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LightSail Unfurled for First Time Solar-powered sail could revolutionize satellite propulsion

Mechanical engineering student Kelvin Lei demonstrates Tandemech Engineering’s wall-climbing robot at the SLO HotHouse Accelerator Demo Day.

Ready, Set, Startup The entrepreneurial spirit is nurtured and thriving at Cal Poly Engineering


t Cal Poly, the number of innovations moving from labs and senior projects toward commercialization is growing — and, as a natural incubator of entrepreneurs, Cal Poly Engineering is a big part of that movement. The entrepreneurial energy got a power boost with the founding of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) five years ago, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The enterprise landscape now includes the SLO HotHouse, a startup incubator in downtown San Luis Obispo, Calif., and the Innovation Sandbox in the Bonderson Projects Center, where students literally play with ideas, technologies and product prototypes. In addition, competitions such as hackathons, games jams, Startup Weekend, Innovation Quest (iQ) and the Elevator Pitch competition challenge students to generate ideas, develop presentation skills and mix with

Project engineer Mike Patton examines the LightSail after it was unfurled from a CubeSat. At right, LightSail project members Alex Diaz and Riki Munakata secure the CubeSat before deployment.


orking with the Planetary Society to develop a revolutionary solar propulsion system for small satellites, a team of Cal Poly engineering graduates successfully deployed a Mylar LightSail in a key milestone for the $4 million project. “It was a big success,” Doug Stetson, LightSail program director for the Planetary Society, said after the test In the Bonderson Project Center in September. “This was a critical test in order for us to get ready for launch in 2015.” After more than four years of development and several last-minute delays, the LightSail, a 344-square-foot piece of Mylar foil that looks like a stove-top popcorn foil, emerged slowly from a CubeSat, the nano-satellite technology Cal Poly helped create. • To watch a video of the test, go to: • For information on the LightSail program, go to: • For more on Cal Poly CubeSat program, go to: n


College News

• Geotechnical engineering program receives a boost • Maddren honored for work on Cal Poly HVAC program • Cal Poly contingent tops 100 at Grace Hopper Conference

• Visiting scholars bring energy to engineering curriculum • Cal Poly to install 12 charging stations for electric vehicles • College of Engineering No. 1 among state-funded schools

Department News • Student entrepreneurs receive encouragement from Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship • Cal Poly engineers take first at Central Coast TechPitch

Please see ENTREPRENEURSHIP, Page 16

Student News

Faculty News

Alumni News

• Cal Poly EWB members work in Malawi and Nicaragua • Michelle Lam receives 2014 CSU Trustees Award • Engineers pitch in for Cal Poly’s record-setting baseball team

• Tom Katona to lead new entrepreneurial effort • Klisch, Marshall selected as Distinguished Scholars • Meagher, Savage named new department chairs

• Tim Weise honored by the Smithsonian for work at JPL • Electrical engineering class of ’64 celebrates 50th • Engineering alumni receive awards for leadership

Invest in the Best

Jesse Maddren has been honored for rebuilding Cal Poly’s HVAC program.

HVAC Leader Jesse Maddren Receives Provost’s Award


esse Maddren, a mechanical engineering professor who heads the Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning Program (HVAC), received the 2014 Provost’s Leadership Award for Partnership in Philanthropy. Maddren led the effort to revive and transform Cal Poly HVAC through strategic partnerships and collaboration with industry leaders, alumni and donors. Founded in 1939, Cal Poly’s HVAC program was one of the first in the U.S.; it is currently the only program of its kind on the West Coast. The Cal Poly Air Conditioning Club is the second-oldest student club in the College of Engineering, and the student chapter of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) is the oldest in the nation. For two decades, however, the program languished as a result of budget cuts and faculty attrition. In 2001, though, Maddren began the process of rebuilding the program by engaging industry leaders and recruiting volunteers to serve on an HVAC Industry Advisory Board. In collaboration with the IAB, Maddren championed revitalization of the HVAC curriculum, especially in the area of sustainability. Maddren and the IAB also undertook ambitious fundraising goals that included a lab and program endowments. Under Maddren’s leadership, the HVAC endowment is now worth $1.6 million, an amount that ensures program stability into the future. Because of Maddren’s leadership, Cal Poly has received national recognition for its contributions to the HVAC field, including educating generations of HVAC engineers. “Many people owe Jesse a huge debt of gratitude for having the vision, fortitude and commitment required to put our HVAC team together and keep us on course,” commented Ron Sweet, president of tk1sc. “Our company, along with many others, wouldn’t be who we are today without Cal Poly students we’ve hired and the contributions they make to our industry on a daily basis. His legacy will live on for generations.” n


Thanks to Support, Cal Poly is Everywhere at Grace Hopper Conference


ith 101 representatives, Cal Poly was everywhere at the recent Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. The annual event, recognized as the world’s largest gathering of women in technology, was held Oct. 8-10 in Phoenix. Of the 8,000 attendees from 67 countries, approximately 2,800 were students. One of the more than 400 universities represented, Cal Poly brought the largest cohort of students from outside the host city area. The student participation is supported with generous gifts from industry partners, the department’s Industry Advisory Board and alumni. Major corporate donors include GoDaddy, Apple and Cisco. Chevron and Northrop Grumman have also provided funding. The Cal Poly attendees represented a cross-section of majors, including computer engineering, computer science, software engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering disciplines. n

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More than 100 Cal Poly Engineers attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in Phoenix.

Invest in the Best Chevron Greets Scholars, Interns, Shop Techs

“Learn by Doing really works at Chevron, and Cal Poly does a great job of preparing students for the future,” said Diana Rasmussen, Chevron’s IT operations supervisor, at a meet-and-greet event for Chevron scholars and interns on campus in early October. “We see Cal Poly students able to come in and hit the ground running even if they haven’t had an internship with us,” Rasmussen added. Chevron’s annual $100,000 investment in Cal Poly includes funding for Earn by Doing student shop techs, internships, scholarships and program support. Along with Rasmussen, Chevron representatives at the event included Ashley Dahlstrom, Marjorie Dean, Kirsten Towne, Kimberly Beebe, Gaby Cepeda-Rizo and Adam Reeder. n

Shoring Up Geotechnical Engineering

Feeling LOOPy


hris Ridley and Quintin Flores share a passion: they both hope to grow the visibility of Cal Poly’s geotechnical engineering program. To attract and support students in the program, Ridley, a 1996 civil engineering alumnus, founded a scholarship endowment; Flores, a civil engineering senior, founded Cal Poly CalGeo, a geotechnical engineering student club. As it turns out, Flores received the first Rollo & Ridley, Inc. Geotechnical Engineering Scholarship. Ridley is a principal of Rollo & Ridley, a geotechnical and earthquake consulting firm in San Francisco. Having discovered geotechnical engineering as a student, Ridley is grateful to Cal Poly for providing him with a valuable career path. “My education is worth so much more than what I paid in tuition,” he said. “Giving back, in fact, is a priority for both me and my wife Julie, a Cal Poly liberal studies graduate,” he said. “My goal with this scholarship is to raise awareness of the geotech discipline and propel good students into the practice.” The endowment will generate an annual $2,000 scholarship award. By all measures, Flores is an ideal candidate for the award because of his interest in the field, campus leadership and high academic record. By his own admission, Flores logs a lot of time in the labs, although, like Ridley, he was not aware of geotechnical engineering when he first came to Cal Poly.

n TITLE — Engineering Advantage n ISSUE: Fall 2014 • Vol. 12, Issue 1 n FREQUENCY — Published biannually n PUBLISHER — Cal Poly College of Engineering n ADDRESS — 1 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

Civil engineering student Quintin Flores co-founded the geotechnical engineering club Cal Poly CalGeo.

“The light came on when I heard a presentation about a home that fell into the ocean when the cliff collapsed,” he said. “I realized that geotech engineering was critical, even though it’s often overlooked until buildings fall down. I committed to the field on the spot.” Flores has already proved a great ambassador for the discipline. In just its second year, Cal Poly CalGeo has doubled in membership and plans to repeat its participation in GeoWall, a competition in which the group placed fifth nationally last year. Clearly, the Ridley Scholarship, expert faculty, Cal Poly CalGeo and students like Flores will build a sound and well-known foundation for Cal Poly geotechnical engineering. n

Loyal Order of the Propellerheads (LOOP) scholar Kelsey Engel is pictured here with LOOP donors, including (left to right) Bill Swanson, Dick Hartung, Paul Bonderson and Chuck Harrington.

First Propellerhead Scholar Now a Graduate Student


n 2008, seven generous College of Engineering supporters spearheaded a unique scholarship aimed at recruiting the top incoming engineering students — the group dubbed themselves the “Loyal Order of Propellerheads” (LOOP). The scholarship provides financial assistance as well as guidance and mentoring. Kelsey Engel, the first student to receive a LOOP scholarship, elected to stay at Cal Poly to earn her master’s degree after completing her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering last June. She began graduate courses this fall. At Cal Poly’s Evening of Green & Gold, Engel met with several LOOP donors, including Bill Swanson (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1973), Dick Hartung, Paul Bonderson (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1975) and Chuck Harrington (B.S., Agricultural Engineering, 1981). n


n FACEBOOK — n TWITTER — n INSTAGRAM — @polyengineering


Invest in the Best A Family Engineering Affair

Juan and Gabriela Cepeda-Rizo give back to support the Cal Poly Multicultural Engineering Program


hen husband and wife Juan and Gabriela CepedaRizo came to Cal Poly they had no reference on what to expect or how to adjust to college. Each had immigrant parents who did not hold high school degrees, so like many other first-generation students, Juan and Gabriela had to find their own way in a university environment. Happily, they discovered an extended family in the Cal Poly Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP). “MEP helped us get through,” said Juan. “It provided tutoring and networking with other students from backgrounds like ours. David Cantu, the director at the time, was a great mentor.” Juan and Gabriela, indeed, made it through Cal Poly and beyond, to advanced degrees, successful careers and three children. Gabriela graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1995 and now works for Chevron. Juan received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering

in 1994 and his master’s in 1997. He went on to earn a doctorate in engineering and applied mathematics from the Claremont/CSU Long Beach Joint Program in 2006. For the past seven years, Juan has served as a thermal systems engineer at JPL. But in the evenings, he is a tinkerer and inventor. The Cepeda-Rizo children, aged 13, 12 and 7, serve as consultants, which comes in handy when Juan has them test his toy products.

The family of Cal Poly engineering grads Juan and Gabriela Cepeda-Rizo includes son Salvador, 11, and daughters Maya, 7, and Catalina, 13.

Ninja Warrior Chopsticks, a Cepeda-Rizo family endeavor, have been produced by Hogwild Toys and marketed by Amazon. To give back to the program that nurtured them at Cal Poly, the Cepeda-Rizos donate the royalties from the toy sales to MEP. “We hope to generate at least five years of revenue, and it’s great that Gabriela’s employer, Chevron, matches our gifts,” said Juan. “We know first-hand how energized and motivated the MEP counselors are. We hope our gifts can support their work and lead to the success of other students like us.” n

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


College News Fueling the Future

Magazine ranks Cal Poly the nation’s No. 1 state-funded engineering college

On Track with Visiting Scholars

Russian railway engineer Dmitry Maleev, left, and Cal Poly professor Rob Moss check out the tracks near campus. Maleev taught a course in railroad track design for high-speed rail.

