Nov 9, 2020
Civil engineering students received special recognition for their projects in the Mechanical/Materials/Industrial/Civil session of the 2020 SURP Symposium. Judges selected two "Notable Projects" within each session that they felt stood out among an already outstanding collection of work.
Civil engineering seniors Robert Sprotte and Andrea Leal were recognized for their SURP project that explored drone applications in the construction industry. They selected two potential drone uses that can improve worker safety and optimize construction work as their focus. Sprotte and Leal worked with civil engineering professor Hani Alzraiee.
The project sought practical applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for the construction industry.
Civil engineering seniors Robert Sprotte and Andrea Leal with faculty advisor Hani Alzraiee.
Civil engineering senior William Andrews was recognized for his "Evaluation of Cost-effective Pavement Deformation Detection Technologies using Mobile LiDAR." Andrews worked with Dr. Anurag Pande and Dr. Alizera Shams. This project looked at using a mobile LiDAR system attached to a truck to scan road surfaces and surrounding areas. This data can be used to determine if roads need repairs and how they can be safer. Specifically, this project focuses on how the LiDAR scan compares to a traditional surveying team. The research team wanted to find out if the LiDAR scan is more accurate, faster, and cheaper than a traditional survey.
The image is a rendering of the LiDAR data from Suliman Gargoum and Karim El-Basyouny's research paper "Automated extraction of road features using LiDAR data: A review of LiDAR applications in transportation." This image shows how millions of data points can be used to make an image of the surrounding area.
Civil engineering senior William Andrews.
The Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) provides research experiences for students to work with faculty. Projects lead to student-faculty authored publications in venues appropriate to the area of research conducted during the summer. SURP invites sponsors to provide university-industry collaborative research and project activities.
Sep 3, 2020
Dr. Shams Tanvir attended North Carolina State University and earned his Ph.D in civil engineering with a focus in transportation systems engineering. After, Tanvir was a research associate for the school’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) where he worked with state transportation agencies. After his time with ITRE, Tanvir moved to California and finished his postdoc fellowship at the University of California, Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT).
At CE-CERT, Dr. Tanvir researched energy and air quality implications from the transportation industry and how they can be improved. His research focuses on sustainable mobility and explores the carbon footprint of emerging transportation technology. “As the number one polluter in the U.S., transportation plays a very vital role in climate change,” Tanvir said. His research looks at self-driving technology, electric cars, and shared mobility options, like Uber or Lyft, to decrease pollution and improve our environment.
Students interested in this area of research are encouraged to contact Tanvir as there are research opportunities available in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department’s new Sustainable Mobility Lab (SuMoLab). The SuMoLab builds high-fidelity simulations and advanced onboard sensing systems to monitor and improve transportation systems. Students in the lab will develop solutions for the industry and agency partners and learn necessary skills.
Dr. Shams Tanvir attended the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in civil engineering. While Tanvir was earning his Master’s degree at the BUET, he taught as a lecturer. When he came to the U.S. for his Ph.D., Tanvir realized that he missed teaching. Tanvir wanted to teach in California because the state is a leader in many aspects of sustainable mobility and at the forefront of sustainable technology. During his postdoctoral research at the CE-CERT, Dr. Tanvir worked with many Cal Poly graduates which inspired him to pursue teaching at Cal Poly.
Dr. Tanvir is excited to use Cal Poly’s unique learning model to inspire transportation students. “The ‘Learn By Doing’ mindset of Cal Poly is much needed in the rapidly evolving transportation industry, ” Tanvir said. He advises students to consider all of the problems the transportation industry is causing and pursue active solutions.
“I’m looking forward to making an impact on students. Whether it’s virtually or in-person, I’ll continue to try my best to help students succeed," said Tanvir.
