manager for PG&E, has held various roles in her 15 years with the company’s San Luis Obispo plant, most recently as supervisor of the Seismic Engineering group. Roark Lanning (M.S., Mechanical Engineering, ‘01) was named the director of wind energy at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global engineering and professional services organization that works with companies across all industrial sectors. In the power and energy sector, Lanning’s work focuses on the development of onshore wind energy. See related story, page 22.


ANGIE SIMON, A 1986 CAL POLY alumna and a leader in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry, was named Contractor of the Year at the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association Annual Conference, held Oct. 16-19. She is the first woman to receive the award. Simon is president of Western Allied Mechanical, a business in Menlo Park, Calif. that designs, builds and maintains HVAC systems. “I love this industry and where it’s going,” said Simon. “Young engineers are increasingly attracted to the technology and sustainability aspects that have become hallmarks of this field. Buildings account for more than 65 percent of all electricity used today, and to design a net zero or green building, has real meaning for today’s environmentally minded young people.” For many of the same reasons, there are growing numbers of women in the field. “We have eight female engineers at Western Allied, a very high number for our size. Cal Poly is steadily increasing the enrollment of female engineering students, and it’s where we have hired some of our best and brightest — both men and women.” Simon grew up tinkering with cars but found herself increasingly intrigued

Alumni News

Cal Poly Engineering mourns the loss of Harry K. Wolf, its oldest alumnus FORMER CAL POLY ENGINEERING INSTRUCTOR AND student Harry K. Wolf of Morro Bay, Calif., passed away on Jan. 15, 2017, a couple weeks shy of his 108th birthday. Wolf was perhaps the oldest active radio amateur in the U.S. — since 1936, you could find him on air daily, mostly on 40-meter CW or continuous waveform. Born in 1909 in Paso Robles, Calif., Wolf’s lifelong passions included teaching and amateur radio. He built his first radio as a teenager in 1922. After he got his ham ticket, he held the call sign W6NKT for his entire life. Wolf attended Cal Poly from 1927-29, with an emphasis in electrical engineering. Wolf earned his bachelor’s degree at North Arizona State Teachers College in 1933, his master’s degree in 1941 and doctorate in 1962. He initially taught mathematics at Placerville High School

and while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he taught navigation to cadets training at Cal Poly. Instrumental in establishing the Electronics Engineering Department, Wolf taught at Cal Poly and Cal Poly Pomona for 31 years, retiring in 1973 as a professor emeritus. He published his autobiography, “The Oak Tree,” in 2009. The founding advisor of the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club (CPARC), Wolf signed the club’s original charter in 1947. In 2009, he donated a Yaesu FTDX-9000D transceiver to the club. At 103, Wolf attended the dedication of CPARC’s new 72-foot antenna tower, which enables students, faculty and community members to send and receive radio signals worldwide. Many of those signals came from W6NKT. n CAL POLY ENGINEERING


Alumni News Selynna Sun (Computer Science, ’02) organizes hackathons, 24-hour coding events in which participants design apps, websites or games. Through these events, she has reached more than 1,000 students in the Bay Area who are interested in computer science and coding. Next year, she and her team will be organizing SLO Hacks for the Central Coast college and high school communities.

Lanning Knows Which Way the Wind’s Blowing Alum is new director of wind energy for WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

1990s Ashanti Branch (Civil Engineering, ’98) is the founder of the Ever Forward Club, a youth development and nonprofit organization dedicated to mentoring young men of color in Bay Area middle and high schools. An annual highlight for club members is a five-day tour of Southern California, which includes a visit to Cal Poly. The group was featured at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in a documentary, “The Mask You Live In.” The film’s trailer has had more than 5.3 million views on YouTube. Sean Gamette (Civil Engineering, ’91), a senior executive with the Port of Long Beach, was named managing director of engineering services. In his new role, Gamette will oversee and execute engineering and construction projects and maintenance for the Harbor Department. This decade, the Port is undergoing $4 billion in modernization to increase efficiencies, reduce environmental impacts and strengthen competitiveness. Amanda Hendrix (Aerospace Engineering, ’91) and Charles Wohlforth are the authors of “Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets,” which focuses on why Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, might be the only place beyond Earth where humans could live. In a Scientific American guest blog, they explained that the genesis of their book came from looking at the planets in a new way: ecologically.



in 2017.” In the article, Kava described Google as “the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world.”