International professors bring perspective and expanded curriculum to the college


very year, Cal Poly welcomes visiting scholars who come from abroad to Scholars Increasingly Discover Cal Poly Engineering collaborate on research, further internaA number of other visiting scholars are currently at work in Cal Poly tional projects and teach classes in speEngineering labs and classrooms: • In the Aerospace Engineering Department, Cal Poly CubeSat faculty and cialized areas. According to Dean Debra students are collaborating with Simonetta Di Pippo, an individual of such stature Larson, this international presence helps that she is both a star and a “knight.” The International Astronomical Union promote global awareness and compenamed an asteroid after her, and she was knighted by the president of the Italian tency in students — important attributes Republic (Cavaliere Ufficiale al Merito) in 2006. Di Pippo was recently appointed in the worldwide business of engineering. by the United Nations as director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs. This Sometimes, visiting scholars even position follows a distinguished career with the Italian Space Agency. She is also expand curricular offerings that expose currently heading the European Space Policy Observatory in Brussels, and she is a founding member and president of Women in Aerospace – Europe. Cal Poly students to unique engineer• Another Italian, Michele Ermidoro from Università degli Studi di Bergamo, ing disciplines. This fall, for instance, is working with Professor Stephen Klisch in Mechanical Engineering on human Cal Poly students had the opportunity motion biomechanics research. to study railway engineering, thanks • The Mechanical Engineering Department is hosting two other visiting to Dmitry Maleev, a professor at Far scholars: Bart Wijnen from the Netherlands, and Denis Gingras from Quebec. Eastern State Transportation University Wijnen is conducting research on athletic shoe cushioning systems under the in Khabarovsk, Russia. direction of Professor Tom Mackin. Gingras is teaching a course on intelligent Maleev specializes in engineering vehicles and collaborating with Professor Charles Birdsong on research. • In the Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Department, Yantao Wang geology, geophysics, seismology and rail from Yantai University in Shandong, China, is conducting research on mechanical systems. He knows Cal Poly from his work manufacturing and automation in conjunction with Professor Jianbiao (John) Pan. with Associate Professor Robb Moss, a geotechnical engineering expert. “Dr. Maleev and I work on seismic hazard Certainly, there’s been major advancements in studies for large infrastructure in Russia’s railway technology since 1940 — high-speed rail, in Far East Federal District,” said Moss. particular. In fact, a 2009 federal allocation of $8 billion Maleev’s railway engineering course covers railway for high-speed rail projects has prompted plans for tracks, track foundation design, and planning and design expansion of high-speed services to major rail corridors, considerations for different rail systems. “Students in including California. the U.S. can’t get railway engineering education,” said “I would hope that my introduction will encourage Maleev. “In fact, I looked up all the English language Cal Poly students to pursue the field and serve at the railway engineering textbooks, and there’s been none forefront of the railroad renaissance,” said Maleev. n published since 1940.”


op-ranked in the annual U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges guidebook, Cal Poly’s College of Engineering provides a slew of engineering talent to fuel the future. Cal Poly Engineering was named the seventh best master’s and bachelor’s engineering program in the country, behind three private universities — Harvey Mudd College in California, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., and the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Mass. — as well as the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy. “Our ranking makes Cal Poly the nation’s top statefunded engineering college; it’s a wonderful acknowledgment of our stellar degree programs,” said Dean Debra Larson. “I might also note that we’re large — 12th in the nation for awarding engineering bachelor’s degrees,” Larson continued. “In 2012-13, Cal Poly recorded 1,070 engineering baccalaureate degrees, while the three top privates together graduated 512, and the top three military academies produced 949 graduates, in total. Clearly, Cal Poly on its own is turning out an engineering corps that makes a tremendous contribution in building the economy and fueling industry.” Among engineering programs, Cal Poly’s Industrial/ Manufacturing Engineering was ranked the best in the nation. Students in these majors turn ideas into reality for such employers as Cisco Systems, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, 3M and Sony. Other prominent Cal Poly engineering programs included Electrical and Mechanical Engineering programs, which ranked No. 2 on their respective lists. Civil Engineering was third. Aerospace Engineering — with its patented CubeSat program that is helping create a new generation of cost-effective interplanetary space probes — and computer engineering programs ranked fourth in the nation. As a whole, Cal Poly again has been rated the best publicmaster’s university in the West by U.S. News — the 22nd consecutive year the university has earned the badge of honor. n


College News Author Dale Brown, right, and wife Diane presented an autographed copy of his 2012 book “A Time for Patriots” to Dean Debra Larson. Cal Poly Engineering plays a role in the plot of Brown’s new novel “Starfire.”

Cal Poly No Stranger to Fiction

Suspense writers Dale Brown, James Patterson use Cal Poly Engineering in plots


al Poly students and engineers using superior smarts and technical expertise to foil terrorist plots and prevent the militarization of space? These scenarios are not beyond the imaginations of two leading suspense writers, Dale Brown and James Patterson. Brown’s recent military thriller, “Starfire” (William Morrow, publisher, 2014), features a fictitious Cal Poly Engineering student, who is caught at the center of a battle that threatens to become

all-out global war for control of space. Meanwhile, in Patterson’s “Private L.A.” (Grand Central Publishing, 2014), cyber sleuths known as “the ladies of Cal Poly” confound a fiendish plan to extort and rob $160 million from the State of California. “We’re delighted that our engineering students and faculty have become so renowned that even the experts at Private — and the future fictional world of Starfire — would turn to us for help!” said Dean Debra Larson. n

“We’re delighted that our engineering students and faculty have become so renowned that even the experts at Private — and the future fictional world of Starfire — would turn to us for help!”

Saying ‘Hi’ to the ‘Science Guy’ Bill Nye visits Cal Poly for LightSail test


est known as the host of the PBS kids show about science, Bill Nye visited campus in August as CEO of The Planetary Society (TPS) for a test of TPS’ LightSail, a kitelike spacecraft built with three CubeSats and designed to sail by solar power. The test, which was performed successfully in late September (see story, Page 1), was to include deployment of 344 square feet of Mylar sails designed to unfurl in space. The test was delayed due to problems with the system’s communications. Despite the delay, Nye kept busy snapping selfies with students like Zach Frangos (mechanical engineering) and posing with Dean Debra Larson. n

Cal Poly to Drive Electric Car Use on Campus with Fleet of 12 Charging Stations


pave the way for electric car usage in the local al Poly will install 12 electric vehicle (EV) workforce.” charging stations by the first of next year, The charging stations may also help promote funded by a $150,000 grant from the California EV usage throughout the state. Cal Poly’s location Energy Commission (CEC). The initiative is part of on the Highway 101 corridor between Los Angeles a broad vision of sustainability for the campus, and San Francisco makes it easily accessible for improving what is already considered one of the county residents and travelers alike. best alternative transportation programs in the “Charging stations promote usage,” said Karen state. Webb, interim vice president of Administration & “I think this will significantly increase the Finance. “Infrastructure like this becomes part of adoption of electric vehicles on campus and a larger network. It reassures those who drive an beyond,” said Dale Dolan, an electrical engineerelectric car — or may be considering buying one ing professor who is project manager for the — that there are an increasing number of easily initiative. “Many people have been waiting to accessible places to recharge their battery. It’s a purchase an EV until the charging infrastructure value statement from the university.” is in place.” The charging stations will be located at two Cal Poly’s being a major regional hub, large Dennis Elliott, Cal Poly assistant director of energy, Professor Dale Dolan, and Cindy sites: the Grand Avenue parking structure next to employer and near two heavily traveled highways Campbell, associate director of the University Police Department, check out the was the perfect trifecta, said Dennis Elliot, assislocation for one of 12 electric vehicle charging stations that will be built on campus. the Performing Arts Center and in a parking area near Kennedy Library that hosts Zip Car parking tant director of energy, utilities and sustainability whether it’s to attend the Performing Arts Center, sports and interfaces with the public bus system. Elliott said for facility services. “We hit all three of the CEC’s goals, events or classes,” said Dolan. “And as one of the area’s both locations were chosen because of easy access to the which made our submission unique.” largest employers, Cal Poly is using the initiative to help Highway 1 and 101 corridors. n “As a university, we are a major destination —


College News


EXPO More than 200 senior projects on display around Engineering Plaza

Above: Mechanical Engineering Professor Glen Thorncroft erects a welcome sign for Project Expo in the Engineering Plaza.

SAVE THE DATE: The 2015 Project Expo will be held on Friday, May 29.

Cal Poly Participates in Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering


al Poly has joined 11 other universities to promote teaching practices that will help undergraduate engineering students reflect on their experiences. The dozen institutions make up the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education, which was awarded a $4.4 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The consortium is led by the University of Washington’s Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching. “We’re excited to be a part of this consortium that brings together experts from a wide array of backgrounds and focuses their attention on the use of reflection in higher learning,” said Trevor Harding, materials engineering professor and principal investigator leading Cal Poly’s role in the consortium.

“At Cal Poly, we intend to use this opportunity not only to promote reflection among engineering students, but also to get faculty thinking and reflecting on their own teaching practices and how they can structure their courses to generate a more transformative learning experience for undergraduates,” he said. The nationwide consortium involves nearly 250 educators who will collect data on 18,000 student experiences. Cal Poly will receive $200,000 over the next two academic years to develop campus programs that will be shared with engineering programs throughout the country. n Materials engineering student Kyle Savage works on carbon fiber for the Cal Poly Urban Concept Supermileage Car.


College News

EPIC Engineering Possibilities in College summer camp has record attendance

Materials engineering students and 2012 EPIC alums Erika Hansen and Mollie Benson now assist with the camp.


his summer, 440 teens converged on the Cal Poly campus to build and launch rockets, design and race solar cars, program robots, delve into cybersecurity and much, much more. It was all part of EPIC (Engineering Possibilities in College), an annual College of Engineering summer program that immerses campers from seventh to twelfth grade in a wide array of labs and activities that include software design, spaceships and cities of the future. Now in its seventh year, the event targets underrepresented students, as well as those who may

Cal Poly Students Install Solar Panels on Campus Building 8


not have considered a career in engineering. In fact, 34 percent of the 2014 EPIC campers were underrepresented minorities, including Hispanic, black and Native American — and the average female enrollment since 2009 has been 36 percent. Significantly, almost one fourth of the campers come from “first generation” families in which no family members have received a college degree. Gifts to EPIC from individual donors, along with support from the President’s Office, provided $166,850 in scholar-

multidisciplinary group of engineering and agriculture students designed and installed a grid-tie solar-electric system on the Cal Poly BioResource & Agricultural Engineering (BRAE) Building as part of a new BRAE course, Solar Photovoltaic System Engineering. Using solar panels provided by SunPower and additional donated solar installation components and supplies from SnapNRack, Sunrun (formerly REC Solar Residential) and Quaglino Roofing, the students — supervised by faculty, industry and campus facilities profes-

Cal Poly aerospace engineering graduate Josef Sanchez explains the JPL Mars Rover at EPIC.

ship funds to defray the camp tuition and residential housing costs for low-income participants. Highlights of this year’s camp included a lab hosted by JPL that featured the Mars Rover, a cybersecurity lab sponsored by Cisco, and a hands-on manufacturing lab presented by Melfred Borzall. Said Debra Larson, dean of Cal Poly Engineering: “Studies show that students are more likely to consider a career in engineering after learning about the breadth of what engineers actually do. And that’s where EPIC excels.” n

sionals — completed the entire project in 10 weeks. Prior to the campus installation, the 41 students completed two other solar installations on low-income houses in collaboration with the Central Coast regional office of GRID Alternatives, a national nonprofit solar company. The students, who had less than three months to complete the project, worked on all aspects of a typical residential solar instal-

lation, including site planning, electrical and mechanical design, regulatory approval and permit processes, government and utility incentives, and financial return-on-investment analysis, said Professor Art MacCarley, interim BRAE department head. “As a service-learning course, the primary objective was the successful completion of an actual project that will become a permanent part of the campus infrastructure,” he said. n