Sep 3, 2020
Dr. Long Wang received his Bachelor’s degree in Port, Waterway, and Coastal Engineering from the Dalian University of Technology, China in 2014. He earned a Master’s in Civil Engineering and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Davis in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Wang earned his Doctorate degree and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
Wang’s research lies at the intersection of structural engineering, material science, and data analytics. Wang is interested in developing multifunctional smart materials (e.g., nanomaterials and polymers) that can be integrated with structural systems for simultaneously bearing loads, actuating, and especially monitoring structural performance.
“My research will help create a more collaborative environment for faculty and students across different backgrounds. And will create more visibility for the Civil and Environmental Engineering department,” said Wang.
Wang looks forward to teaching at Cal Poly. “As a recent graduate, I like working with students and Cal Poly is a great place to continue to do so. I’m also looking forward to potential research collaborations with the faculty,” Wang said.
Wang’s advice for his future students is to “be active in your learning. Pursue your interests and be proactive in looking for resources. Go to peers and faculty for advice. Don’t be shy.”
Students that are interested in Wang’s area of research are encouraged to reach out. His research works with new technologies in emerging fields of civil engineering, creating great career experience for students.
Sep 1, 2020
Geotechnical engineering Professor Robb Moss has recently published 3 journal papers and a textbook. His papers "Liquefied Strength and its Relationship to Effective Stress" and "Large-Scale Liquefaction and Post-Liquefaction Shake Table Testing" were published in the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. His paper "Prior and future earthquake effects in Valdivia, Chile" was published in Obras Y Proyectos, Edicion 27. Moss's textbook "Applied Civil Engineering Risk Analysis, 2nd Edition" discusses applied fundamental statistics, probability, reliability, and decision theory as these pertain to problems in Civil Engineering.
Moss has been a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California since 2005. He earned a Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley in the field of geotechnical earthquake engineering, with minors in engineering seismology and structural reliability. His research and consulting focuses on the physics and probability of natural hazards such as; strong ground motions, seismic soil liquefaction, surface fault rupture, seismic induced landslides, debris flow, and others. His teaching includes undergraduate and graduate courses in geotechnical engineering, engineering risk analysis, geological engineering, earthquake engineering, and others.
Aug 27, 2020
Cal Poly’s Transportation Management Center (TMC) Simulator has helped revolutionize traffic management training in California. The Simulator is utilized as part of the TMC Academy, a unique program that combines classroom training with hands-on learning and has quickly become a statewide standard for traffic management operator training.
In 1992, Caltrans and Cal Poly hosted the first TMC operator training program. 28 years later, Cal Poly continues to host the year-round program that trains California transportation professionals to solve common traffic problems using simulated real-world incidents.
There are Caltrans Traffic Management Centers all over California where TMC operators work to manage traffic on state highways and coordinate appropriate responses to different transportation incidents. TMC operators manage congestion and determine the best solutions to help reduce traffic build-up after an incident. They are trained on a wide variety of scenarios ranging from hazardous materials to flat tires and everything in between.
The week-long TMC Academy has participants use a TMC simulator that mimics the tools and technology of a real Traffic Management Center. This allows operators to have hands-on training while practicing new techniques learned during the course.
Cal Poly’s hands-on approach has changed and improved traffic management and accident response in California. Having the only TMC simulator in the state, the TMC Academy has proven a “successful testbed for new and emerging tools for Caltrans,” according to current TMC Academy Director and Cal Poly Research Analyst, Neil Hockaday.
“The program is an essential part of the development of techniques and tools in the transportation industry,” Hockaday said.
Hockaday explained that all TMC operators in California eventually attend the TMC Academy and with Cal Poly’s help, traffic management has been improved.
Professor Anurag Pande of Cal Poly’s Civil and Environmental Engineering department is the Principal Investigator for the TMC Academy. He agrees that the academy has been beneficial for both participants and the state’s transportation industry.
“We have professionals working in the real Traffic Management Centers statewide who come here and learn to handle real-world traffic management scenarios with an experience as close to the real-world as simulation can get,” Pande said.
The TMC Academy has proven a successful project with the application of Cal Poly’s philosophy. With technology and tools constantly changing, the TMC Academy helps TMC operators stay up to date and ensure a safe transportation system throughout the state.