1980s Scott Elder (Industrial Engineering, ‘89), president of Dream Cars Austin, was recently profiled in Austin Monthly. Earlier in his career he worked for Texas Instruments and later started a software business.

energy design engineering. Lanning’s background includes 15 years of experience in engineering and management for complex utility and industrial projects. For the past eight years, he worked as an engineering leader for a Coloradobased renewable energy company, serving as director of mechanical engineering. His interest in renewable energy began shortly after graduating from Cal Poly, while working as a combustion engineer for a leading industrial burners company. “I felt good about what I was doing, since the final product reduced emissions by up to 95 percent. I was intrigued by the energy industry from this role,” he said. “My next position took me from ski lifts and automated people movers to wind turbines through a direct-drive generator design. This design made it possible for me to focus on energy and learn about renewable energy. That was 10 years ago, and I have remained in renewable energy since then.” n Scott Sawyer (Civil Engineering, ‘89), a transportation design manager and principal at SCJ Alliance, was presented the Roy Morse Award for outstanding technical and professional accomplishments in public works by the Washington state chapter of the American Public Works Association. Mark Pestrella (Civil Engineering, ’87) was officially sworn in March 6 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to lead the largest municipal public

Angie (Zoll) Simon (Environmental Engineering, ‘86), a leader in the HVAC industry, was named Contractor of the Year at the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) Annual Conference, held Oct. 16-19 in Phoenix. She is the first woman to receive the award. (See page 20). Rory Cooper (Electrical Engineering, ‘85; M.S., Engineering ‘86) was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Engineering from Xi’an Jiatong University. “It was a wonderful experience made particularly special because the nomination came from the Human Engineering Research Laboratories alumni, post-docs and collaborators, several of whom attended and presented at the symposium accompanying the ceremony,” he said. Jeffrey Marrs (Environmental Engineering, ‘83) is CEO of ACCO Engineered Systems, an employee-owned family of companies dedicated to the design, fabrication, installation and maintenance of HVAC, plumbing, process piping, electrical and building automation systems. A 33-year veteran of the firm, Marrs has spent his entire professional career at the company, which is headquartered in Glendale, Calif. John Presleigh (Civil Engineering, ’83) was named president of the County Engineers Association of California. A 25-year county employee, Presleigh has headed the Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works since 2009. A staunch advocate for infrastructure improvements and local road funding, he heads the 102-year-old organization that serves as the county’s leading voice on transportation issues in Sacramento, Calif. Joe Pasqua (Computer Science, ’81;


Joe Kava (Materials Engineering, ’91), Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, was quoted in a New York Times story headlined, “Google Says It Will Run Entirely on Renewable Energy

ROARK LANNING (M.S., MECHanical Engineering, ’01; B.S., Mathematics, UC Santa Cruz, ’96) has a keen sense of which way the wind is blowing when it comes to renewable energy resources. Recently named director of wind energy for WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global multi-sector engineering and professional services organization, Lanning is leading the company’s engineering services in the U.S. onshore wind energy market. “Wind energy has been in the spotlight for many years,” Lanning said. “With more efficient and costeffective systems and decreasing costs, it’s gaining recognition as an alternative form of power generation that produces no greenhouse gas emissions and consumes no water during operations.” Working out of the company’s Denver offices, Lanning provides project management and oversight for engineering design and studies related to wind energy, as well as other renewable energy sectors, such as solar

works agency in the United States. As director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Pestrella will also serve as the county engineer, road commissioner and chief engineer of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District. With an annual budget of more than $2.5 billion and a workforce of 4,000 employees, Los Angeles County Public Works provides vital public infrastructure and civic services to more than 10 million people across a 4,000-square-mile service area.

Speeding From NASA to NASCAR Life is the pits for Cal Poly mechanical engineering alumna, and she loves it

Alumna Andrea Mueller is now the lead engineer at Wood Brothers Racing. (Photo: Nigel Kinrade)

DURING THE DAYTONA 500 RACE ON Feb. 26 at the International Daytona Speedway, Andrea Mueller (Mechanical Engineering, ’03) served as lead engineer for Wood Brothers Racing, atop the pit box of driver Ryan Blaney. It was just where she wanted to be. Raised in a racing family in Fresno, she spent her formative years at the track racing midgets and micro midgets. From ages 9 to 17 she successfully raced in the quarter-edge division at tracks such as King’s Speedway in Hanford, Calif., and Madera, Calif. By the time she finished high school, however, she was ready to put aside her dream of being a professional race car driver. “I decided I’d race for fun, but I turned my focus to mechanical engineering and enrolled at Cal Poly,” said Mueller. “My dad and I made a deal that I could con-

tinue having fun racing as long as I had straight A’s. So he pretty much set me on the path to college and my career.” After graduating from Cal Poly she was on the fast track of a career in aerospace, working for four years at Pratt & Whitney, helping design and develop the main engine nozzle for the NASA space shuttle. An opportunity to meld the world of racing and engineering came in 2007, when she accepted a position in the engineering department at then-Penske Racing, one of the most successful