Student News EWB Students Learn by Doing — and Going Cal Poly group will focus on food in Malawi project


fter establishing ongoing projects in India, Thailand and Nicaragua, Cal Poly Engineers Without Borders (EWB) expanded its global reach with a new project team in Malawi. The group established a partnership with Action for Environmental Sustainability, a nongovernmental organization that led the Cal Poly team to the small community of Kumponda. To thoroughly understand the complexities of the community, three EWB student representatives, along with a Cal Poly faculty member and a professional engineer, spent three weeks in the community interviewing more than 50 families about their lives and struggles. One resounding sentiment clarified EWB Malawi’s purpose: “There just isn’t enough food.” When maize reserves run out, hunger is widespread. Relying largely on subsistence farming, the local economy provides almost no money to purchase food. Additionally, in order to make Malawi’s food staple, nsima, Kumpondans must spend what little money they have to grind dried maize into cornmeal at a central electric mill, which is expensive and a long journey for many. To address this problem, EWB Malawi has begun prototyping a bicycle-powered mechanical mill. The team hopes this project will help reduce economic strain on households and provide economic opportunities for operators of the new maize mills. To holistically address hunger, EWB members also hope to introduce the community to more efficient agricultural practices, such as composting, permaculture and irrigation. This winter, students will return to Kumponda to test prototypes, gain a better understanding of constraints and continue to strengthen relationships. Through Learn by Doing (and going), students are gaining a global perspective while harnessing the full capacity of their education to affect change. For more information, please visit, or email n

Cal Poly environmental engineering students Alice Zanmiller, left, and Kristen Stroud walk with a group of children in the village of Kumponda, Malawi. Zanmiller and Stroud were working with Engineers Without Borders to improve food production in the village.

Faculty Volunteer Reports on Cal Poly EWB from Managua, Nicaragua by Neal MacDougall Associate Professor, Agribusiness Department

Cal Poly instructors often chalk up student success to good teaching. The true measure of teaching and learning, however, is what happens outside the control of the teacher. As an agribusiness instructor, I was invited to accompany four Cal Poly Engineers Without Borders students to Managua, Nicaragua, Neal MacDougall to facilitate the construction of a threeroom school in a poor barrio outside the city. This was my first true experience as a peer in a project that was conceived and managed by students. The team focused on working with the community to clarify its social and financial commitment, working through the Ministry of Education bureaucracy to obtain permission to build the school, and func-

tioning as a team that focused on communication and consensus to achieve its goal. It is this last item that truly manifests the success of Learn by Doing in a sustainability context. Students were taking what they knew and applying it in a new and unfamiliar situation; they knew that failure was possible and that no instructor could fix that failure. We were a community supporting and Cal Poly engineering students Gordon Coats, Reese Wilson, Fiona Blackteaching each other with burn and Kellie Cochran worked with Doña Margarita, center, in Managua, the idea of accomplishing Nicaragua, with Engineers Without Borders. a goal that would support the broader community. in a resource-scarce environment. In other My role on the team was to contribute words, we all learned a lot from each other. — I was never asked to make a final deciThis was the most liberating learning sion or fix things. I could speak to aspects experience I have ever had as a Cal Poly of international development, but I learned instructor. I was a co-learner along with the from the students how construction works students … and I loved it. n


Student News

Engineers in the Lineup CENG students contribute to historic baseball season


f the four Cal Poly engineering students on the Mustangs baseball team are as successful in the classroom as they were on the diamond in 2014, expect academic home runs. Taylor Chris (mechanical engineering), Jake Lesinski (biomedical engineering), Tommy Pluschkell (general engineering) and Tim Wise (electrical engineering) were members of an historic Cal Poly team that went 47-12, won the Big West Conference championship and hosted an NCAA regional championship tournament for the first time. During a season that saw the Mustangs draw crowds in excess of 2,000 fans to Baggett Stadium 15 times, all four engineering students agreed balancing baseball and schoolwork required plenty of quiet time hitting the books. “You have to concentrate on putting the time in when you can and expect a few late nights where you’re staying up all night just to catch up,” said Chris, a junior relief pitcher from Gilroy, Calif., who finished with a 4-1 record, five saves and a 1.61 earned run average. Lesinski, a freshman catcher from Huntington Beach, Calif., said he made

Four College of Engineering students contributed to Cal Poly’s historic baseball season. From left: Tim Wise (electrical engineering), Taylor Chris (mechanical engineering), Tommy Pluschkell (general engineering) and Jake Lesinski (biomedical engineering).

through his biomedical engineering class lineup by “communicating with my professors like crazy and constantly working out times to complete work and turn in projects.” For Pluschkell and Wise, the demands of the sport and studies — especially during spring quarter — requires pitching a shutout with some aspects of student life.

“There’s really no time for anything else between baseball and class, so it’s simple — no social life,” said Wise, a senior outfielder from Camarillo, Calif., who hit .289 with 20 runs batted in. Pluschkell, a junior infielder from Pleasonton, Calif., added: “When we come here as freshmen, coach (Larry) Lee tells us there are three facets of life — there’s

sports, there’s school and there’s your social life. And in order to be successful, you’re going to have to give up one of the three. That means the social life.” After the successful season, all four agreed the sacrifices were worth it. “We love baseball and we love engineering, too,” Chris said. “So we just have to find a way to make it work.” n

Cal Poly’s Human Powered Vehicle Team Recognized for its Design and Innovation


he Cal Poly Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) team’s innovative tricycle design won third place at the ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge West. “It was Cal Poly’s first rigid three-wheeled trike in decades — and one of the lightest vehicles we’ve ever produced,” said Will Hilgenberg, team lead. The design was prompted by changes in the rules that required vehicles to stop on the race course, as well as navigate obstacles at very low speeds. “Our strategy was to drop the weight as much as possible through the careful use of new materials and methods,” said Hilgenberg. “This was the lightest and most beautiful three-wheeler I’ve seen in 34 years of ASME competition,” said George Leone, technical advisor for Cal Poly HPV. “In the innovation event, the judges were also impressed by the bladder


Cal Poly’s HPV rolls on the track at the ASME Challege West.

compression molding used to make the frame. It was an unprecedented approach that helped the team secure fourth place.” In one of the final events of the competition, however, a pothole derailed the team’s hopes for a stronger finish,

culminating in a sixth-place finish overall. “While not the result we were looking for,” said Hilgenberg, “I would have to say that the team is especially proud of the quality of this vehicle. We had one of the few entirely student-built vehicles at the competition and we remain one of the top teams in terms of build quality.” Hilgenberg, an aerospace engineering senior, led a team made up of mechanical engineering majors, including Peter Aumann, design lead; Matthew Allen, frame geometry and structures design; Trent Hellmann, frame manufacturing and construction design; and fourthyear students Bryan Cook and Judy Lantaca; third-year students Zachary Yasuda, Marley Miller, Alex Powers and Shannon O’Keefe; and first-year students Brandon Killian, Tyler Cottle, Rama Adajian, Caleb Rounsavall and Mike McNutt. n

Computer Science Student Honored The Cal Poly Institute of Transportation Engineers student chapter was honored for organizing and hosting the ITE Western District Student Leadership Summit. Pictured left to right: Karen Aspelin, western district president; Kaylinn Roseman, Cal Poly ITE president; Monica Suter, western district director; and Jenny Grote, western district director.

Cal Poly Transportation Engineers Win the 2014 International Student Chapter of Year Award


al Poly ITE, a student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, has been named the institute’s international chapter of the year. The student group was honored at the ITE annual conference, held in August in Seattle, for organizing and hosting the ITE Western District Student Leadership Summit — ITE’s first-ever conference designed by and for students. “The Student Leadership Summit was a crowning achievement — it’s what took us over the top,” said Kaylinn Roseman, chapter president and the summit’s lead organizer. The Western District Student Leadership Summit, held at Cal Poly in February, drew attendees from 13 states. Keynote speaker for the event was Cal Poly alumnus Randell “Randy” Iwasaki (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1982), former director of Caltrans. Speakers and panelists reflected a cross-section of transportation and traffic engineering expertise. “I would like to see the conference become an annual event,” said Roseman, who graduated in June with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and plans to pursue a career in transportation. “The summit’s workshops, talks and networking opportunities will strengthen and inspire a future generation of transportation engineers.” The Institute of Transportation Engineers is an international association of nearly 17,000 transportation professionals and more than 140 student chapters. For more information on the Cal Poly ITE Student Chapter, see: n

Student News

Michelle Lam receives the 2014 CSU Trustees’ Award Scholarship Michelle Lam, a junior in computer science, was awarded the 2014 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.


math teacher who pushed us hard.” al Poly computer science junior Michelle Lam received In high school, Lam was introduced to the MESA (Maththe 2014 California State University (CSU) Trustees’ ematics Engineering Science Achievement) program, which Award for Outstanding Achievement, one of the system’s catapulted her into a variety of competitions and exposed highest student distinctions, at the CSU Board of Trustees her to various universities and engineering possibilities. meeting in Long Beach, Calif., in early September. As Lam entered her senior year in high school, her As a recipient of the CSU Trustees Award, Lam received family’s move to the suburbs proved to be pivotal for her $6,000 for the 2014-15 academic year. “It will mean everyfuture. “I was transported from the inner city to an affluent thing,” she said. high school. Suddenly there were plentiful counselors, pasThe CSU Trustees Award scholarship will allow Lam to sionate teachers. I gained confidence.” give her full attention to completing her “They’ve been She found herself aiming for UC Davis education and achieving a personal goal: or other UC schools. Then came a call She says that she plans to be the family’s my role models. from members of Cal Poly WISH (Women first first-generation college graduate, Not long ago, only Involved in Software and Hardware), though she has two older brothers who who invited her to visit the campus. From are computer science students at Sacranine percent of Cal Poly mento State and San Jose State, respeccomputer science majors her first meeting with them, she felt surrounded by friends and mentors. tively. were women; now it’s “Some of them, like me, had not Lam grew up in the inner city of Sacraknown how to code or program prior to mento, Calif., one of five children and the 20 percent. We’re college — but they learned. They’ve been only daughter of Chinese immigrants. making gains.” my role models. Not long ago, only nine “My parents, though supportive, were percent of Cal Poly computer science always working: my father as a bus driver Michelle Lam majors were women; now it’s 20 percent. and my mother as a seamstress,” said on the members of Cal Poly WISH We’re making gains.” Lam. When her youngest brother, now 12, (Women in Software Lam’s student experience was further was diagnosed with autism, her mother and Hardware) enhanced by her active involvement with left work to care for him. More recently, Cal Poly’s Multicultural Engineering Program. her father has been diagnosed with diabetes. She is excited about the opportunities in the computer “My mother speaks only Chinese,” said Lam. “My father science field and plans to pursue a career in software enlearned to speak both Spanish and English while working gineering, probably in the cybersecurity field. In addition, first in Venezuela, then New York City.” Looking back, she sees his early influence on her current interests. “My father she wants to be part of outreach efforts in low-income areas. has a thing about technology. He always encouraged me in “CSU trustees’ scholars have defied the odds, risthat area, saying, ‘You can totally do this.’” ing above circumstance to become leaders among their Factors that helped shape Lam’s academic path inclassmates and exemplifying the CSU mission of access to cluded being admitted into the GATE (Gifted and Talented a quality higher education,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. Education) program, which made her eligible for advanced classes during her elementary and high school years. “I had White. “Through talent, determination and drive, they now grasp the promise of a brighter future — for self, family no expectations for myself. GATE helped provide guidance and community.” n and motivation. In the sixth grade, in particular, we had a


Student News

Engineers Half of the Mustang Marching Band are engineering students

MARCH ON MUSTANGS: General engineering student Mattea Cavagnaro (front) adds high notes on her flute while the band walks down Mustang Way before a football game. At far left, mechanical engineering student Christian Young plays the tuba.

on the March


ith a roster of 222 students, this year’s Mustang Marching Band is the largest in university history —and half of those band members, 111, are engineering students. Cal Poly is not alone in recruiting scores of engineers to band. UCLA, Purdue, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ohio State and others report that 40 to 70 percent of marching band members are engineers. What is it about engineers that make so many of them “attuned” to music? Although theories about the relationship between music and engineering are based on anecdotal observation, it’s clear that both require the ability to solve problems using creative (right brain) and analytic (left brain) thinking. It’s no secret, however, that band provides community, requires rigorous physical and mental exercise — and it’s just plain fun. As Dean Debra Larson noted, “Marching band is a high-impact practice for student success.” n BIG BRASS BAND: College of Engineering students make up a large portion of the trumpet section. Engineer-trumpeters include, clockwise from top left: Enoch Tsui, Chris Opperwall, Kurt Ebert, Daniel Yao, Sean Gonzales, Bruce Mitchener, Justin Postigo, David Xenakis, Alex Peele, Andreas Apitz, Andrew Pimentel, Timothy Lee and Gavin Scott.