“We don’t tell them how to do their jobs. We train them to do their jobs better,” Hockaday said.
Aug 13, 2020
Geotechnical engineering lecturer Nephi Derbidge was featured in the May/June issue of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) magazine. He talks about the transition of switching to a fully-online learning environment and the challenges and adjustments he's had to face.
Click on the images to view the full ASCE magazine article.
Jul 13, 2020
Congratulations to the Environmental Challenge International (ECi) team on their first place win at this year's Air and Waste Management Association Conference! The ECi Competition is similar to an environmental engineering consulting competition with a different challenge each year. This year's challenge was to create a proposal for an organic waste management program. Click the PDF below to view the team's proposal presentation.
May 29, 2020
Certificate of Excellence (COE)
The Certificate of Excellence in Civil and Environmental Engineering awards are intended to honor those students who excel academically (GPA) and, perhaps more importantly, model what we look for in our most engaged students. The students who make you look forward to teaching the classes they are in, who ask insightful questions, and who even help other students connect more meaningfully with the material.
To students judged on efforts to prepare his or her self for a professional career in engineering including but not limited to participation in professional organizations, work experience, and community service.
Hal and Judy Cota
To academically outstanding senior-level students in the ENVE program who demonstrate an interest in community public health or industrial safety and hygiene.
Civil Engineering, Senior
Environmental Engineering, Senior
"Ashley reached out to me some months back and asked me for advice of whether attending grad school at UCI or in general was a good option. Since then, she has demonstrated great promise as a future Civil and Environmental Engineer. She has a very positive attitude and outlook on life and I greatly appreciate all of her feedback in class." - Derek Manheim, nominator
Environmental Engineering, Senior
Jose De Jesus Chalapa Diaz
Civil Engineering, Senior
"I have known Jose for over two years, interacting with him in classes and also through student club activities. He is an excellent student, who is diligent, thoughtful, persistent, and goal orientated. In addition to his studies, for the past two years, Jose has consistently been an integral part of the annual steel bridge competition held by ASCE and AISC. This year he has the responsibility of being the project manager for the team. I have worked closely with Jose and he has shown the ability to think independently, oversee/manage various phases of analysis, design, and fabrication, and work within a team environment. Through it all he has always been upbeat and positive, which gives insight to his character. These intellectual and leadership qualities will enable him to continue to succeed in both his graduate students as well as the career field." - Eric Kasper, nominator
Civil Engineering, Senior
Civil Engineering, Senior
Environmental Engineering, Senior
Hal Cota Award
"Ryan Anderson graduated in the blended BS/MS program this month with his thesis on simultaneous wastewater treatment and biofuel feedstock production. He helped operate 1000-liter microalgae cultivation tanks to evaluate improved microalgae strains under the varying conditions of the outdoors. The algae strains were improved by other students and research staff who applied specific evolutionary pressures over hundreds of generations. Ryan was also a Cal Poly wrestler as an undergraduate in Environmental Engineering and served as an assistant in several laboratory courses." - Tryg Lundquist, nominator
May 11, 2020
In April 2020, Cal Poly environmental engineering students competed and placed first and second in the WERC Environmental Design Contest. Every year, students compete in the WERC Environmental Design Contest for over $30k in cash prizes. Students are awarded for their solutions to engineering tasks proposed by industry partners and government agencies.
Cal Poly’s first place photovoltaic (PV) team and second place phycoremediation team were chosen by a judge panel of engineering professionals for demonstrating their outstanding solutions to real-world environmental issues. Environmental engineering senior Joey Velasquez also won the Outstanding Student Award.
Cal Poly PV Team works on attaching
PCM to solar panels
The WERC program originally began as the Waste-management Education Research Consortium and partnered with NM research universities, Sandia National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Dine College, according to the WERC website.