Mathematics, ’81), executive vice president of products at MarkLogic, was interviewed by Inside Big Data on how the move to the cloud poses one of the biggest IT opportunities in decades. In a career spanning more than three decades, Pasqua has personally contributed to several game-changing initiatives

including the first personal computer at Xerox, the rise of the Oracle Database and the desktop publishing revolution at Adobe. He has more than 10 patents with others pending. He is a member of the Cal Poly Computer Science Advisory Board.

sports organizations in the world. In the ensuing years, she helped Team Penske win 20 races and two owners’ championships. When offered the job of lead engineer at Wood Brothers Racing last January, it was the culmination of a 10-year path. “My goals had always been to be an engineer on a Cup team.” A natural next step in her career might be to work as a crew chief, but Mueller’s not sure the job’s management responsibilities and media chores are for her. “Throughout my career, one thing has definitely not changed: I’m still good stopping at the engineer level,” said Mueller. “What I like about my role is being able to focus on the car and the race strategy. The technical side is for me.”n For more, see

1970s Bruce Burnworth (Transportation Engineering, ’77; Civil Engineering, ’78) is responsible for the planning, design and construction of a $100 million gravity

Alumni News sewer pipeline for Silicon Valley Clean Water. The 17,500-foot-long tunnel will have a 15-foot outside diameter and be built using an earth pressure balance tunnel boring machine. Burnworth’s goal is to complete the project using progressive design-build practices. Russell M. Cummings (Aeronautical Engineering, ’77; M.S., Engineering, ’85; Music, ‘99) was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. The Royal Aeronautical Society was founded in 1866 and has more than 22,500 members worldwide. It has become an international, multidisciplinary professional institution dedicated to the global aerospace community.

1950s Dale Thompson (Mechanical Engineering, ’51) and his wife, Sylvia, are back in San Luis Obispo after more than 50 years living in the Los Angeles area. Thompson recently retired after working 32 years for Parker Hannifin Corp. Fluid Power Sales. He is proud that their three children are Cal Poly alumni and their granddaughter is a senior. He is looking forward to being active in the local alumni group. n

KEEP IN TOUCH New job? Won an award? Founded a company? Reflecting on a fulfilling career? The College of Engineering is eager to share your news and milestones! Send a note or submit an update online and we will publish it on our website and in Engineering Advantage. SEND TO: SUBMIT ONLINE: College of Engineering Advancement Cal Poly, Building 192, Room 301 1 Grand Avenue Notes become the property of the College of Engineering San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 and may be edited for length or clarity.


California Polytechnic State University College of Engineering 1 Grand Ave. San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0350 Parents please note: If your son or daughter is no longer at this address, please share his or her current address with the College of Engineering


PROJECT EXPO Friday, June 2 2:30 – 6 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 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Outstanding Student Awards 3:30 - 6 p.m. Project Exhibition n CONTACT 805-756-2131 To learn how you can work with student teams or sponsor projects, contact Associate Dean Rakesh Goel at



Join us for the

Dean’s Office 805-756-2131 Jim Meagher, Interim Dean Fred DePiero, Associate Dean Rakesh Goel, Associate Dean College Advancement 805-756-5374 Tanya Hauck, Asst. Dean Amanda McAdams, Dir. of Development 805-756-5711 Meredith Brynteson, Dir. of Development 805-756-5047 Elise Erb, Corporate Partners Associate 805-756-5081 College Marketing & Communications 805-756-6402 Amy Hewes, Director Miles Clark, Web Administrator 805-756-6582 Galen Ricard, Writer 805-756-6623 Dennis Steers, Writer & Photographer 805-756-7167 Engineering Student Affairs 805-756-1320 Kim Marsalek, Director Multicultural Engineering Program 805-756-1433 Jackie Duerr, Coordinator Women in Engineering Program 805-756-2417 Helene Finger, Director DEPARTMENTS Aerospace Engineering 805-756-2562 David Marshall, Chair Biomedical Engineering 805-756-6400 Robert Crockett, Chair Civil and Environmental Engineering 805-756-2947 Yarrow Nelson, Chair Computer Engineering 805-756-1229 Hugh Smith, Director Computer Science 805-756-2824 Franz Kurfess, Chair Electrical Engineering 805-756-2781 Dennis Derickson, Chair General Engineering 805-756-6400 Jean Lee, Director Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering 805-756-2341 Dan Waldorf, Chair Materials Engineering 805-756-2568 Fred DePiero, Manager Mechanical Engineering 805-756-1334 Jim Widmann, Chair Fire Protection Engineering 805-756-7834 Fred Mowrer

Engineering Advantage is a biannual publication of the College of Engineering, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly Engineering Advantage — Spring 2017  

Cal Poly Engineering Newsletter, Spring 2017

Cal Poly Engineering Advantage — Spring 2017  

Cal Poly Engineering Newsletter, Spring 2017