HORNS OF PLENTY: Thirteen College of Engineering students play tuba in the Mustang Marching Band. They are, left to right: Christian Young, Mark Williams, Aaron Jacobs, Cary Dobeck, Michael Schuster, Clincy Cheung, Lawrence Downs, Zachary Phillips, Kevin Carstens, Alison Wendt, Juan Arambula, Stephen Marshall and Sandy Babich.

TONED UP: Computer science student Jacob Garcia adds depth to the sound with his baritone horn.

Student News

Members of the Cal Poly Concrete Canoe team include engineering students Sean Pringle, Derek Carpenter, Mark Mueller, Raymond Qi, Kristen Nugent, Chris Kehoe and Ryan Morse.

Cal Poly’s Concrete Canoe Team Takes Second Place in the Nation

Hovering to Victory Engineering students win unmanned aerial vehicle competition


iving up to its name, Cal Poly’s SkyBarge slowly, deliberately and accurately hovered to a first-place finish at the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) competition held during the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) annual regional conference at Cal Poly in April. SkyBarge was one of 15 entries in the competition that featured student teams from universities across the western U.S. The contest challenged students to design, build and fly a radio-controlled air vehicle capable of maneuvering through obstacles on a small course and dropping a payload on a target within five minutes allotted time, simulating a hypothetical UAV firefighting mission. Points were awarded for vehicle weight and performance in negotiating obstacles and dropping the payload. “SkyBarge was the largest vehicle in the contest,” remarked Russell Westphal, faculty advisor to the team. “The sound made by its rotors caused a stir among the assembled crowd of about a hundred spectators as the UAV slowly negotiated the course, made the payload drop and returned to the start.” Other university entries included several blimps and smaller multi-rotor UAVs — according to Westphal, some of the navigation attempts featured “a number

Top: Cal Poly mechanical engineering students (left to right) Gordon Belyea, Garret Gudgel, Ethan Juhnke and Eric Dreischerf fly their unmanned aerial vehicle SkyBarge near the clock tower on campus. SkyBarge finished in first place among 15 entries at the annual American Society of Mechanical Engineers regional conference in April.

of spectacular crashes.” The Cal Poly team included mechanical engineering students Gordon Belyea (project team lead), Garrett Gudgel (pilot), Ethan Juhnke, Brandon-Roy Sadiarin, Eric Dreischerf and Seyhun Oh; aerospace engineering students Hank Mandsager and Armand Lim; and agricultural engineering student Shane Thulin. In addition to claiming the victory and cash prize, the Cal Poly team has been invited to compete at the ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition, Nov. 14-20 in Montreal. n


captains; and Kristen Nugent, Chris Keteam of Cal Poly civil engineering hoe and Ryan Morse, mix design captains. students took second place at the Paddlers included Carpenter, Nugent, National Concrete Canoe Competition at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Morse and Susie White. Art and design major Emily Hinkamp in Johnstown, Penn., designed the canoe in June. This makes graphics. All team the ninth consecutive members are seniors year that Cal Poly has except Qi, who is a placed in the top five junior. Faculty advisor at the event referred for the team is Garto as the “America’s rett Hall, a professor Cup of Civil Engineerin the Civil & Environing.” mental Engineering Sponsored by the 2014 Final Overall Rankings Department. American Society of 1. University of Nevada, Reno This was Cal Civil Engineers, the 2. Cal Poly Poly’s 15th trip to the event drew engineer3. Université Laval national competiing students from 4. Utah State University tion, including three schools across the 5. University of Wisconsin - Madison back-to-back national country and as far titles in 2010, 2011 and away as Shanghai. 2012. More than 200 teams The National competed in 18 reConcrete Canoe Competition is designed gional competitions to become one of 23 as an opportunity for civil engineering teams competing in the national event. students to gain hands-on, practical expeThe teams’ overall rankings in the rience in project management and work national competition were based on their with concrete mix designs. The event also scores in four categories: design paper, builds public and industry awareness of oral presentation, final product and race the versatility and durability of concrete performance. The University of Nevada, as a construction material. Reno, won best overall. “It’s very competitive, but they’re Cal Poly claimed first place in oral preall in it together,” said Randy Over, sentation, second place in final product, president of the American Society of Civil sixth in design paper, and fourth and fifth Engineers. “They learn teamwork. They place in the men’s and women’s endurlearn presentation skills. They learn all ance races, respectively. the things that go along with being a real Team members include Sean Pringle, engineer while having fun at the same project manager; Derek Carpenter, Mark time.”n Mueller and Raymond Qi, construction


Student News Cal Poly Engineering Names Outstanding Graduates for 2014 Senior Tanner Stevenson was recognized by the College of Engineering for Academic Excellence for earning a 3.994 GPA in biomedical engineering. At right, he received the award from Dean Debra Larson.


Contributions to the University was electrical al Poly Engineering announced its 2014 engineering senior Shaun Villa Koide from Outstanding Graduates at the collegewide Project Expo in late May. The awardees Lihue, Hawaii. As president of the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club Koide served as “the included the top senior for academic excelspark plug that makes the amateur radio lence and graduating seniors recognized operation hit on all cylinders in a coordinated for service to the college, service to the uniway,” according to Department Chair Dennis versity, and service to the community. Also Derickson. Koide coordinated three radio announced were the Student Volunteers of licensing events, which serve as regional the Year. Federal Communication Commission-sancBiomedical engineering senior Tanner tioned testing events for Monterey, San Luis Stevenson from Granite Bay, Calif., was Obispo and Santa recognized as Barbara counties. the College of Computer enEngineering’s gineering senior topmost graduatCecilia Cadenas ing senior for from Rio Vista, academic excelCalif., was named lence. Stevenson the Outstanding earned a 3.994 Graduating Senior GPA. He has for Service to the made the Dean’s Jenna Becker Shaun Villa Koide Community for List every quarter Cecilia Cadenas Computer Mechanical Electrical her service and from 2009 Engineering Engineering Engineering outreach efforts through 2013, on behalf of the Society of Hispanic Profesand he is a member of the National Society sional Engineers. of Collegiate Scholars. For his senior design Announced as College of Engineering project, Stevenson worked on a threeStudent Volunteers of the Year were Michael person multidisciplinary team to develop a Haworth from Riverside, Calif., and Christy device to detect traumatic brain injuries. Carter from Fort Jones, Calif. HaworthMechanical engineering senior Jenna graduated in June with a bachelor’s degree Becker from Goleta, Calif., was named Outstanding Graduating Senior for Contributions in mechanical engineering and a master’s in integrated technology management. to the College of Engineering. She helped Carter (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 2013) is promote Cal Poly by participating in the working on master’s degrees in engineering NASA Reduced Gravity Flight Education Program. Becker worked with a multidisciplinary management and business administration. During the past year, Haworth and Cartteam to design, build and test a gyroscopic er, both active as Engineering Ambassadors, stabilization system, which resulted in an conceived and initiated a project to turn the invitation from NASA to visit the Johnson lobby of the Engineering IV Building into an Space Center, where they tested their experiment aboard the reduced-gravity aircraft Engineering Welcome Center. The redesigned space will help showcase the College known as the Weightless Wonder. of Engineering to prospective students. n The Outstanding Graduating Senior for


Cal Poly Scholars Program: More Support to More Students in More Colleges


nitiated in 2012 with 14 incoming freshmen in the College of Engineering, the Cal Poly Scholars Program (CP Scholars) has now grown to 154 students, including 21 freshmen in the Orfalea College of Business. Along with this growth has come universitywide collaboration, including support from Student Academic Services, the Mustang Success Center, University Housing, Admissions & Recruitment and Financial Aid. Aimed at recruiting and retaining high achieving students from low- and middleincome families, the scholarship program provides an iPad and renewable $3,000 housing grant, along with workshops and events to support academic achievement as well as career and leadership readiness. An important goal of the program is to build community and a sense of belonging. “All our freshmen scholars live together on campus — we provide advising and workshops for them right in the residence hall,” said Virginia McMunn in Student Academic Services. “Our goal is to create a powerful living-learning environment.” Jackie Duerr, an advisor in the Multicultural Engineering Program, has worked

Cal Poly freshmen students Franzesca Pernez and Isabela Galvez received new iPads as part of their Cal Poly Scholars Program grant.

with the CP Scholars since the program’s inception. “While the program is still growing, the increased partnerships across campus have been pivotal in retaining these students,” she said. “Working with them is very rewarding as a staff member because we get to know them so well as individuals.” Ultimately, Cal Poly will grow the CP Scholars Program universitywide. If you would like to know more about the program and how to support it, contact Richard LeRoy at or 805-756-7108. n

Cal Poly wins ASHRAE Engineering Challenge


pair of Cal Poly mechanical engineering seniors, Juan Silva and Nelson Echeverry, took first place in ASHRAE’s 2014 Applied Engineering Challenge. Their winning design combined sustainability, affordability and maintainability to improve the indoor air quality for a lowincome family residence in Mexico City. The award includes a $2,000 cash prize. Another top-performing Cal Poly team placed third in the system selection category in which students demonstrate what it takes to make a building more comfortable and energy efficient. Team members included mechanical engineering seniors Joseph Annan, Matthew Boncich, Christopher Carlson and Taylor Stone, as well as Kurt Rapp, a business graduate student. “This was the first time a senior design team from our heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration concentration participated in the Applied Engineering Challenge,” said Steffen Peuker, mechanical engineering professor and faculty advisor. “Their win demonstrates

how outstanding and competitive our students are.” The challenge is particularly difficult, he said, because it’s posed as an open-ended question, which pushes students’ design and engineering skills to the limit. “For starters, Juan and Nelson had to choose a location within a developing country that had an urgent need to improve indoor air quality,” explained Peuker. “I thought their choice of Mexico City was excellent because indoor air pollution caused by wood or coal burning for cooking and heating is a major health problem there.” Starting in the kitchen, the students designed a wood stove with a chimney attached to vent out smoke. The stove provides heat and reduces pollution caused by an inefficient cook stove. In the living room, they modified a window fan to capture harmful contaminants while allowing fresh air to enter the house. For more information, go to n

Pooling Their Resources

Project-Based Learning

Tri Team Joseph succeeds with the help of Cal Poly Engineering students


Senior Project Brings Solar Power to Elementary School Designing and installing solar panels on the roof of the SciTechatorium at Bellevue-Santa Fe Charter School in Avila Beach was the senior project for four College of Engineering students.