The PV team was tasked with improving solar efficiency. For this, the five students attempted to implement a phase changing material (PCM) that absorbs heat as it changes from a solid to a liquid phase. They tried to pull the heat from the solar panel by attaching the PCM to the back of the solar panel, which ended up increasing power output by 3 percent.
PV project lead and environmental engineering senior Alex McConkey said that he enjoyed opportunity to apply the skilled he’d learned to a hands-on experience.
“[Favorite part] besides winning? It was really cool to collaborate with the group and the team,” McConkey said. “It was also cool because we got to research something that has not really been done before — it’s a really new, emerging technology.”
The phycoremediation team was tasked with using mircoalgae to remove metals from mining-impacted waters. The team’s design was a phycoremediation (remediation through algae) system that removed over 90 percent of metals from a mine water waste solution. They immobilized living algae into a material called sodium alginate. The system was a two stage treatment train: the first step was an algal column where mine water was passed through a PVC pipe containing the algal beads, the second step was a batch reactor that also had the algal beads inside.
Cal Poly WERC algae team
Algae team project lead and environmental engineering senior Dylan Kitao described the process as a “rollercoaster of emotions,” but said that he was ultimately glad to have participated.
“We started with eight team members and had four team members by the time we finished,” Kitao said. “In addition, all of the algae we were trying kept dying! There were definitely moments where we didn't make any progress and wanted to drop the project all together. But it was so rewarding pushing through that adversity and seeing the project through.”
McConkey added that, had the competition not been virtual, class work would have been postponed while the team was away competing. With the new platform for WERC, the team was faced with virtual learning on top of completing their design, presentation and research paper for the competition.
Students and faculty use Zoom
Conferencing to work on designs
for WERC together.
Through the movement to online for both the competition and for school, the teams came out on top.
May 1, 2020
As a freshman in high school, Kezia Suwandhaputra’s father took her to an event for women in engineering. There, she met a woman who studied at Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and who encouraged Suwandhaputra to pursue civil engineering.
Suwandhaputra is a third year civil
engineering student at Cal Poly.
It hasn’t always been easy pursuing civil engineering for Suwandhaputra. Being less inclined toward math and science, she struggled in the first couple of years in the major. She considered switching to city and regional planning (CRP), instead, but got through with hard work and the constant reminder that there was an end goal to reach.
“It’s been a blast,” she says. “My major classes have been a really big help because now I’m actually applying the things I learned first and second year to real life applications.”
Today, she is president of Cal Poly’s Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) chapter. Suwandhaputra recalls going to the club fair as a freshman, trying to choose from the various engineering organizations. Ultimately, ITE was the one that stuck out to her the most.
ITE is an organization that aims to connect and educate transportation students and professionals. The Cal Poly chapter provides peers with the opportunity to learn from professionals, learn more about the field and make lasting change within the SLO community.
Club member Emily Linn was instantly intrigued by the club her freshman year. Although it was nerve-racking at first to dive into something new, she felt at home after the first meeting she attended. Later, she attended the Student Leadership Summit (SLS) with ITE.
“Going with ITE to SLS 2019 only cemented the “family” motto the club nurtures,” Linn says. “The club slowly became a place where I truly felt accepted, surrounded by people who would cheer me up when I felt down.”
Suwandhaputra reiterates the “family” dynamic of the club. She says that while a significant part of ITE is networking with professionals and professors, it’s the students in the club that make ITE so special.
“A lot of my close friends are in ITE,” she says. “And we all bond over the nerdiest things; like taking public transit or biking to school or ‘Oh, there’s a new bike lane here.’”
Additional to SLS, ITE hosts firm tours, has events such as Mario Kart and the SLO Transpo Mixer, and competes in competitions like the James H. Kell Student Design Competition and the Student Traffic Bowl.
2019-2020 ITE Officers
Vice President Zachary Caipang, Treasurer Kiera Bryant, Secretary Katherine Lee, Professional Coordinator Ashley Yao, Social Coordinator Cody Lim, Outreach Coordinator Zachary Fucini, Marketing Coordinator Bryant Lee, and Historian Megan Mannion.