With the help of the hydrodynamic watercraft Aquabullet designed and built by Cal Poly Engineering students, Joseph Cornelius competes in the San Luis Obispo Triathlon.

Lilly Hoff, and kinesiology senior Andrea Voigt created a hydrodynamic watercraft called the Aquabullet, a 6-by-4 foot flotation device that allows Cornelius to lie on his stomach and see through a clear shield that protects his face while his father and members of Team Joseph pull him through the water. The project is one of eight student team projects produced every year at Cal Poly that promote physical activity for people with disabilities. Kinesiology Professor Kevin Taylor, director of the adaptive technology program, said, “Our research indicates that projects like this help make our engineering students more attentive to their clients’ needs and broadens their perspective on engineering for inclusion of people with disabilities.” n

Engineering Students Stand and Deliver with Rehab Device


At top, industrial and manufacturing engineering student Timothy Iafrate bolts down one of the 16 solar panels that will power the SciTechatorium, a hands-on lab and museum at the elementary school. The project was sponsored by the CP Connect fund and REC Solar.

The installers included, left to right, mechanical engineering senior Moises Quiroz and industrial and manufacturing engineering seniors Henrik Lee and Timothy Iafrate, along with Professor John Pan, faculty adviser on the project.

hile the public and sports fans are becoming used to seeing athletes with disabilities, few are aware of the collaborative support — and the adaptive engineering technology — that enables special needs athletes to participate in competitive events. Twenty-year-old Joseph Cornelius is a seasoned Special Olympian, having competed in six marathons, six halfmarathons and approximately 50 5K and 10K races. Because he lives with spastic quadriplegia, he is confined to a wheelchair and cannot swallow or talk. Members of his running team — including his father, John Cornelius; Michael Lara, sports manager for San Luis Obispo County Special Olympics; and William Walthers, special education teacher at San Luis Obispo High School — push his chair in race events. Cornelius and Team Joseph, however, have never competed in a triathlon, the sprint distance of which includes a half-mile swim, 15.3 mile bike race and a 5K (three-mile) run. Thanks to three Cal Poly students, Cornelius participated in the SLO Triathlon in late July. Mechanical engineering students Paul Sands and

or mechanical engineering graduate student Jared Tower, the highlight of work on a project to develop a rehabilitation apparatus for children in developing countries was showing it to nuns at a clinic in San Marcos, Guatemala. “The experience made me believe that there is a good chance they will use the model as well as devices that Students Jared Tower and Nicole Cooper built a strider for children in Guatemala. are made locally to actually help people,” he said. duced in clinics abroad and for children to use at home. Tower was part of a Cal Poly mechanical engineering The team chose to create a device made from team that included seniors Nicole Cooper and Gonzalo bamboo and held together with composite joints, but Hernandez. Led by Professor Jim Widmann, the group they found that the materials in Guatemala differed developed a prototype they called STAND on campus from what they expected. “We had to make do with the before traveling to Guatemala last April to build the moresources and workspaces available,” explained Coobility device using local materials. per. “We ended up having to put a lot more time into Called a strider, the device aids rehabilitation for indiplanning and figuring how different materials reacted to viduals who have trouble walking and supporting their full various weather conditions.” body weight. Made possible by funding from a National “The experience in Guatemala required us to adapt to Science Foundation research grant to aid people with disour environment,” added Tower. n abilities, the project goal was to use low-cost appropriate technologies to create a strider that could be easily repro-


Department News

Entrepreneurship From Page 1

potential investors. Events like like Demo Day and SPECTACLE showcase students’ work and create networking opportunities. This winter, a learning lab and hatchery is expected to open in the Cotchett Education Building, creating a go-to place for postlaunch student entrepreneurs to further develop their businesses. “I can’t imagine another institution moving faster than this,” said Jonathan York, co-founder of the center and an associate professor in the Orfalea College of Business. York attributes the rapid adoption of entrepreneurialism as a natural progression of the school’s polytechnic bandwidth. “At Cal Poly, we believe that collaboration across disciplines and between students and faculty cultivate innovation and entrepreneurship,” York noted. “Add to that the expanded access through CIE to top-flight mentors, business resources and fresh ways for students to think about what they’re doing — and where they could take it. All in all, it makes the campus an ideal launch pad for startups.” Not that startups are for everyone, he

Above, mechanical engineering graduate Marty Affentragner details the history of pickup truck lift gates while making a pitch for Superior Solutions’ LiftGator at the SLO HotHouse Accelerator Demo Day. At right, Affentragner, center, and his Superior Solutions teammates demonstrate the LiftGator at Demo Day. Affentragner and Justin Russo had the winning pitch at the Central Coast TechPitch competition.

A Startup Winner

Superior Solutions earns top prize at Central Coast TechPitch


echPitch may conjure images of high tech apps and software, but a pair of Cal Poly mechanical engineering alumni won this year’s regional competition with a pickup truck device. Superior Solutions Manufacturing, a startup launched by mechanical engineering graduates Justin Russo and Marty Affentragner, took home the $5,000 Grand Prize Award and the Audience Choice Award for the LiftGator, a removable lift gate that attaches to any pickup truck and is capable of lifting up to 1,000 pounds. The TechPitch event was a joint effort of the Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE), the Cal Poly Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Softec and the Economic Vitality Corp. “Superior Solutions Manufacturing came across as the startup with the most credibil-


ity,” said Judy Mahan, director of SBDC for Innovation and the CIE Incubator programs. “Justin and Marty built a solution to address a real problem they had faced in their lives working on ranch land.” “We hope to continue to attract entrepreneurs whose focus involves new technology or new uses of existing technology,” Mahan explained. “As long as your technology is based on intellectual property or a new application with a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace, then we think you’re onto something.” TechPitch seeks to reward local tech startups by allowing them to gain exposure in their community and meet with potential investors. Russo and Affentragner will pitch LiftGator in Santa Barbara in November to Tech Coast Angels, the largest angel investment group in the U.S. n

adds. “Large numbers of graduates will continue to enjoy exciting careers in existing companies, large and small. But helping students find the ‘entrepreneur within’ will help them be leaders within those companies.” All these new entrepreneurs will soon join the ranks of other Cal Poly students and alumni who have contributed successful products to the marketplace and innovations that make the world a better place. Think of the ubiquitous Clif Bar developed by Gary Erickson (B.S., Business Administration, 1980); Tricia Compas-Markman’s (B.S./M.S., Civil Engineering, 2009) water treatment system for disaster relief zones; and iFixit, founded by Kyle Wiens (B.S., Computer Science, 2005) and Luke Soules (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 2006), the revolutionary company that publishes free electronics repair guides. And who can forget Burt Rutan (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1965), pioneer in aeronautical and aerospace design, who has catalyzed space entrepreneurialism? “Entrepreneurship is nothing new at Cal Poly,” said Debra Larson, dean of the College of Engineering. “It’s embedded in the school’s Learn by Doing DNA, and it’s now reinventing itself for a new generation of innovators.” n

Cal Poly’s Newest Startups Engineering students and graduates have figured prominently among recent Cal Poly startups. A sampling of these business ventures includes: • Papyrus, an Android app for notetaking, had its genesis in Andrew Hughes’ (B.S., Computer Engineering, 2011; M.S., Electrical Engineering, 2011) master’s thesis on pen technology for touchscreen devices. Quickly becoming a top-rated productivity tool in Google Play Store and Windows Phone Store, Papyrus became a full-time business almost immediately — propelling Hughes from someone who had never Team Tandemech Engineering demonstrates its thought of himself as an entrepreneur to an “overnight” wall-climbing robot at SLO HotHouse Demo Day. startup founder. He formed his own company, Steadfast Innovation, and invited Professor David Jansen, his Android application development instructor, to sign on as co-founder. The support from Cal Poly didn’t stop there. “Even after I graduated, Cal Poly helped me get a head start through the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship,” said Hughes. • Hydrex, a wearable device that monitors the user’s hydration status, is another thesis-turned-startup. The concept was developed by Zoe Engman, a biomedical engineering graduate student, who then teamed up with Danielle Nishida, an electrical engineering graduate student, to win second place and $10,000 at last year’s Innovation Quest (iQ) competition. “We had both enrolled in the engineering entrepreneurship class taught by Professor Robert Crockett,” said Engman. “Going through the process to develop the project into a product introduced us to the excitement of the entrepreneurial world. I now plan to follow up the validation of placing second at iQ by expanding our team and developing a market-ready device.” • Tandemech Engineering’s wall-climbing robots began as a senior project for maintenance of Boeing 747s. The company was founded after Kelvin Lei, Eric Mar and Cameron Venancio, all 2013 mechanical engineering graduates, won $5,000 at last year’s Innovation Quest. On top of that, they were one of only four iQ startups accepted in CIE’s SLO HotHouse Accelerator program, which provided $7,500 in funding, mentorship, workspace and business guidance for participating teams. Now based in San Francisco, the company is developing safe, efficient and portable vehicles that can be used for inspection of aging infrastructure, search and rescue, construction, aerospace, military and, yes, aircraft maintenance. • AutoBuds, an ingenious earbud concept, was developed by electrical engineering freshman Namjoon Joo. He won first place at the Elevator Pitch contest in the Idea Cloud and Freshman Prize categories. Notably, all 150 members of electrical engineering’s freshman class were required to submit an entry to the contest, and three were among the 10 finalists. Joo’s proposed product would stop streaming media when users remove their earbuds, then automatically resume play whenever the buds were donned again. n

Faculty Notes n Dean’s Office Debra Larson, dean, appeared in “Four Engineering Colleges and Their Women Deans,” an article posted on StemJobs ( Larson was appointed to serve on the national board of governors for the Order of the Engineer and was appointed vice chair of the executive board of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Engineering Dean’s Council. She serves as co-chair of the ASEE Engineering Dean’s Council committee on the undergraduate experience. In recognition of her accomplishments in education, Larson was selected for membership in Michigan Tech’s Presidential Council of Alumnae.

n Multidisciplinary

Kathy Chen (Materials Engineering), Jackie Duerr (Multicultural Engineering Program), Fred DePiero (associate dean), Helene Finger (Women’s Engineering Program), Andrew Kean (Mechanical Engineering), Jane Lehr (Women’s and Gender Studies), Maria Manzano (Multicultural Engineering Program) and Liz Schlemer (Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering) received $600,000 National Science Foundation grant for PEEPS (Program for Engineering Excellence for Partner Schools). The goal of PEEPS is to recruit, retain and graduate academically talented, low-income students. The PEEPS program includes financial support, programming, engineering success courses, advising, coaching, mentoring, and block scheduling of gateway engineering support courses with supplemental workshops. nnn John Chen (Mechanical Engineering), David Janzen (Computer Science), Karen MacGoughey (Statistics), Jennifer Pedrotti (Psychology & Child Development) and James Widmann (Mechanical Engineering) were awarded a three-year, $200,000 National Science Foundation grant for a project titled “Actively Building the Drive

Faculty News

CENG Welcomes New Faculty Robert Bertini

Jean Lee

Ph.D., UC Berkeley Research & Expertise: Sustainable transportation solutions, intelligent transportation systems, and big data for transportation improvement.

Ph.D., Cornell University Research & Expertise: Environmental sustainability, nanomaterials and materials characterization.

Bertini is working on developing a “roadmap” for the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles at the state level. He said, “I try to connect students with the profession through community-based projects using real data, interactions with professionals, and pursuing scholarships, internships and other opportunities.”

One of Lee’s research projects is the environmental characterization of microscale versus macroscale materials and synthesis processes. “From my experience in industry, I’ve learned that strong technical Jean Lee Materials Engineering expertise is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being an excellent engineer,” said Lee. “Consistent demonstration of qualities such as integrity, initiative and inclusiveness in addition to being facile in ancillary skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership are among the key characteristics that distinguish superb engineers.”

Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Professor, Materials Engineering

Robert Bertini Civil Engineering

Andrew Danowitz

Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering/ Computer Engineering Ph.D., Stanford University Research & Expertise: Very-large-scale integration (VLSI) design, computer architecture and embedded systems.

Danowitz is conducting research in energy efficient microarchitectures, system-on-chip integration, engineering education and mental health in engineering programs. With a goal Andrew Danowitz to attract more students of all backComputer Engineering grounds to computer and hardware engineering, Danowitz is embedding hands-on learning into his classes. “As their systems final project, I’m having students build an all-electronic game,” he said.

Aaron Drake

Ph.D., University of British Columbia, Vancouver Research & Expertise: Biomechanics, computational fabrication, computer animation and computer graphics.

Shinjiro Sueda

“I want to get students excited about visual computing,” noted Sueda. “I’m happy to be at Cal Poly because of its great students and many interdisciplinary opportunities.”

Computer Science

Assistant Professor, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering

Ph.D., Washington State University, Pullman Research & Expertise: Aircraft design, unmanned aircraft and experimental aerodynamics.

to Achieve through Everyday Engineering Learning.” nnn Bruce Golden (Dairy Science), Chris Lupo (Computer Eingineering/Computer Science), and graduate students Trevor DeVore and Scott Winkleblack published

Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Xuan Wang

Associate Professor, Aerospace Engineering

In addition to working on aircraft energy efficiency, Drake is undertaking research in applications of autonomous flight, one of the College of Engineering’s strategic initiatives. “I hope to strengthen this initiative in order to position Cal Poly graduates to be at the forefront of this rapidly growing segment of the aerospace industry,” he explained.

Shinjiro Sueda

Ph.D., UC San Diego Research & Expertise: 3D printing, semiconductor packaging and cloud-based manufacturing information systems.

Aaron Drake Aeronautical Engineering

With extensive industry experience, Wang hopes to help prepare students for success in their professional careers. “I really appreciate the Learn by Doing philosophy because that’s how engineering education should be,” he said.

“A Heterogeneous Compute Solution for Optimized Genomic Selection Analysis” in the Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine. nnn

Xuan Wang Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering

David Hey (Kinesiology), Brian Self (Mechanical Engineering), Lynne Slivovsky (Electrical Engineering), Kevin Taylor (Kinesiology), and James Widmann (Mechanical Engineering) published “Learning Design through the Lens of Service: A Qualitative Study” in the International


Faculty News Journal for Service Learning in Engineering (Vol. 9, no. 1, Spring 2014). nnn Lily Laiho (Biomedical Engineering), Richard Savage (Biomedical Engineering) and James Widmann (Mechanical Engineering) published “Initiating and Sustaining an Interdisciplinary Capstone Design Course” at the 2014 National Capstone Design Conference in Columbus, Ohio. nnn Liz Schlemer (Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering) and Linda Vanasupa (Materials Engineering) published “Relational versus Transactional Community Engagement: An Experience of the Benefits and Costs” at the ASEE 2014 Annual Conference in Indianapolis. nnn Linda Vanasupa (Materials Engineering), Liz Schlemer (Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering), R. Burton, Courtney Brogno (English), Ginger Hendrix (English) and Neal MacDougall (Agribusiness) co-authored “Laying the Foundation for Transdisciplinary Faculty Collaborations: Actions for a Sustainable Future” in Sustainability (Vol. 6, pp. 2893-2928, 2014).

n Aerospace Engineering Dan Biezad, professor emeritus, authored and presented “Ethics as Philosophical History for Engineers” at the 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering in Chicago. nnn Faysal Kolkailah has served as director of the Cal Poly Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) Composite Workshop for three years. He published three co-authored papers in the Proceedings of the 2014 SAMPE Conference in Seattle, including “A Study on the Performance Characteristics of Isolators after Outgassed and Baked,” “Effects of Low-Velocity Impact on Strength of Different Composite Sandwich Materials,” and “Effect of Bio-Composites Embedded into Sandwich Panels under Buckling Loading.”

n Civil & Environmental Engineering Tryg Lundquist presented Cal Poly’s three


Linking Engineering and Business New joint engineering/business faculty member to promote Cal Poly students’ entrepreneurial efforts


om Katona, an “engineer’s engineer” with extensive experience in technological innovation and startup ventures, has been appointed to a joint teaching position in Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business and College of Engineering, with an eye toward fostering student entrepreneurial activity. Katona will play a pivotal role in expanding collaboration among the College of Engineering, the Orfalea College of Business, and the Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE). “Dr. Katona is an engineer of depth and breadth who moves easily and naturally between business and engineering environments,” said Debra Larson, dean of the College of Engineering. “No one could be better qualified to help us break new ground.” Katona sees his role as “advancing innovation across disciplines, using principles of design thinking and product development to nurture successful entrepreneurial activity on campus and in the local community.” That all-encompassing approach will start in the classroom, where he will teach a multidisciplinary design course in the College of Engineering and co-teach an entrepreneurship course with Jonathan York, professor in the Orfalea College of Business and co-founder and faculty director of the CIE.

algae biofuel research projects funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at a DOE plenary session. Lundquist and researchers with the Cal Poly Algae Technology Group published “Life Cycle GHG Emissions from Microalgal Biodiesel — A CA-GREET Model” in Environmental Science Technology (Vol. 48, no. 11, pp. 6060-6068, 2014). nnn Robb Moss celebrated the graduation of Justin Hollenback (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2008), who received his doctorate from UC Berkeley. Moss funded his former student’s graduate work with grants from

“I see this as a major next step in advancing our goals to weave diverse disciplines with entrepreneurship across campus and throughout CIE,” said York. The CIE manages and supports a wide variety of entrepreneurial programs, including the Innovation Sandbox, Innovation Quest Competition, Tom Katona and SLO HotCal Poly Center for Innovation & House Summer Entrepreneurship Accelerator. “The challenge now is to expand the reach of those programs throughout the university,” Katona said. “My key role is to be an advocate for students and faculty who are working on interesting research or have great ideas. I want to connect innovators to the entrepreneurial support system that we’re putting in place at CIE.” Katona has been working in startups for the past decade in capacities varying from hardcore engineering and development to marketing and business development. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical and computer engineering from UC Santa Barbara and holds an MBA from the University of South Carolina. n the Department of Homeland Security for research on seismic risk assessment of levees. Moss was invited by the U.S. Geological Survey to speak at the Earthquake Science Center Seminar in Menlo Park, Calif., on work related to reverse faults, and he and colleagues founded LMMG Geotechnical Testing in South America, a subsurface investigation company in Chile. Moss coauthored the following papers: • “Closure on Discussion of ‘Shear Wave Velocity-Based Probabilistic and Deterministic Assessment of Seismic Soil Liquefaction Potential,’” Journal of

Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering (Vol. 140, no. 4, March 2014). • “Dynamic Response of a Model Levee on Sherman Island Peat: A Curated Dataset,” Earthquake Spectra (Vol. 30, no. 2, May 2014). • “Discussion of ‘Problems with Liquefaction Criteria and their Applications in Australia,’” Australian Geomechanics Journal (March 2014). • “Analyst B: Passive Surface Wave Analysis of the UTexas1 Surface Wave Dataset,” American Society of Civil Engineers GeoCongress. • “Verifying Liquefaction Remediation beneath an earth dam using SPT and CPT based methods,” Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering (Vol. 53, pp. 130-144). • “Lifelines Annex to the 2013 California State Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.” plan.

n Computer Science

& Computer Engineering

Foaad Khosmood was named primary investigator for the Digital Democracy project proposal by Cal Poly’s Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy (IATPP). Funded with a $1.2 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Digital Democracy is an online searchable database of state legislative committee hearings, a new data set that is currently unavailable to the public. Alex Dekhtyar and Franz Kurfess are also IATPP institute fellows working on the project. Khosmood was elected president of Global Game Jam, an educational non profit organization dedicated to game development with more than 20,000 participants in 72 countries. He co-authored two papers, “Retelling Chess Stories” and “Procedurally Generated, Adaptive Music for Rapid Game Development.” He attended the Foundations of Digital Games conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., along with graduate students Eric Buckthal and Timothey Adam, who presented the papers. Khosmood and Mahdi Rastad (Orfalea College of Business) received an interdisciplinary research grant to study offshore cash holdings of U.S. multinational corporations. nnn Chris Lupo, Aaron Keen (Computer Science), John Oliver (Computer Engineering) and Doug Gallatin (B.S., Computer

New Department Chairs:

Faculty News

James Meagher and Richard Savage Mechanical Engineering


im Meagher is returning to the role of Mechanical Engineering Department chair after a hiatus of 10 years. Meagher joined Cal Poly in 1988 after receiving his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. His earlier research involved hip implants and pacing leads. He developed a method to convert CT scan images into finite element models in order to perform virtual surgeries. More recently, he has worked in the field of rotor dynamics and was the founding director of the Donald E. Bently Center for Engineering Excellence. “The most exciting prospect of being chair is being part of the team that replaces our World War II-era Aero Hangar with a firstclass student projects workshop,” he said.

Biomedical & General Engineering


Jim Meagher and Richard Savage will chair the Mechanical and Biomedical & General Engineering departments.

ichard Savage, new chair of the Biomedical & General Engineering Department (BMED), first came to Cal Poly in 2002 as a professor in materials engineering. Known for his work in micro systems technologies and his efforts to enhance multidisciplinary opportunities, Savage is a natural fit with BMED because it is an interdisciplinary field that embraces the integration of science and engineering. “We have a dynamic faculty with active research in the fields of regenerative medicine, human biomechanics and innovative medical devices that involve micro/nano scale technologies,” he noted. “I look forward to working with our faculty to develop strategic plans that will continue to equip our students to be leaders in the global health care fields.” n

Eugene Jud Receives Award from ITE Cal Poly Civil & Environmental Engineering Lecturer Eugene Jud, second from left, received the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Western District Outstanding Educator Award in September after being nominated by engineering students including Kaylinn Roseman, Alex Chambers and Karl Schmidt. Winners of the ITE award “demonstrate extraordinary creativity in teaching, take exceptional measures to spark student interest in the transportation profession, or provide unwavering encouragement for student endeavors in the past year.” n

Engineering, 2014; M.S., Computer Science, 2014) published and presented “Twill: A Hybrid Microcontroller-FPGA Framework for Parallelizing Single-Threaded C Programs” at the IEEE International Symposium on Parallel and Distributed Processing Reconfigurable Architectures Workshop in Phoenix, Ariz. nnn John Seng and students Connor Citron and Brian Gomberg published “The Aithon Board: A Case Study in Commercialization of a Student Project” at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, Southwestern Regional Conference held at Cal State Northridge.

n Computer Science

& Software Engineering

John Clements gave an invited talk at RacketCon in St. Louis on “Stumbling Around in the Dark: Failure Partially Averted.” He served as program chair of the Scheme Workshop in Washington, D.C. nnn Zachary Peterson was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to build and evaluate an introductory course in computer security for incoming students. The objectives of this course, the first of its kind in the nation, are to engage

undergraduates with authentic problems demonstrating the relevance of cybersecurity, highlight the role of computers in solving problems and constructing problems, and challenge students with creative puzzle-solving. Peterson was awarded an Intel-Georgia Tech Security Education micro-grant for building new security curriculum modules designed to be integrated into core computer science courses. nnn Zoë Wood developed a computational art class for the new Computer Science Academy at Santa Barbara High School. Using Wood’s curriculum, students will learn to write code to generate images.

Computer Engineering Director John Oliver Recognized for Advising


ohn Oliver is known by students as a go-to professor for help and advice. Recent recipient of the university’s Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award, Oliver is a professor in the Electrical Engineering Department and the director of the Computer Engineering Program (CPE). Oliver’s goals for CPE are inclusive in nature and intended to increase diversity in the program’s student body. In working with transfer students as well as those on academic probation, he targets John Oliver those students who may Computer Engineering be struggling to achieve academic success. His interaction with students helped him realize that many individuals lack the strong social network needed to succeed in computer engineering. In his advising capacity, Oliver has increased peer, faculty and industry mentoring to put a face to the field of computer engineering. His work at Cal Poly includes mentoring student-developed research projects with NASA and ongoing grant writing for projects that will be implemented on campus. “I find that if I actively listen to the students, they feel valued and leave better informed,” said Oliver. “Misinformation is often our biggest hurdle to academic success.” n

n Electrical Engineering Dean Arakaki published two papers at the IEEE Antennas and Propagation International Symposium held in Memphis, Tenn. “Organic-Based Microwave Frequency Absorbers Using Corn Stover” was coauthored and presented by Ben Smythe (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 2013) and Sean Casserly (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 2013). Arakaki presented “Multi-Technique Broadband Microstrip Patch Antenna Design” at the IEEE conference. nnn Xiao-Hua (Helen) Yu chaired a session and presented “Magnetic Resonance Imaging


Faculty News Registration with Artificial Neural Networks” at the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Las Vegas. The paper was co-authored with Pramod Gadde (M.S., Electrical Engineering, 2013). Yu also co-authored “Short Term Wind Speed Prediction Using Artificial Neural Networks” with Alexandra Lodge (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 2013) published in the Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Information Science and Technology. Yu served on the program committees of various international conferences, including the International Conference on Intelligent Computing, the International Conference on Signal Processing & Integrated Networks, and the IEEE International Conference on Awareness Science and Technology.

n Industrial & Manufacturing


John Pan published “A Control-Chart-Based Method for Solder Joint Crack Detection” in the Journal of Microelectronics and Electronic Packaging (Vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 94-103, 2014). nnn Liz Schlemer led a workshop at the Teaching Professor conference in Boston on “Do They Want to Learn? Examining Our Assumptions about Students.”

n Materials Engineering Kathy Chen, chair, co-authored “Well, That Didn’t Work: A Troubled Attempt to Quantitatively Measure Engineering Students’ Lifelong Learning Development Over Two Years of College,” which was presented at the 2014 Frontiers in Education conference. Co-authors included Roberta Herter (School of Education) and Jon Stolk (Olin College of Engineering). Chen also co-authored “Designing Engineering Curriculum for Pre‐Service Teachers in Preparation for Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): Medical Mission Drop,” published in the ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings. Chen is supervising AmeriCorp VISTA members Noya Kansky (B.S., Anthropology & Geology, 2014) and Jeffrey Cabenez (B.S., Liberal Arts & Engineering Studies, 2014), who are developing programs to increase the success of students from low-income and underrepresented groups who major


Engineering Faculty Named Distinguished Scholars


he two recipients of Cal Poly’s prestigious Distinguished Scholarship Award included a pioneer in biomechanical computer modeling of cartilage and a researcher whose work has the potential to influence the next generation of commercial air transportation. Mechanical Engineering Professor Stephen Klisch has developed theoretical, analytical and experimental methods in biomechanical engineering to explore the prevention and treatment of osteoarthriStephen Klisch Mechanical Engineering tis. His innovative approaches to understanding cartilage growth and computer modeling have the potential to reduce individuals’ suffering and the associated economic cost to society. He has received research funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Klisch is co-founder of the joint Cal Poly-UC San Diego Undergraduate Research Program in Articular Cartilage Mechanobiology, in which two to four Cal Poly undergraduates spend summers in San Diego working with advanced researchers and one or two UCSD undergraduates. He also involves students in summer research opportunities at Cal Poly, helping students bridge the gap

in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Chen was also a Cal Poly Service Learning Faculty Fellow. She organized an engineering design challenge for the Science for Girls summer camp at the Central Coast Salmon Enhancement Center, and she serves on the SLO Mini Maker Faire Planning Committee. nnn Jean Lee received grant from the College of Engineering for research on “Environmental Characterization of Microscale vs. Bulk Methods of Materials and Product Synthesis.”

n Mechanical Engineering Mohammad Noori received the Keating Award for Innovation and Leadership in Lifelong Learning in Graduate Engineering Education from the ASEE – Graduate Studies Division. He was invited by the ASEE board of directors to participate on an executive working group, which will examine access to and affordability of engineering majors. Noori was invited to speak on “Perspectives on Emerging Research Directions in Structural Health Monitoring,” at the NSF Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division meeting

between theory and application. Aerospace Engineering Professor David Marshall focuses on improved modeling techniques to design quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft. As principal investigator for the NASAsponsored project AMELIA (Advanced Model for Extreme Lift and Improved Aeroacoustics), Marshall collaborated with colleagues and students at Cal Poly and Georgia Tech to design and execute a $4.7 million wind tunnel study. The David Marshall Aerospace Engineering AMELIA project was awarded a NASA Group Achievement Award, while two Cal Poly graduate students won the prestigious NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate Associate Administrator High Potential Award. Marshall’s team was the first to implement tests to measure how powered-lift aircraft might achieve quicker lift-off while also measuring the sonic implications of that lift-off. Quicker, quieter lift-off means the possibility of shorter runways, holding the potential to improve the convenience of air travel, reduce fuel burn and environmental impact, alleviate air traffic congestion and increase transportation network capacity. n

in Arlington, Va. He co-authored “Modal Analysis of Cable-Tower System of TwinSpan Suspension Bridge” published in the Journal of Vibroengineering (Vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 1850-1863, 2014) and “System-Reliability-Based Optimization for Truss Structures Using Genetic Algorithm and Neural Network” published in the International Journal of Reliability and Safety (Vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 51-69, 2014). nnn Steffen Peuker, the James L. Bartlett Jr. Endowed Professor, published and presented two papers and one workshop at the 6th Annual First Year Engineering Experience Conference at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. In “Improving Student Success and Retention Rates in Engineering: One Year After Implementation,” Peuker and co-author Nova Schauss (Oregon State University) assessed the impact of a new approach to teach first-year engineering seminars. Results of research presented in “Implementing Team-Based Learning in First-Year Engineering Courses” show that TeamBased Learning is an ideal tool to be used in first-year engineering courses that are currently taught in a traditional lecture style format. Peuker collaborated with instructor Jennifer Mott on the research. Peuker’s workshop presented a proj-

ect titled “Design Your Process of Becoming a World-Class Engineering Student — A Powerful Project for Enhancing Student Success.” See http://discovery-press. com/discovery-press/studyengr/NewResource/0.asp. nnn Brian Self and James Widmann co-authored “Development and Assessment of an Inquiry-Based Learning Activity in Dynamics: A Case Study in Identifying Sources and Repairing Student Misconceptions” published at the ASEE Annual Conference in Indianapolis. Self, Widmann, mechanical engineering undergraduate Kathryn Bohn and graduate student Jeffrey Georgette published “The Study of Gyroscopic Motion through Inquiry-Based Learning Activities” at the 2014 ASEE Pacific Zone Conference in Long Beach, Calif. Self, Widmann and undergraduate Baheej Saoud also published “Using Inquiry Based Learning Activities to Teach Dynamics” at the conference. Self, Widmann, Saoud and biomedical engineering student Morgan Zandonella presented “Talk-Alouds to Determine Effectiveness of Inquiry-Based Learning Activities” at the 17th CSU Symposium on University Teaching held at Cal State San Marcos. n


in the news

Innovation Quest Founder Selected as College of Engineering Honored Alumnus


1973 electrical engineering graduate Carson Chen known as innovator

John Kilpatrick


(B.S., Environmental Engineering, 2000; M.S., Engineering Management, 2001)

New Engineering Manager for New York American Water John Kilpatrick recently joined New York American Water as engineering manager. In this new role, Kilpatrick will be managing the engineering team, handling capital projects, producing designs, and supporting the advancement of GIS mapping and planning. A native of Northern Ireland who moved to California at the age of six, he recently moved from California to Melville, N.Y., with his wife and two children. http://

Kristen Maitland (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 2000; M.S. Electrical Engineering, 2002)

Faculty Alumni News Innovation Quest co-founder Carson Chen has been named the College of Engineering’s Honored Alum.

Chen believes that Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing education ollowing the axiom to “leave tracks,” or institute positive gives students the confidence and experience they need to change, Carson Chen (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1973) become immediately engaged and productive in industry. He returned to Cal Poly after a successful career to co-found also knows that many great ideas get filed away at Cal Poly as Innovation Quest (iQ), a nonprofit, philanthropic corporation senior projects and master’s theses — so he helped found iQ that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship, while helping to to provide a platform for those ideas create companies and jobs. to become products and companies. A pioneer in the broadband “Through iQ, we’re The program is best known for industry, Chen knows a thing or two helping students see the its annual innovation contest, which about innovation and entrepreneuroffers no-strings-attached funding ship. In fact, he garnered a reputation full value of their ideas.” and assistance for the best ideas as a visionary and leader. He was the presented by students and faculty 70th engineer at Cisco and helped Carson Chen (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1973) on campus. direct the company to capture more “Through iQ, we’re helping stuthan 70 percent of the market. A retired member of Cisco System’s executive team, Chen served dents see the full value of their ideas,” said Chen. “They can see that, rather than just work for a business, they can be the as vice president and general manager of the cable and wirebusiness. It’s our hope to plant the seed that says, ‘You can.’” less platform division. He held senior positions with National In recognition of his distinguished career, his generous Semiconductor Corporation, Ford Aerospace and West Coast support of Cal Poly and his farsighted and philanthropic esUnited Broadcasting Co., and is responsible for issuing more tablishment of iQ, the College of Engineering named Chen its than 30 U.S. patents including six of his own. He currently 2014 Honored Alumnus. n serves on the boards of several technology companies.

New Society Director for SPIE Kristen Maitland, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been elected society director for SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. Maitland’s research interests focus on the development of optical instrumentation for improved detection and diagnosis of disease, primarily cancer and bacterial infection. To improve detection of early cancer, Maitland’s lab has developed a multi-scale, multi-modal optical imaging system that is being evaluated in a clinical trial.

Ben Curren

Mark Perry (B.S., Computer Engineering, 2005)

In the Major Leagues of Coding Tall and lanky, Mark Perry looks like the professional baseball pitcher he once dreamed he’d become. But it’s his coding, not his fastball, that got him into the major leagues. Perry is a lead engineer for Sportvision, developing software to analyze pitches, hits and, soon, the movements of the players themselves. It’s the perfect job for a baseball fanatic-turned-engineer.

(B.S., Computer Science, 2003)

Tyler Hill

Founder of Green Bits

(B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 2012)

The San Jose Mercury has a Q&A feature with Ben Curren, founder of Green Bits, a fledgling startup with four employees that provides point-of-sale and inventory management software for the legal marijuana industry.

Simulating a Lunar/Martian Lifestyle Cal Poly alumnus Tyler Hill explored what it might be like to inhabit the moon or Mars in a terrestrial live-aboard module. As mission engineer, Hill is part of a threeperson lunar/Mars mission simulation by

Cal Poly Alumna Honored with Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award


ilvia Osuna (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 2008) was honored as an outstanding role model in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the annual Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference held Oct. 3 in New Orleans. An electromechanical engineer in Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector, Osuna received a Most Promising Engineer - Undergraduate Degree award. After starting as a Northrop Grumman intern, Osuna moved to full-time industrial engineering and became a manufacturing engineer supporting navigation system manufacturing assembly and testing for the James Webb Space Telescope and other space programs.

Osuna has held leadership positions in Adelante, Northrop Grumman’s Hispanic Employee Resource Group; presented the workshop “Latinas in Silvia Osuna STEM” at the Industrial Engineering Adelante Mujer Latina Annual Career Conference; and served as an engineering club mentor at Lennox Middle School, which has a 95 percent Hispanic enrollment. n


Alumni News the University of North Dakota Human Spaceflight Laboratory. The project, which ended Nov. 6, included experiments from the Kennedy Space Center, JPL and the German Aerospace Center.

1990s Lori A. Blanc (B.S., Computer Science, 1993; M.S., Computer Science, 1995)

Teaching Scholars Award Winner Lori A. Blanc, a research scientist in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, has received Virginia Tech’s 2014 Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.

Marissa Schmidt (B.S., Computer Engineering, 1995)

Schmidt on CPE Advisory Board Marissa Schmidt, director of product management at Citrix Systems, writes about her new position on the Industrial Advisory Board for Cal Poly’s Computer Engineering Program. “It’s an honor to be on the IAB and help the department stay apace of the changes in technology and the Internet of Things.”

SmartPhones4Water General engineering grad Jeff Davids creates hydrologic monitoring technology for use in developing countries using cell phones


eff Davids (B.S., General Engineering, 2004) noticed something interesting in his travels in developing countries: cell phones are pervasive, even where paved roads and electricity are scarce. That observation, along with experience using smartphones to measure water flow in the Netherlands, led Davids to found SmartPhones4Water (S4W), a nonprofit program that harnesses smartphone technology to collect accurate, verifiable data on water resources — data that can improve water management, thus enriching lives and livelihoods in the developing world. A water resources engineer with a master’s degree in geosciences/hydrogeology from CSU Chico, Davids explained that fundamental information about the amount, location and quality of water is lacking in most developing

Cal Poly alum Jeff Davids, center, is working in Nepal with SmartPhones4Water, which uses cell phone technology to improve water management practices in the developing world.

countries. “SmartPhones4Water aims to develop the information necessary for wise stewardship of water resources, while at the same time making a difference in people’s lives,” he said. S4W leverages a hydrologic monitoring technology called MobileTracker, which allows individuals to take field measurements by taking a picture with a smartphone. “One of the wonderful things about the technology is it lowers the bar as far as who can collect data,

which opens a sustainable employment opportunity in low-income communities,” Davids said. Reflecting on his Cal Poly engineering education, Davids noted, “My education has served me in a lot of ways. I was technically prepared for my profession, plus, getting anything done in developing countries is a hands-on process — every step is an adventure.” For more information, go to http:// n

Tim Weise: Going Beyond Cal Poly alum honored by Smithsonian


hen the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Trophy presented its highest group honor to the Dawn Flight Team last spring, Tim Weise (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1994; M.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1995) was among the recipients. Weise is a system engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Current Achievement Trophy for 2014 recognized the Dawn team for transforming an experimental technology into an operational system that has advanced the development and use of solar electric propulsion. “These winners have moved the needle in the advancement of aviation and space exploration in major ways,” said Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, director of the museum. “The Dawn Flight Team’s innovative use of new technology will open pathways to further deep-space exploration,” he said. NASA’s Dawn mission explored some of the last uncharted worlds in the solar system. After a successful


Tim Weise (standing to right of trophy holder Robert Mase), a system engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was part of the Dawn Flight Team, which received the 2014 Trophy for Current Achievement from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Members of the team (from left to right): Grant Faris, Carol Polanskey, Chris Russell, Steve Joy, Greg Whiffen, Marc Rayman, Robert Mase, Tim Weise, Brett Smith, Nick Mastrodemos, Paul Fieseler, Carol Raymond and Don Han. Photo: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

orbit around the giant asteroid Vesta, the Dawn spacecraft is now on its way to the dwarf planet Ceres, which it will orbit in 2015. The Dawn spacecraft was designed to conduct an in-depth and up-close study of these two ce-

lestial bodies. In 50 years of space exploration, no other spacecraft has orbited a distant solar system body, then left to travel to — and eventually orbit — another extraterrestrial body. n

QL+ Founder Receives Ogren Award C

known as Telemus Solutions, a al Poly’s Sandra Gardeglobal security consulting and bring Ogren Leadership intelligence advisory services Award honors an individual provider. who has made a significant “When I sold Telemus, I contribution to the success started to think about ways to of Cal Poly, embraced the acknowledge the role Cal Poly uniqueness of a comprehenplayed in my life and to show sive polytechnic education my appreciation for the men and successfully improved the and women who, in the course world we live in. of serving their country, have That pretty much describes been wounded or disabled,” Jon Monett and the work he said. he has done on behalf of the QL+ is the outcome of university. Monett’s wish to give back, The 1964 industrial engiJon Monett while investing forward to proneering alumnus founded the Quality of Life Plus Laboratory (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1964) duce solutions that enhance an individual’s ability to reach their potential (QL+) in 2009. The multidisciplinary facility despite traumatic injuries incurred in service is dedicated to the development and applito their country. cation of technology to improve the quality Monett is the recipient of the CIA’s of life of wounded and disabled veterans. Intelligence Medal of Merit and was the A veteran himself, Monett served in the 2009 Honored Alumnus from the College U.S. Air Force before entering Cal Poly. of Engineering. He is a member of the Following graduation, he spent 26 years Cal Poly President’s Cabinet and the Founin the CIA. On his return to civilian life, dation Board of Directors. n Monett started a company that became

Ray Patel

Brad Underwood

(B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1997)

(B.S., Civil Engineering, 1984)

Latest Startup Venture

City of San Mateo’s New Public Works Director

A staff engineer working in advanced weapon design and development at Dallas-based Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control for almost 10 years, Ray Patel is also a prolific entrepreneur. His latest startup venture, Rocketmeter, allows users to rapidly prototype and debug electronics gear. While at Cal Poly, Patel recalled that “I pretty much lived at the hangar. I headed up the HVP team for a year and participated in the Formula SAE and Formula Hybrid programs.” •


Bradley E. Hagemann (B.S., Environmental Engineering, 1981)

Wallace Group’s New Public Works Administrator The Wallace Group recently hired former Paso Robles city employee Brad Hagemann as the director of the public works administration department for the firm.

After completing a statewide search, the City of San Mateo announced that Brad Underwood, Foster City public works director, has crossed city lines to begin the next phase of his career as San Mateo’s public works director. He began his new role with San Mateo in September and brings 30 years of public works experience to the position. He lives in Foster City with his wife and has two grown daughters.

Barry L. Dorr (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1984)

Sharing the 10 Essential Skills for Electrical Engineers Barry Dorr’s new book, Ten Essential Skills for Electrical Engineers, has been published by John Wiley–IEE Press. The textbook is a fundamentals-based review of practical skills that students learn in the electrical engineering curriculum and is intended to help students prepare for technical interviews. n

Alumni News 50th reunion

Electrical Engineering Class of ’64 Reunites


n enthusiastic contingent of the Electrical Engineering Class of ’64 returned to campus in May for a 50th reunion dinner and two full-tilt days of tours, activities and reminiscences. Pictured above in the Capstone Lab, from left to right: Glenn Stuck (Santa Barbara), Wayne Allen (Carson City, Nev.), Don Fowler (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Bob Goldsmith (Middletown, Calif.), Indar Sethi (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.), George

Rauchwerger (Sunnyvale, Calif.), Fred Stephens (Fallbrook, Calif.), Walter Tufts (Moorpark, Calif.) and Jack Dupre (Santa Rosa, Calif.). A reunion highlight was the alumni’s speakerphone conversation with Linda (Miller) Hatta (Central Point, Ore.), the department’s first female graduate. Check out photos from the event at n

SAVE THE DATE! Saturday, April 18, 2015 Join us for the 2nd annual

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING BEER & WINE GARDEN at Cal Poly Open House April 17-18, 2015 For more information, contact Brenda Flood at (805) 756-5374 or

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

On Tuesday, Dec. 2, nonprofits, families, businesses and students will come together to celebrate generosity and to give. #GivingTuesday is a special call to action on a national day of giving. For the first time, Cal Poly College of Engineering has partnered with #GivingTuesday to conduct a 24-hour giving campaign to support the Learn by Doing promise. Your gift will contribute to the essential elements of a Cal Poly Engineering education: projects, labs and clubs. Without your support, the Cal Poly Engineering experience would not be what it is today. #GivingTuesday is your day to give back and support the Learn by Doing promise. Learn more at • Follow us on:


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


Dean’s Office (805) 756-2131 Debra Larson, Dean Fred DePiero, Associate Dean Rakesh Goel, Associate Dean College Advancement Richard LeRoy, Asst. Dean (805) 756-7108 Amanda Oeser, Dir. of Development (805) 756-5711 Brenda Flood, Admin. Support (805) 756-5374 College Publications & Communications (805) 756-6402 Amy Hewes, Director Miles Clark, Web Administrator (805) 756-6582 Galen Ricard, Writer (805) 756-6623 Dennis Steers, Photography & Design (805) 756-7167 Engineering Advising (805) 756-1461 Kim Marsalek, Coordinator Multicultural Engineering Program (805) 756-1433 Maria Manzano, Coordinator Women in Engineering Program (805) 756-2350 Helene Finger, Director DEPARTMENTS Aerospace Engineering (805) 756-2562 Eric Mehiel, Chair Biomedical & General Engineering (805) 756-6400 Richard Savage, Chair Civil/Environmental Engineering (805) 756-2947 Daniel Jansen, Chair Computer Engineering (805) 756-1229 John Oliver, Director Computer Science/Software Engineering (805) 756-2824 Ignatios Vakalis, Chair Electrical Engineering (805) 756-2781 Dennis Derickson, Chair Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering (805) 756-2341 Jose Macedo, Chair Materials Engineering (805) 756-2568 Kathy Chen, Chair Mechanical Engineering (805) 756-1334 Jame Meagher, Chair Fire Protection Engineering (805) 756-7834 Fred Mowrer, Director Engineering Advantage is a biannual publication of the College of Engineering, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Editorial Staff: Amy Hewes | Publications Director • Galen Ricard | Staff Writer • Dennis Steers | Photography & Design

Cal Poly Engineering Advantage - Fall 2014  

Cal Poly College of Engineering Newsletter - Fall 2014

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